“On the Back of a Camel” (Renoir Painting)

Renoir, On Back of Camel

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
A dos de chameau
signed ‘Renoir.’ (lower right)
oil on canvas
28 3/8 x 29½ in. (72 x 75 cm.)
Painted in Algeria in 1881

( Just sold by Christies at auction for $2.7 million)

The impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) began achieving some success after the turmoil attendant on the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune had ended, and the Third Republic got into full swing. He was part of the joint first impressionist exhibit in 1874. In 1881, Renoir visited Algeria, perhaps inspired by the Romantic Orientalist paintings of Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863).

Algeria and his subsequent travels in Spain and Italy caused Renoir to rethink some of the orthodoxies of impressionism, especially the use of short brush strokes and aversion to dark colors, leading to his early 1880s “harsh” style.