Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre Auguste Renoir, uncropped image.jpg
Born(1841-02-25)25 February 1841
Limoges, France
Died3 December 1919(1919-12-03) (aged 78)
NationalityFrench
Known forPainting
Notable work
Bal du moulin de la Galette , 1876
Luncheon of the Boating Party , 1880
Nude , 1910
Movement Impressionism

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, commonly known as Auguste Renoir ( /ˈrɛnwɑːr, rənˈwɑːr/ ; French:  [pjɛʁ oɡyst ʁənwaʁ] ; 25 February 1841 – 3 December 1919), was a French artist who 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." [1] He was the father of actor Pierre Renoir (1885–1952), filmmaker Jean Renoir (1894–1979) and ceramic artist Claude Renoir (1901–1969). He was the grandfather of the filmmaker Claude Renoir (1913–1993), son of Pierre.

Impressionism 19th-century art movement

Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement characterized by relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities, ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles. Impressionism originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s.

Femininity term for female roles

Femininity is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with girls and women. Femininity is partially socially constructed, being made up of both socially-defined and biologically-created factors. This makes it distinct from the definition of the biological female sex, as both males and females can exhibit feminine traits.

Peter Paul Rubens Flemish painter

Sir Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish artist. He is considered the most influential artist of Flemish Baroque tradition. Rubens's highly charged compositions reference erudite aspects of classical and Christian history. His unique and immensely popular Baroque style emphasized movement, color, and sensuality, which followed the immediate, dramatic artistic style promoted in the Counter-Reformation. Rubens specialized in making altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.

Contents

Life

Youth

The Theater Box, 1874, Courtauld Institute Galleries, London Pierre-Auguste Renoir 023.jpg
The Theater Box , 1874, Courtauld Institute Galleries, London

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born in Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France, in 1841. His father, Léonard Renoir, was a tailor of modest means, so in 1844, Renoir's family moved to Paris in search of more favorable prospects. The location of their home, in rue d’Argenteuil in central Paris, placed Renoir in proximity to the Louvre. Although the young Renoir had a natural proclivity for drawing, he exhibited a greater talent for singing. His talent was encouraged by his teacher, Charles Gounod, who was the choir-master at the Church of St Roch at the time. However, due to the family’s financial circumstances, Renoir had to discontinue his music lessons and leave school at the age of thirteen to pursue an apprenticeship at a porcelain factory. [2] [3]

Limoges Prefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Limoges is a city and commune, the capital of the Haute-Vienne department and was the administrative capital of the former Limousin region in west-central France.

Haute-Vienne Department of France

Haute-Vienne is a French department named after the river Vienne. It is one of the 12 departments that together constitute the French region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The neighbouring departments are: Creuse, Corrèze, Dordogne, Charente, Vienne and Indre.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

Although Renoir displayed a talent for his work, he frequently tired of the subject matter and sought refuge in the galleries of the Louvre. The owner of the factory recognized his apprentice’s talent and communicated this to Renoir’s family. Following this, Renoir started taking lessons to prepare for entry into Ecole des Beaux Arts. When the porcelain factory adopted mechanical reproduction processes in 1858, Renoir was forced to find other means to support his learning. [3] Before he enrolled in art school, he also painted hangings for overseas missionaries and decorations on fans. [4]

Louvre Art museum and Historic site in Paris, France

The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the city's 1st arrondissement. Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres. In 2018, the Louvre was the world's most visited art museum, receiving 10.2 million visitors.

Porcelain ceramic material

Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating materials, generally including kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C. The toughness, strength, and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pottery, arises mainly from vitrification and the formation of the mineral mullite within the body at these high temperatures. Though definitions vary, porcelain can be divided into three main categories: hard-paste, soft-paste and bone china. The category that an object belongs to depends on the composition of the paste used to make the body of the porcelain object and the firing conditions.

In 1862, he began studying art under Charles Gleyre in Paris. There he met Alfred Sisley, Frédéric Bazille, and Claude Monet. [5] At times, during the 1860s, he did not have enough money to buy paint. Renoir had his first success at the Salon of 1868 with his painting Lise with a Parasol (1867), which depicted Lise Tréhot, his lover at the time. [6] Although Renoir first started exhibiting paintings at the Paris Salon in 1864, [7] recognition was slow in coming, partly as a result of the turmoil of the Franco-Prussian War.

