- Pierre-Auguste Renoir
name = Pierre-Auguste Renoir
imagesize = 200px
birthname = Pierre-Auguste Renoir
birthdate = birth date|1841|2|25|mf=y
Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France
deathdate = death date and age|1919|12|3|1841|2|25|mf=y
Cagnes-sur-Mer, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
nationality = French
works = "
Bal au moulin de la Galette, Montmartre", 1876
Luncheon of the Boating Party" ,1880
Nude (painting)", 1910
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (
February 25, 1841– December 3, 1919) was a French artistwho was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau". [Read, Herbert: "The Meaning of Art", page 127. Faber, 1931.]
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born in
Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France, the childof a working class family. As a boy, he worked in a porcelain factorywhere his drawing talents led to him being chosen to paint designs on fine china. [Renoir, Jean: "Renoir, My Father", pages 57-67. Collins, 1962.] He also painted hangings for overseas missionaries and decorations on fans before he enrolled in art school. [Vollard, Ambroise: "Renoir, An Intimate Record", pages 24-29. Knopf, 1925.] During those early years, he often visited the Louvreto study the French master painters.
In 1862 he began studying art under
Charles Gleyrein Paris. There he met Alfred Sisley, Frédéric Bazille, and Claude Monet. [Vollard, page 30.] At times during the 1860s, he did not have enough money to buy paint. Although Renoir first started exhibiting paintings at the Paris Salonin 1864, [Wadley, Nicholas: "Renoir, A Retrospective", page 15. Park Lane, 1989.] recognition did not come for another ten years, due, in part, to the turmoil of the Franco-Prussian War.
Paris Communein 1871, while he painted on the banks of the Seine River, some members of a commune group thought he was a spy, and were about to throw him into the river when a commune leader, Raoul Rigault, recognized Renoir as the man who had protected him on an earlier occasion. [Renoir, Jean, pages 118-21. Different and less life-threatening versions are offered by Paul Valéry and Vollard. In all accounts, however, their re-acquaintance led to great celebration.]
In 1874, a ten-year friendship with Jules Le Coeur and his family ended, [Wadley, page 15.] and Renoir lost not only the valuable support gained by the association, but a generous welcome to stay on their property near
Fontainebleauand its scenic forest.This loss of a favorite painting location resulted in a distinct change of subjects.
Renoir experienced his initial acclaim when six of his paintings hung in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. In the same year two of his works were shown with
Durand-Ruelin London. [Wadley, page 15.]
In 1881, he traveled to
Algeria, a country he associated with Eugène Delacroix, [Poulet, A. L., & Murphy, A. R. (1979). "Corot to Braque: French Paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston", page 117. Boston: The Museum. ISBN 0-87846-134-5.] then to Madrid, in Spain, to see the work of Diego Velázquez. Following that he traveled to Italyto see Titian's masterpieces in Florence, and the paintings of Raphael in Rome. On January 15, 1882Renoir met the composer Richard Wagnerat his home in Palermo, Sicily. Renoir painted Wagner's portrait in just thirty-five minutes. In the same year, Renoir convalesced for six weeks in Algeria after contracting pneumonia, which would cause permanent damage to his respiratory system. [Wadley, page 25.]
In 1883, he spent the summer in
Guernsey, creating fifteen paintings in little over a month. Most of these feature Moulin Huet, a bay in Saint Martin's, Guernsey. Guernsey is one of the Channel Islandsin the English Channel, and it has a varied landscape which includes beaches, cliffs, bays, forests, and mountains. These paintings were the subject of a set of commemorative postage stamps, issued by the Bailiwick of Guernsey in 1983.
While living and working in Montmartre, Renoir employed as a model
Suzanne Valadon, who posed for him ("The Bathers", 1885-7; , 1883) [Wadley, pages 371, 374.] and many of his fellow painters while studying their techniques; eventually she became one of the leading painters of the day. In 1887, a year when Queen Victoriacelebrated her Golden Jubilee, and upon the request of the queen's associate, Phillip Richbourg, he donated several paintings to the "French Impressionist Paintings" catalog as a token of his loyalty.
