Art e Dossier


Art History

Pierre-Auguste Renoir: biography

Son of a tailor and a worker, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born in Limoges on 25 February 1841. His family moved to Paris in 1844. He was a self-taught artist and he developed his tastes through his studies of Rubens and eighteenth century French painters. In 1862, while he was attending courses at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts he met Monet, Sisley and Bazille with whom he began painting “en plain air”, especially at Fontainebleau where he also met Courbet and Lise Tréhot who was his favorite model until 1872. He met Lise in 1865, then he began to work with Aline Charigot whom he married in 1890. He was admitted to the Salon in 1865 and rejected the next two years, while he earned an enormous success at the 1868 Salon with his painting of Lise with the umbrella. Between 1870 and 1872 he stopped painting and served in the Franco-Prussian War. In 1872 at Argenteuil he often painted in the company of Monet. In 1874 he participated in the first Impressionist exhibition that was held in the studio of the photographer Nadar in Paris. The great Impressionist masterpieces, such as Le Moulin de la Galette and The Luncheon of the Boating Party date from the ‘seventies. The portrait of Madame Charpentier and Her Children, exhibited at the 1879 Salon, marked a turning point in his art and a return to a traditional genre. During a trip to Italy in 1881 he was greatly impressed by the works of Raphael and the frescoes in Pompeii. He felt that his painting required greater rigor: between 1883 and 1887 his style evolved in a manner that he himself described as “sharp”, culminating in the clear outlines of the Bathers. Fame and wealth came to him in the ‘nineties (the retrospective show organized by Durand-Ruel in 1892 was a decisive factor). The first symptoms of severe rheumatic disease developed in 1898: he continued to paint by tying a brush to his hand when he was no longer able to move his fingers. He died in 1919 after having completed The Bathers, his artistic testament.

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