Pierre-Auguste Renoir: An Impressionist Master

Impressionism is an art form that evolved from the 19th-century movement of Paris-based artists who held independent exhibitions during the late 1800s.  Among the many Impressionists, Pierre-Auguste Renoir is a distinguished advocate of the ideals and a well-known colleague of Claude Monet.

Impressionist paintings are characterized by free and visible strokes, vibrant colors, and emphasis on the play of natural light and color reflections.  The Impressionist painting is very much like a snapshot or a photograph, where a part of a larger picture is captured, as if by mere chance. These elements are highly visible in Renoir’s paintings of typical Parisian lifestyles and other mundane but pleasant facts of life.

From Dishware Paintings to the Louvre

In February 1841, Marguerite Merlet gave birth to her sixth son with Léonard Renoir, Pierre-Auguste. The family relocated to Paris in 1844, where Léonard held a tailoring job. 

At four years old, Pierre-Auguste apprenticed as a porcelain dishware painter.  After several years of impressive work at the porcelain factory, he was able to save enough to attend Marc-Gabriel-Charles Gleyre’s practical instruction for artists. It was during his tutelage with Gleyre in 1862, that Renoir got acquainted with Alfred Sisley, Frederic Bazille, and the world-renowned Claude Monet.  Significant changes in his life are results of his associations with these personalities. Specifically, because of the considerable number of times they spent together in cafes all over Paris, the concepts of Impressionism were developed.

Renoir met Gustave Courbet and Lise Tréhot in 1865. Many of his paintings would involve Tréhot as either model or inspiration. Following the Franco-Prussian war, Renoir joined the 1874 Impressionist exhibition, which was the first of its kind.

In 1880, he met Aline Charigot, whom he married in 1890, and with whom he had three sons, Pierre, Jean and Claude.  He continued to produce distinguished paintings until the later years of his life. In 1919, he visited the Louvre to enjoy his very own paintings hanging alongside his old masters. He died on December 3 of the same year.
Renoir’s Masterpieces

One of the most prolific painters of his generation, Renoir produced over 6,000 oil paintings using his rainbow palette. Renoir’s works are a beauty to behold as even the most ordinary situations are depicted with sparkling colors and vivid light effects. His admiration for beauty and feminine sensuality were clearly represented in his paintings. He painted life as he saw it, and it was always beautiful.

The first Impressionist paintings are attributed to the works of Renoir and Monet, which they produced in 1869. Renoir’s paintings were also included in later exhibitions by Impressionists. As a founding member of the L’Impressionniste review, he published an article on contemporary art and the principles that govern such practice.

Renoir’s most notable Impressionist works include The Swing and the Dance at the Moulin de la Galette, which were both produced in 1876. A century later, the Le Moulin de la Galette sold for a jaw-dropping $78 million.

 

Hampton Photo, Art and Framing Bridgehampton, New York

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