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Birthday of Pierre-August Renoir (1841-1918)

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Renoir was born into a working class family. His father was a tailor and his mother a dressmaker. When Pierre-Auguste was three years...

Renoir was born into a family of the Working class born. His father was a tailor and his mother a dressmaker. When Pierre-Auguste was three years old, the family moved to Paris and found accommodation near the Louvre, which at that time was not only a museum, but also housed offices and living quarters.

At the age of 13, Renoir began an apprenticeship as Porcelain painter on. At the age of 15, he had already mastered this so well that the manufactory entrusted him with demanding painting tasks that were otherwise reserved for experienced porcelain painters. He was able to live independently from his wages and even support his parents. Around this time, however, mechanical printing methods for porcelain became established, and the manufactory had to close when he was 17 years old. Renoir now had to make a living painting fans and awnings and coloring coats of arms.

Dancer, 1874 (Danseuse)

Renoir's impressionist phase

1861-1864 Renoir studied painting in the class of the Swiss painter Charles Gleyre. Soon, however, he sought out artistic role models other than his teacher, viz. Gustave Courbet and Díaz de la Peña, whom he had met by chance while painting in the forest and who encouraged him to always paint according to life and the model. He made friends with Claude MonetAlfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille and painted with them together outdoors. In 1864, for the first time a picture of him was published for the Paris salon, often simply called Salon, adopted. In the Salon of 1868 he was with the picture Lise with the parasol represented, for the Lise Tréhot was a model. She was Renoir's mistress from about 1865 to 1871.

His outdoor experiences also had an impact on his studio paintings. Critics became aware of him and praised the freshness and naturalness of his paintings. Nevertheless, there were hardly any buyers. In 1869, Renoir lived in such abject poverty that, as he later wrote himself, he did not even have anything to eat every day.

The Lodge, 1874 (La loge)

In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, Renoir volunteered for a cavalry regiment, but was stationed just far from the fighting. In 1871, returning to Paris, he got caught up in the uprising of the Paris Commune. Forced into conscription by the Communards, he got into great trouble when he tried to escape from Paris and was captured by the troops of the opposite side.

After the war, he soon reconnected with his friends Monet and Sisley and spent much time together with them in the summers of the 1870s and with Édouard Manet. A well-known painting by him from that time shows the Monet family in the garden of their house in Argenteuil. From Manet there is his own interpretation of the same subject. Both Manet and Renoir had their Easels placed next to each other and painted the same scene.

Dance in the garden of the Moulin de la Galette, 1876
(Bal au Moulin de la Galette)

Renoir loved to depict social occasions and Joie de vivre into images. Despite the movements of the depicted persons as in Dance at the Moulin de la Galette and exuberance he integrated small Still life.

Unlike Monet and the other Impressionists, Renoir continued to strive to have his paintings included in the Salon, but in 1874 he participated enthusiastically in preparing and staging the first Impressionist exhibition, as well as the 1876 exhibition.

He managed to sell paintings to the art dealers Paul Durand-Ruel and Père-Martin for sale. Durand-Ruel, a great patron of the Impressionists, gave him money so that Renoir could rent a studio. However, this income was so scarce that it was just enough to cover his living expenses.

His financial situation took a turn for the better in the mid-1870s, when Renoir hired customs official Victor Chocquet and the publisher Georges Charpentier and received commissions from them for portraits and a large panel painting. Through the intercession of the influential Madame Charpentier his circle of acquaintances in better society expanded, and he received so many portrait commissions in the years that followed that they even became a nuisance to him at times.

In 1881/1882 Renoir made three major trips to Algeria, Italy, and back to Algeria. In 1882 he painted portraits in Palermo the composer Richard Wagner.

Post-Impressionist phase of life

Moulin Huet Bay (1883)

After a stay in Italy in 1881, while reading a manual for painters written around 1400, he was strongly oriented towards Raphael's Frescoes and an Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, it began the Ingres period or also Dry period. Renoir began to reorient himself from the ground up, turning away from the spontaneous and drawing the forms more sharply, but remaining with the motifs full of vitality. He also turned away from Impressionism and towards the Classicism to. A trip in September 1883 took him to the island of Guernseywhere a number of paintings were created, among them Moulin Huet Bay.[1]

The great bathers, 1887 (Les Grandes Baigneuses)

Around 1883, Renoir entered a creative crisis. He felt lukewarm disinterest from the public and critics during that period, and he commented about himself that he was at an artistic impasse. The work of those years culminated in the painting The great bathers of 1887, in which he had invested years of preliminary studies and which contains a wealth of art historical quotations.

On March 23, 1885, his mistress Aline Charigot, whom he had met in the early 1880s and who had accompanied him to Italy, bore him his first child, the son Pierre Renoir,[2] who later became known as an actor. On April 14, 1890 Renoir married Aline. The second son Jean Renoir, born in 1894, later took up the profession of film director. The third son Claude, also called "Coco", was born on August 4, 1901.

At the end of the 1880s, he rediscovered his joy in colorfulness and fluid, sensual painting. The departure from his Impressionist painting style of the 1870s, however, remained definitive.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, around 1910

Around 1892 Renoir showed the first signs of rheumatoid arthritis. At that time was mistakenly Gout diagnosed. He noticed through several spa stays that he felt better in the mild Mediterranean climate, and in 1907 he moved permanently to Les Collettes, a country house with a large garden in Cagnes-sur-Mer near Nice. In the 20th century, a museum was built there in his honor.[3]

Despite his illness, he painted incessantly. Renoir was now sitting in a wheelchair and, according to his own account, had his brush tied to his hand every day because he could no longer hold it. Through Aristide Maillol Renoir was given the opportunity to work with his student Richard Guino. Thus Renoir could once again realize with this collaboration works such as Venus Victrix, The Great Laundress (1917) and Mother and Child (1916), among others.[4].

Pïerre-Auguste Renoir died in 1919 at the age of 78 and left about 6000 works: landscapes, still lifes, portraits of adults and children, nudes, pictures of dancing pleasure and family life. His grave is located in the cemetery in Essoyes in the department Aube in the Champagne.


[Excerpt from Wikipedia as of 12/31/2021.]