Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Renoir - Impressionist Artist

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, an artist who documented the times in which he lived and painted. . .

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, PD/WC, Artist, c.1878

Renoir, a French artist 1841-1919, was one of the leading painters in the Impressionist style. He celebrated beauty, in particular feminine sensuality. Born in Limoges, France to a working class family, he was part of a golden moment in art.

In 1862, Renoir was living in Paris. He met Alfred Sisley, Frederic Bazille, and Claude Monet. A new art movement was beginning and these men were at the forefront. Renoir started exhibiting paintings at the Paris Salon in 1864, but recognition would remain elusive for another ten years. The early years were lean.

Renoir's paintings are known for their vibrant colour and subject matter. In the late 1860s, using the technique, en plein air (in the outdoors), Auguste and his friend Claude Monet experimented by painting the same scenes side by side, each showing his perception of the same subject. He is also known for his paintings of female nudes.

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (Bal du moulin de la Galette) 1876, is shown below. A popular dance garden, this place was on the Butte Montmartre near Renoir's residence.

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette, 1876, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, PD/WC

In 1882, Auguste Renoir met and painted the portrait of Richard Wagner, the German composer, at Wagner's home. Later that year, he convalesced in Algeria for six weeks. He had contracted pneumonia, severe enough to permanently damage his respiratory system. But he kept painting.

Renoir married Aline Victorine Charigot, who, along with a few of Auguste's friends served as a model for Le Déjeuner des canotiers - Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881.  After his marriage, Renoir painted many scenes of his family life. His wife, sons and other household staff were immortalized in several paintings. 

In 1907, Renoir moved to the warmer climate of Cagnes-sur-Mer, close to the Mediterranean coast. He had rheumatoid arthritis and was wheelchair-bound, but he continued to paint during the last twenty years of his life.

Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre, by DG Hudson

The property in the photograph above is now privately owned, but the top of the windmill still indicates what once existed here. As we walked past this landmark, I tried to detect the strains of French music, or the sound of people dancing and laughing, just like the painting.


Have you heard of Renoir or have you seen any of his work? Did you know he was a good friend of Monet's? Please share in the comments. If you're doing the A to Z, good luck with the last half!


References: the Artist About Impressionism About the painting and location

PD=Public Domain
WC=Wikipedia Commons

Photo of Renoir:
This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

Photo of Painting: Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette
This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. This work is in the public domain in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 90 years or less.