Charles Gleyre Swiss artist

Marc Gabriel Charles Gleyre, was a Swiss artist who was a resident in France from an early age. He took over the studio of Paul Delaroche in 1843 and taught a number of younger artists who became prominent, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Auguste Toulmouche, Louis-Frederic Schützenberger, and Henry-Lionel Brioux.

Alfred Sisley French painter

Alfred Sisley was an Impressionist landscape painter who was born and spent most of his life in France, but retained British citizenship. He was the most consistent of the Impressionists in his dedication to painting landscape en plein air. He deviated into figure painting only rarely and, unlike Renoir and Pissarro, found that Impressionism fulfilled his artistic needs.

Frédéric Bazille French painter

Jean Frédéric Bazille was a French Impressionist painter. Many of Bazille's major works are examples of figure painting in which he placed the subject figure within a landscape painted en plein air.

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. [8] In 1874, a ten-year friendship with Jules Le Cœur and his family ended, [9] and Renoir lost not only the valuable support gained by the association but also a generous welcome to stay on their property near Fontainebleau and its scenic forest. This loss of a favorite painting location resulted in a distinct change of subjects.

Paris Commune revolutionary city council of Paris 1871

The Paris Commune was a radical socialist and revolutionary government that ruled Paris from 18 March to 28 May 1871. The Franco-Prussian War had led to the capture of Emperor Napoleon III in September 1870, the collapse of the Second French Empire, and the beginning of the Third Republic. Because Paris was under siege for four months, the Third Republic moved its capital to Tours. A hotbed of working-class radicalism, Paris was primarily defended during this time by the often politicised and radical troops of the National Guard rather than regular Army troops. Paris surrendered to the Prussians on 28 January 1871, and in February Adolphe Thiers, the new chief executive of the French national government, signed an armistice with Prussia that disarmed the Army but not the National Guard.

Seine river in France

The Seine is a 777-kilometre-long (483 mi) river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre. It is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as Rouen, 120 kilometres (75 mi) from the sea. Over 60 percent of its length, as far as Burgundy, is negotiable by commercial riverboats, and nearly its whole length is available for recreational boating; excursion boats offer sightseeing tours of the river banks in Paris, lined with top monuments including Notre-Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and Musée d'Orsay.

Communards member of the Paris Commune (1871)

The Communards were members and supporters of the short-lived 1871 Paris Commune formed in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War and France's defeat.

Adulthood

Renoir was inspired by the style and subject matter of previous modern painters Camille Pissarro and Edouard Manet. [10] After a series of rejections by the Salon juries, he joined forces with Monet, Sisley, Pissarro, and several other artists to mount the first Impressionist exhibition in April 1874, in which Renoir displayed six paintings. Although the critical response to the exhibition was largely unfavorable, Renoir's work was comparatively well received. [6] That same year, two of his works were shown with Durand-Ruel in London. [9]

Camille Pissarro French painter

Camille Pissarro was a Danish-French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter born on the island of St Thomas. His importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Pissarro studied from great forerunners, including Gustave Courbet and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. He later studied and worked alongside Georges Seurat and Paul Signac when he took on the Neo-Impressionist style at the age of 54.

Paul Durand-Ruel French art dealer

Paul Durand-Ruel was a French art dealer who is associated with the Impressionists and the Barbizon School. He was one of the first modern art dealers who provided support to his painters with stipends and solo exhibitions.

The Swing (La Balançoire), 1876, oil on canvas, Musée d'Orsay, Paris Auguste Renoir - The Swing - Google Art Project.jpg
The Swing (La Balançoire) , 1876, oil on canvas, Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Hoping to secure a livelihood by attracting portrait commissions, Renoir displayed mostly portraits at the second Impressionist exhibition in 1876. [11] He contributed a more diverse range of paintings the next year when the group presented its third exhibition; they included Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette and The Swing. [11] Renoir did not exhibit in the fourth or fifth Impressionist exhibitions, and instead resumed submitting his works to the Salon. By the end of the 1870s, particularly after the success of his painting Mme Charpentier and her Children (1878) at the Salon of 1879, Renoir was a successful and fashionable painter. [6]