In 1890 he married
Aline Victorine Charigot, who, along with a number of the artist's friends, had already served as a model for "Les Déjeuner des canotiers" ( Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881), and with whom he had already had a child, Pierre, in 1885. [Wadley, page 25.] After his marriage Renoir painted many scenes of his wife and daily family life, including their children and their nurse, Aline's cousin Gabrielle Renard. The Renoirs had three sons, one of whom, Jean, became a filmmakerof note and another, Pierre, became a stage and film actor.
Around 1892, Renoir developed
rheumatoid arthritis. In 1907, he moved to the warmer climate of "Les Collettes," a farm at Cagnes-sur-Mer, close to the Mediterranean coast. [Wadley, page 28.] Renoir painted during the last twenty years of his life, even when arthritis severely limited his movement, and he was wheelchair-bound. He developed progressive deformities in his hands and ankylosisof his right shoulder, requiring him to adapt his painting technique. In the advanced stages of his arthritis, he painted by having a brush strapped to his paralyzed fingers. [André, Albert: "Renoir". Crés, 1928.]
During this period he created
sculptures by cooperating with a young artist, Richard Guino, who worked the clay. Renoir also used a moving canvas, or picture roll, to facilitate painting large works with his limited joint mobility.
In 1919, Renoir visited the Louvre to see his paintings hanging with the old masters. He died in the village of
Cagnes-sur-Mer, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, on December 3.
Renoir's paintings are notable for their vibrant light and saturated color, most often focusing on people in intimate and candid compositions. The female nude was one of his primary subjects. In characteristic Impressionist style, Renoir suggested the details of a scene through freely brushed touches of color, so that his figures softly fuse with one another and their surroundings.
His initial paintings show the influence of the colourism of
Eugène Delacroixand the luminosity of Camille Corot. He also admired the realism of Gustave Courbetand Édouard Manet, and his early work resembles theirs in his use of black as a color. As well, Renoir admired Edgar Degas' sense of movement. Another painter Renoir greatly admired was the 18th century master François Boucher. [Rey, Robert: "La Renaissance du Sentiment Classique", Les Beaux Arts, 1931.]
A fine example of Renoir's early work, and evidence of the influence of Courbet's realism, is "Diana", 1867. Ostensibly a mythological subject, the painting is a naturalistic studio work, the figure carefully observed, solidly modeled, and superimposed upon a contrived landscape. If the work is still a 'student' piece, already Renoir's heightened personal response to female sensuality is present. The model was Lise Tréhot, then the artist's mistress and inspiration for a number of paintings. [ [http://www.nga.gov/cgi-bin/pinfo?Object=46397+0+none "From the Tour: Mary Cassatt"] , August Renoir. Accessed March 07, 2007.]
In the late 1860s, through the practice of painting light and water "
en plein air" (in the open air), he and his friend Claude Monetdiscovered that the color of shadows is not brown or black, but the reflected color of the objects surrounding them. Several pairs of paintings exist in which Renoir and Monet, working side-by-side, depicted the same scenes ("La Grenouillère", 1869). [ [http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/
] at commons.wikimedia.org] [ [http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/
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One of the best known Impressionist works is Renoir's 1876 "Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (Le Bal au Moulin de la Galette)". The painting depicts an open-air scene, crowded with people, at a popular dance garden on the Butte Montmartre, close to where he lived.The works of his early maturity were typically Impressionist snapshots of real life, full of sparkling colour and light. By the mid 1880s, however, he had broken with the movement to apply a more disciplined, formal technique to portraits and figure paintings, particularly of women, such as "The Bathers", which was created during 1884-87. It was a trip to
Italyin 1881, when he saw works by Raphaeland other Renaissancemasters, that convinced him that he was on the wrong path, and for the next several years he painted in a more severe style, in an attempt to return to classicism. [Clark, Kenneth: "The Nude", pages 154-61. Penguin, 1960.] This is sometimes called his "Ingres period", as he concentrated on his drawing and emphasized the outlines of figures. [Asked late in life if he felt an affinity to Ingres, he responded: "I should very much like to". Rey, quoted in Wadley, page 336.]
