Sculptures of Boijmans

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is being rebuilt and will be closed for a while. We are very pleased to have been able to borrow two beautiful, classical ‘park’ sculptures from their collection in their Depot. On the left, you can see Assia (1937), a sculpture by Charles Despiau, Rodin’s student and friend. On the right, you can see Venus Victrix (1914) by Auguste Renoir. It shows Venus holding a golden apple that she won by being judged the most beautiful of three goddesses by Paris.

Venus Victrix (1916) | Auguste Renoir

Weight: 189,6 kg, height: 186 cm
Collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (donated by A. Hartog in 1935)

Venus Victrix (1916), goddess of love, is depicted here in a victorious way. Venus, Minerva and Juno participated in a beauty contest. The apple in Venus’ hand is the sign of her victory. Renoir bases this work on the Greco-Roman style. The bronze statue celebrates the beauty of the female body.

Pierre Auguste Renoir took lessons in the Gleyre studio from 1861, where he met Monet, Sisley and Bazille. In the ‘60s Renoir painted in the forests of Fontainebleau. During this period Renoir also painted his first life-size figure pieces, inspired by the work of Courbet. From the mid-1970s Renoir painted scenes from modern life, in the ‘90s he developed a ‘softer’ painting style. His scenes with young women and children were very popular. In addition to being a painter, Renoir was also a sculptor.

Assia (1937) | Charles Despiau 

Weight: 200 kg, height: 180 cm
Collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (purchased in 1938)

According to Despiau, Assia (1937) is the epitome of the ideal woman. The place of human in nature and the appreciation of the human body were important themes in art throughout the 1930s.

Charles Despiau began his career in 1891 at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris. Despiau was completely dedicated  to sculpture. During WWI Despiau had to leave his work and enlisted in the army. After the war, Despiau joined the “Bande à Schnegg”, a group of sculptors founded by the brothers Lucien and Gaston Schnegg.