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (Bal du moulin de la Galette), 1876 Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Le Moulin de la Galette.jpg
Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette ( Bal du moulin de la Galette ), 1876

In 1881, he traveled to Algeria, a country he associated with Eugène Delacroix, [12] 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. In the same year, after contracting pneumonia which permanently damaged his respiratory system, Renoir convalesced for six weeks in Algeria. [13]

In 1883, Renoir spent the summer in Guernsey, one of the islands in the English Channel with a varied landscape of beaches, cliffs, and bays, where he created 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 posed for him (The Large Bathers, 1884–87; Dance at Bougival , 1883) [14] and many of his fellow painters; during that time she studied their techniques and eventually became one of the leading painters of the day.

In 1887, the year when Queen Victoria celebrated her Golden Jubilee, and upon the request of the queen's associate, Phillip Richbourg, Renoir donated several paintings to the "French Impressionist Paintings" catalog as a token of his loyalty.

Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880–1881 Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Luncheon of the Boating Party - Google Art Project.jpg
Luncheon of the Boating Party , 1880–1881

In 1890, he married Aline Victorine Charigot, a dressmaker twenty years his junior, [15] who, along with a number of the artist's friends, had already served as a model for Le Déjeuner des canotiers ( Luncheon of the Boating Party – she is the woman on the left playing with the dog) in 1881, and with whom he had already had a child, Pierre, in 1885. [13] 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: Pierre Renoir (1885-1952), who became a stage and film actor; Jean Renoir (1894-1979), who became a filmmaker of note; and Claude Renoir (1901-1969), who became a ceramic artist.

Later years

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, c. 1910 Renoir, Pierre-Auguste, by Dornac, BNF Gallica.jpg
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, c. 1910

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. [16] Renoir painted during the last twenty years of his life even after his arthritis severely limited his mobility. He developed progressive deformities in his hands and ankylosis of his right shoulder, requiring him to change his painting technique. It has often been reported that in the advanced stages of his arthritis, he painted by having a brush strapped to his paralyzed fingers, [17] but this is erroneous; Renoir remained able to grasp a brush, although he required an assistant to place it in his hand. [18] The wrapping of his hands with bandages, apparent in late photographs of the artist, served to prevent skin irritation. [18]

In 1919, Renoir visited the Louvre to see his paintings hanging with those of the old masters. 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. [18]

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 five years before his death.

Renoir died in the village of Cagnes-sur-Mer, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, on 3 December 1919.

Artworks

Two Sisters, oil on canvas, 1881, Art Institute of Chicago Renoir - The Two Sisters, On the Terrace.jpg
Two Sisters , oil on canvas, 1881, Art Institute of Chicago

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.

Portrait of Mademoiselle Irène Cahen d'Anvers (La Petite Irène), 1880, Foundation E.G. Bührle, Zürich Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1880, Portrait of Mademoiselle Irène Cahen d'Anvers, Sammlung E.G. Bührle.jpg
Portrait of Mademoiselle Irène Cahen d'Anvers (La Petite Irène), 1880, Foundation E.G. Bührle, Zürich

His initial paintings show the influence of the colorism of Eugène Delacroix and the luminosity of Camille Corot. He also admired the realism of Gustave Courbet and Édouard Manet, and his early work resembles theirs in his use of black as a color. Renoir admired Edgar Degas' sense of movement. Another painter Renoir greatly admired was the 18th-century master François Boucher. [20]

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 a "student" piece, Renoir's heightened personal response to female sensuality is present. The model was Lise Tréhot, the artist's mistress at that time, and inspiration for a number of paintings. [21]

In the late 1860s, through the practice of painting light and water en plein air (outdoors), he and his friend Claude Monet discovered that the color of shadows is not brown or black, but the reflected color of the objects surrounding them, an effect known today as diffuse reflection. Several pairs of paintings exist in which Renoir and Monet worked side-by-side, depicting the same scenes (La Grenouillère, 1869).