After 1890, however, he changed direction again, returning to the use of thinly brushed color which dissolved outlines as in his earlier work. From this period onward he concentrated especially on monumental nudes and domestic scenes, fine examples of which are "Girls at the Piano", 1892, and "Grandes Baigneuses", 1918-19. The latter painting is the most typical and successful of Renoir's late, abundantly fleshed nudes. [" For me, Renoir becomes a really great artist in the late nudes, above all in "Les Grandes Baigneuses". David Sylvester, quoted by Wadley, page 378.]
A prolific artist, he made several thousand paintings. The warm sensuality of Renoir's style made his paintings some of the most well-known and frequently-reproduced works in the history of art.
Acknowledging modern criticism of Renoir's sensuality,
Lawrence Gowingwrote: Albert Aurier, an art critic and early essayist on the impressionists, wrote in 1892:
In a preview to the exhibition 'Renoir Landscapes 1865-1883' at the
National Gallery, Londonin spring 2007, " The Guardian" wrote that "Even Degas laughed at his friend's style, calling it as puffy as cotton wool," but that "if we're going to love him, we need to love his chocolate box qualities, too." [ [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/art/visualart/story/0,,2010972,00.html "Angry young man"] , "The Guardian", 12 February 2007]
History of painting
Renoir and the nude
*"Mademoiselle Romaine Lacaux" (1864)
*"La Promenade" (1870)
*"Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil" (1873)
*"La Loge" (1874)
*"Woman with Fan" (1875)
*"The Swing" (1876)
*"Lunch at the
Restaurant Fournaise(The Rowers' Lunch)" (1875)
Bal au moulin de la Galette, Montmartre" (1876)
*"Nude in the Sunlight" (1876)
*"Madame Charpentier and Her Children" (1878)
*"Jeanne Samary" (1879)
*"Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando (Francisca and Angelina Wartenberg)" (1879)
*"Two Women with Umbrellas" (1879)
*"On the Terrace" (1881)
Luncheon of the Boating Party" (1881)
*"The Piazza San Marco, Venice" (1881)
*"Blonde Bather" (1881)
*"Alice and Elisabeth Cahen d'Anvers (Pink and Blue)" (1881)
By the Seashore" (1883)
*"Dance at Bougival" (1883)
*"Fog at Guernsey" (1883)
*"Children on the Sea Shore in Guernsey" (1883)
*"The Bay of Moulin Huet Seen Through the Trees" (1883)
*"The Bather (After the Bath)" (1888)
*"Young Girl with Daisies" (1889)
*"In the Meadow" (1890)
*"The Apple Sellers" (1890)
*"Two Girls at the Piano" (1892)
*"Vase of Chrysanthemums" (1895)
*"The Farm at Les Collettes, Cagnes" (1908-1914)
*"The Concert" (1918)
Gabrielle Renard- Renoir family's nanny
Jean Renoir- This legendary director was the second son of Renoir
* [http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=9455662 Renoir at biography.com]
* [http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/315/7123/1704 How Renoir Coped with Rheumatoid Arthritis] article in British Medical Journal by Boonen A. et al.
* [http://www.phillipscollection.org/html/lbp.html The Story Behind the Masterpiece...] The Luncheon of the Boating Party
* [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/art/visualart/story/0,,2020144,00.html Suburban Pastoral] , The Guardian, 24 Feb 2007
* [http://www.renoir.org.yu/ Auguste Renoir Gallery]
* [http://www.mootnotes.com/art/renoir Pierre-Auguste Renoir paintings, media & interactive timeline]
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