Renoir, Pierre-Auguste
(b. Feb. 25, 1841, Limoges, France--d. Dec. 3, 1919, Cagnes)
French painter originally associated with the Impressionist movement. His early works 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 (e.g. , Bathers, 1884-87).

Renoir, Pierre-Auguste (1841-1919). French Impressionist painter, born at Limoges. In 1854 he began work as a painter in a porcelain factory in Paris, gaining experience with the light, fresh colors that were to distinguish his Impressionist work and also learning the importance of good craftsmanship. His predilection towards light-hearted themes was also influenced by the great Rococco masters, whose works he studied in the Louvre. In 1862 he entered the studio of Gleyre and there formed a lasting friendship with Monet, Sisley, and Bazille. He painted with them in the Barbizon district and became a leading member of the group of Impressionists who met at the Café Guerbois. His relationship with Monet was particularly close at this time, and their paintings of the beauty spot called La Grenouillère done in 1869 (an example by Renoir is in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm) are regarded as the classic early statements of the Impressionist style. Like Monet, Renoir endured much hardship early in his career, but he began to achieve success as a portraitist in the late 1870s and was freed from financial worries after the dealer Paul Durand-Ruel began buying his work regularly in 1881. By this time Renoir had 'travelled as far as Impressionism could take me', and a visit to Italy in 1881-82 inspired him to seek a greater sense of solidarity in his work. The change in attitude is seen in The Umbrellas (NG, London), which was evidently begun before the visit to Italy and finished afterwards; the two little girls on the right are painted with the feathery brush-strokes characteristic of his Impressionist manner, but the figures on the left are done in a crisper and drier style, with duller coloring. After a period of experimentation with what he called his `manière aigre' (harsh or sour manner) in the mid 1880s, he developed a softer and more supple kind of handling. At the same time he turned from contemporary themes to more timeless subjects, particularly nudes, but also pictures of young girls in unspecific settings. As his style became grander and simpler he also took up mythological subjects (The Judgement of Paris; Hiroshima Museum of Art; 1913-14), and the female type he preferred became more mature and ample. In the 1890s Renoir began to suffer from rheumatism, and from 1903 (by which time he was world-famous) he lived in the warmth of the south of France. The rheumatism eventually crippled him (by 1912 he was confined to a wheelchair), but he continued to paint until the end of his life, and in his last years he also took up sculpture, directing assistants (usually Richard Guino, a pupil of Maillol) to act as his hands (Venus Victorious; Tate, London; 1914).

Renois is perhaps the best-loved of all the Impressionists, for his subjects---pretty children, flowers, beautiful scenes, above all lovely women---have instant appeal, and he communicated the joy he took in them with great directness. `Why shouldn't art be pretty?', he said, `There are enough unpleasant things in the world.' He was one of the great worshippers of the female form, and he said `I never think I have finished a nude until I think I could pinch it.' One of his sons was the celebrated film director Jean Renoir (1894-1979), who wrote a lively and touching biography (Renoir, My Father) in 1962.

[ Bathers | Portraits | Dancers | Landscapes | Still Lifes ]

589 x 876 31.0K
31.0K, 589 x 876

La Première Sortie
(The First Outing)
Painted: 1875-76
National Gallery
Les Parapluies
Painted: 1883
Oil on canvas
180 x 115 cm
National Gallery

349 x 494 39.4K
39.4K, 349 x 494

900 x 1106 153.3K
153.3K, 900 x 1106

Nini in the Garden
Painted: 1875-76
Oil on canvas
24 3/8 x 20 in
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Le Moulin de la Galette
Painted: 1876
Oil on canvas
131 x 175 cm
Musée d'Orsay

1073 x 790 171.7K
171.7K, 1073 x 790

740 x 1112 112.5K
112.5K, 740 x 1112

The Parisian (La Parisienne)
Painted: 1874
Oil on canvas
160 x 106 cm
National Museum of Wales

La loge (The Theater Box)
Painted: 1874
Oil on canvas
80 x 63.5 cm
Courtauld Institute Galleries

818 x 1023 162.3K
162.3K, 818 x 1023

399 x 600 45.1K
45.1K, 399 x 600

The Laundress
Painted: The Laundress
Art Institute of Chicago

Madame Charpentier and Her Children Paul (at her knee) and Georgette
Painted: 1878
Proust compared it with "Titian at his best"

689 x 554 55.1K
55.1K, 689 x 554

525 x 659 66.3K
66.3K, 525 x 659

La famille de l'artiste
Painted: 1896
Oil on canvas
173 x 140 cm


386 x 480 30.1K
30.1K, 386 x 480

792 x 1068 151.0K
151.0K, 792 x 1068

Jeunes filles au piano
(Girls at the piano)
Painted: 1892
Oil on canvas
116 x 90 cm
Musee d'Orsay

Lady at the Piano
Painted: 1875
Oil on canvas
Art Institute of Chicago

473 x 600 46.9K
46.9K, 473 x 600

382 x 475 48.9K
48.9K, 382 x 475

In the meadow

La promenade
Painted: ca 1906
Oil on canvas
65 x 129 cm

515 x 656 65.9K
65.9K, 515 x 656

632 x 727 56.8K
56.8K, 632 x 727

A Morning Ride in the Bois de Boulogne
Painted: 1873
Oil on canvas
261 x 226cm

Young Women Talking
Painted: 1878

562 x 730 57.2K
57.2K, 562 x 730

301 x 600 28.5K
28.5K, 301 x 600

Young Boy with a Cat
Painted: 1868-69
Musee d'Orsay

Jugglers at the Cirque Fernando
Painted: 1879
The Art Institute of Chicago

439 x 600 39.8K
39.8K, 439 x 600

819 x 1057 198.1K
198.1K, 819 x 1057

The Swing
Painted: 1876
Oil on canvas
92 x 73 cm
Musee d'Orsay

On the Terrace
Painted: 1881
Oil on canvas
100.5 x 81 cm cm
The Art Institute of Chicago

827 x 1034 216.5K
216.5K, 827 x 1034

795 x 1081 194.1K
194.1K, 795 x 1081

A Girl With a Watering Can
Painted: 1876
Oil on canvas
100 x 73 cm
The National Gallery of Art