One of the best known Impressionist works is Renoir's 1876 Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (Bal du 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 color 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. It was a trip to Italy in 1881 when he saw works by Raphael and other Renaissance masters, 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. [22] Concentrating on his drawing and emphasizing the outlines of figures, he painted works such as Blonde Bather (1881 and 1882) and The Large Bathers (1884–87; Philadelphia Museum of Art) during what is sometimes called his "Ingres period". [23]

Girls at the Piano, 1892, Musée d'Orsay, Paris Auguste Renoir - Young Girls at the Piano - Google Art Project.jpg
Girls at the Piano , 1892, Musée d'Orsay, Paris

After 1890 he changed direction again. To dissolve outlines, as in his earlier work, he returned to thinly brushed color. From this period onward he concentrated on monumental nudes and domestic scenes, fine examples of which are Girls at the Piano , 1892, and Grandes Baigneuses , 1887. The latter painting is the most typical and successful of Renoir's late, abundantly fleshed nudes. [24]

A prolific artist, he created 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. The single largest collection of his works—181 paintings in all—is at the Barnes Foundation, in Philadelphia.

Catalogue raisonné

A five-volume catalogue raisonné of Renoir's works (with one supplement) was published by Bernheim-Jeune between 1983 and 2014. [25] Bernheim-Jeune is the only surviving major art dealer that was used by Renoir. The Wildenstein Institute is preparing, but has not yet published, a critical catalogue of Renoir's work. [26] A disagreement between these two organizations concerning an unsigned work in Picton Castle was at the centre of the second episode of the fourth season of the television series Fake or Fortune .

Posthumous prints

In 1919, Ambroise Vollard, a renowned art dealer, published a book on the life and work of Renoir, La Vie et l'Œuvre de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, in an edition of 1000 copies. In 1986, Vollard's heirs started reprinting the copper plates, generally, etchings with hand applied watercolor. These prints are signed by Renoir in the plate and are embossed "Vollard" in the lower margin. They are not numbered, dated or signed in pencil.

Posthumous sales

One of Renoir's paintings has sold for more than US$70 million. Bal du moulin de la Galette sold for $78.1 million May 17, 1990 at Sotheby's New York. [27]

In 2012, Renoir's Paysage Bords de Seine was offered for sale at auction but the painting was discovered to have been stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1951. The sale was cancelled.

Portraits & Landscapes

Self-portraits

Nudes

Interactive image

Adrien Maggiolo (Italian journalist)Affenpinscher dogAline Charigot (seamstress and Renoir's future wife)Alphonse Fournaise, Jr. (owner's son)Angèle Legault (actress)Charles Ephrussi (art historian)Ellen Andrée (actress)Eugène Pierre Lestringez (bureaucrat)Gustave Caillebotte (artist)Jeanne Samary (actress)Jules Laforgue (poet and critic)LandscapeLandscapeLouise-Alphonsine Fournaise (owner's daughter)Paul Lhote (artist)Baron Raoul Barbier (former mayor of colonial Saigon)SailboatsStill lifeunknown personPierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir Clickable image of the Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.). Place your mouse cursor over a person in the painting to see their name; click to link to an article about them.

Close-ups

See also

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References

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  8. 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.
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  18. 1 2 3 "Boonen, A.; van de Rest, J.; Dequeker, J.; van der Linden, S.: "How Renoir Coped with Rheumatoid Arthritis". ''British Medical Journal'', 1997:315:1704–1708". Bmj.com. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  19. "Porträt Mademoiselle Irène Cahen d`Anvers (Die kleine Irene) · Auguste Renoir · Stiftung Sammlung E.G. Bührle". www.buehrle.ch.
  20. Rey, Robert: La Peinture française à la fin du XIXe siècle, la renaissance du sentiment classique : Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat, Les Beaux-Arts, Van Oest, 1931 (thesis).
  21. "From the Tour: Mary Cassatt" Archived 11 November 2004 at the Wayback Machine , August Renoir. Retrieved 7 March 2007.
  22. Clark, Kenneth: The Nude, pages 154–61. Penguin, 1960.
  23. 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.
  24. "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
  25. "Bernheim-Jeune".
  26. Wildenstein Institute Archived 13 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  27. Services, From Times Wire (18 May 1990). "Renoir Work Sells for $78.1 Million : Auction: The painting 'Au Moulin de la Galette' is highlight of Sotheby's offering of Impressionist and modern art. The price is the second highest ever" via LA Times.

Further reading