Pierre Auguste Renoir

RenoirFrench artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born 25 February1841. He 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.”Pierre-Auguste was the father of actor Pierre Renoir (1885–1952), filmmaker Jean Renoir (1894–1979) and ceramic artist Claude Renoir (1901–69). He was the grandfather of the filmmaker Claude Renoir (1913–1993), son of Pierre. born in Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France. As a boy, he worked in a porcelain factory where his drawing talents led to his being chosen to paint designs on fine china Before he enrolled in art school, he also painted hangings for overseas missionaries and decorations on fans and often visited the Louvre to study the French master painters.

In 1862, he began studying art under Charles Gleyre in Paris. There he met Alfred Sisley, Frédéric Bazille, and Claude Monet. At times, during the 1860s, he did not have enough money to buy paint. Although Renoir first started exhibiting paintings at the Paris Salon in 1864, recognition did not come for another ten years, due, in part, to the turmoil of the Franco-Prussian War. During the Paris Commune in 1871, while Renoir painted on the banks of the Seine River, some Communards thought he was a spy and were about to throw him into the river when a leader of the Commune, Raoul Rigault, recognized Renoir as the man who had protected him on an earlier occasion.

Six of Renoir’s paintings were hung in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 and two of his works were also shown with Durand-Ruel in London. In 1881, he traveled to Algeria, a country he associated with Eugène Delacroix, then to Madrid, to see the work of Diego Velázquez. Following that, he traveled to Italy to see Titian’s masterpieces in Florence and the paintings of Raphael in Rome. On 15 January 1882 Renoir met the composer Richard Wagner at his home in Palermo, Sicily. Renoir painted Wagner’s portrait in just thirty-five minutes. Sadly Renoir contracted pneumonia which permanently damaged his respiratory system, And convalesced in Algeria. In 1883, Renoir 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. 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 Suzanne Valadon as a model, who eventually became a leading painter herself and In 1887, during Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, Renoir donated several paintings to the “French Impressionist Paintings” catalog as a token of his loyalty. In 1890, he married Aline Victorine Charigot, who, had already served as a model for Le Déjeuner des canotiers (Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881), and with whom he had already had a child, Pierre, in 1885. 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, Jean Renoir became a filmmaker and Pierre Renoir, became a stage and film actor.

Around 1892, Renoir developed rheumatoid arthritis. So In 1907, he moved to the warmer climate of “Les Collettes,” a farm at Cagnes-sur-Mer, close to the Mediterranean coast. Renoir painted during the last twenty years of his life even when he was wheelchair-bound and arthritis severely limited his movement. He developed progressive deformities in his hands and ankylosis of his right shoulder, requiring him to change his painting technique. Renoir remained able to grasp a brush, although he required an assistant to place it in his hand.The wrapping of his hands with bandages, apparent in late photographs of the artist, served to prevent skin irritation. During this period, he created sculptures by cooperating with a young artist, Richard Guino, who worked the clay. Due to his limited joint mobility, Renoir also used a moving canvas, or picture roll, to facilitate painting large works. Renoir’s portrait of Austrian actress Tilla Durieux (1914) contains playful flecks of vibrant color on her shawl that offset the classical pose of the actress and highlight Renoir’s skill just 5 years before his death. In 1919, Renoir visited the Louvre to see his paintings hanging with those of the old masters. He died in the village of Cagnes-sur-Mer, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, on 3 December 1919

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