Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French artist who painted in the Impressionist style. Renoir’s paintings portray the beauty and color of life and the sensuality of women. Renoir’s love of art and painting started when he was just a boy and his paintings are now counted among some of the most valuable and influential in the world.
1. An early start as an artist
As a boy, Renoir showed artistic talent as he worked in a porcelain factory making drawings. He visited the Louvre and studied other painters. He began studying art, and although his name was familiar to some in the artistic world, it would be years more until his talents began to be appreciated.
2. Influential associations
Renoir made many friends and associates in the art, political and upper-class societies. He met other famous painters like Claude Monet. He was saved from being arrested as a spy because a commanding officer owed him a favor. And Renoir was supported with a spacious room and board via the generosity of a friend. In fact, there are several paintings of Renoir and Monet that are similar. They would often paint at the same location from different angles and discuss how to better how they painted lighting elements.
3. Impressionist exhibition
In 1874, Renoir was invited to contribute 6 paintings to the first ever Impressionist exhibition. This show brought him much acclaim, undoubtedly the most attention that he had received yet.
Renoir traveled Europe and met many people and saw many places. He sought out other painters like Velazquez, Delacroix, and Raphael. Renoir also met and painted a portrait of composer Richard Wagner.
Renoir created fifteen paintings while spending a summer in Guernsey, a landscape that was diverse and beautiful. These paintings would be featured on a set of commemorative postage stamps in 1983.
6. A family affair
Earlier in his career, Renoir, like many painters, hired models to pose. However, after his marriage, he often used his wife and children as the models for his paintings. His paintings that reflect the occurrences of daily life were taken from his own experiences with his family.
7. Donating to the Queen
At the request of Queen Victoria’s associate, Renoir donated several of his pieces to the queen as a sign of his loyalty to the crown.
8. Renoir’s painting count and style
Renoir made several thousand paintings during his lifetime. Renoir’s work is often copied and reproduced. Original works by Renoir tend to be very sensual (he had a period where he painted nudes and women were often the focus of his pieces). Renoir changed his style a few times. At first he started painting scenery, then he incorporated formal portraiture, next he was persuaded to try something new in a style that is now called his Ingres period. He then went back to his classical roots. He used thin brushes so that he could focus on the details of the figures in his paintings (especially important for his nude paintings).
Later in life, Renoir developed arthritis. This illness severely limited his movement, including the movement of his hands and shoulder. Thus he had to adapt his painting technique. As the paralysis worsened, he would paint by having his brush strapped to his bandaged hands.
10. A favorite
Renoir has many recognizable works, but perhaps the most famous of his paintings is
Renoir’s 1876 Dance at. Le Moulin de la Galette. In this painting the scene is set outdoors at, a popular dance garden on the Butte Montmartre. The scene is crowded with people going about doing what they normally did.