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Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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Pierre Auguste Renoir was a French artist, and was a leading painter of the Impressionist style. As a young boy, he worked in a porcelain factory. His drawing skills were early recognized, and he was soon employed to create designs on the fine china. He also painted decorations on fans before beginning art school . He moved to Paris in 1862 to study art, where he met Frederic Bazille, Claude Monet, and Alfred Sisley, all great impressionist painters. By 1864, he was exhibiting works at the Paris Salon, but his works went largely unnoticed for the next ten years, mostly in part to the disorder caused by the Franco-Prussian War.

Later, during the Paris Commune on 1871, Renoir was painting on the banks of the Seine River, when he was approached by a number of members from the commune, who thought he was a spy. They threatened to throw in into the rive, but he was saved by the leader of the commune, Raoul Rigault, whom he had protected on an earlier occasion. He experienced his first artistic success in 1874, at the first Impressionist Exhibition, and later in London of the same year. In 1881, Renoir began his world travels, voyaging to Italy to see the works of the Renaissance masters, and later to Algeria, following in the footsteps of Eugene Delacroix. It was in Algeria where he encountered a serious bout with pneumonia, leaving him bed ridden for six weeks, and permanently damaging his respiratory system.

In the later years of his life, not even severe rheumatoid arthritis, which left him confined to a wheelchair and limited his movement, could deter Renoir from painting. His arthritis eventually got so bad as to leave a permanent physical deformity of his hands and shoulder, which required him to change his painting technique to adapt to his physical limitations. Before his death in 1919, Renoir traveled to the Louvre to see his paintings hanging in the museum alongside the masterpieces of the great masters. He was a prolific artist, created several thousands artworks in his lifetime, and include some of the most well-known paintings in the art world.

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir, commonly known as Auguste Renoir (US: /rɛnˈwɑːr/ or UK: /ˈrɛnwɑːr/; 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."

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.

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.

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. Before he enrolled in art school, he also painted hangings for overseas missionaries and decorations on fans.

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. 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. Although Renoir first started exhibiting paintings at the Paris Salon in 1864, recognition was slow in coming, partly as a result of 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.

In 1874, a ten-year friendship with Jules Le Cœur and his family ended, 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.

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