Fruits of the Midi is an 1881 painting in the Impressionist style by the leading French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. This work is located in the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois.
Fruits of the Midi Analysis
This is a still life by Pierre-Auguste Renoir notable for the richness of its colour and the strong textures of the vegetable array.
Titled as “fruits” in the broader sense of that word, the collection we observe inside a table dish and all around it includes both fruits and vegetables. No less than twenty-four different fruits may be observed, testifying to a recherché variety that clearly required some effort on Renoir’s part to arrange. We see red and green peppers, eggplant, pears, apples, plums, and pomegranates.
It is a collection of fruits typical of the Mediterranean region, to which some of them are native while others are, already in Renoir’s age, well-established importation cultures. It is not known where the artist might have observed this collection of fruits. A strong hypothesis is the village of L’Estaque near Marseille, on the Mediterranean coast of France.
This is where the friend Paul Cézanne resided briefly in 1870 and later returned from time to time. Renoir is known to have visited Cézanne to join his painting sessions en plein air.
For Renoir, the interest in this collection of still lives consisted in the variety of shapes and colours it afforded, all of them somewhat challenging to the brush. This arrangement, in which the reds tend to the right of the centre and the greens to the left, is a succession of circles, ellipses and strongly modulated polygons with shiny surfaces.
The white tablecloth and the bluish, burnished plate create a structural and chromatic opposition to the colourful layers of fruits. They aid the impression of their pigment and their shape.
Fruits of the Midi Location
This work is located in the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois.