Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born in 1841 in Limoges. He began his professional career in 1854 as an apprentice in a porcelain manufactory. During these early years Renoir began to take drawing lessons. In 1861 he entered École des Beaux-Arts, the studio of Charles Gleyre, where he met Claude Monet, Frédéric Bazille, and Alfred Sisley. In the mid-1860’s Renoir started exhibiting at the Paris Salon.
In 1871, during the turmoil of the Paris Commune, Renoir together with Claude Monet spent a lot of time painting on the banks of the river Seine at Asnières, Argenteuil, and Chatou. During this period the two artists developed their famous technique that later became the essence of Impressionism.
In 1873, Renoir exhibited two of his paintings at the Salon des Refusés; the following years Renoir became one of the organizers of the first exhibition of “independent artists”, a group that soon became known as the Impressionists. Renoir would remain one of the central figures of the Impressionist movement for the rest of his career. Between 1874 and 1882, he exhibited at four out of seven Impressionist exhibitions. In 1879, Renoir had his first personal exhibition at La Vie Moderne in Paris.
In 1880, Renoir met his future wife Aline Charigot who became one of his favorite models. Along with a number of the artist’s friends, Aline is depicted in the famous Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC).
In 1881, inspired by Eugène Delacroix, Renoir traveled to Algeria and then to Spain and Italy to study works of Titian, Velázquez, Raphael, and Rubens. The following years of his career, best represented by The Large Bathers (1884–87, Philadelphia Museum of Art), are usually referred to as the “Ingres period”, characterised by precise drawing and attempts to revive the linear classicism of the old masters.
A decade later, influenced by Titian and Rubens, as well as eighteenth-century French artists Antoine Watteau and Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Renoir abandoned his earlier “dry”, linear manner and turned his attention to coloristic experiments. He mainly concentrated on monumental nudes, landscapes and domestic scenes painted in luminous, vibrant colors.
In the late 1890’s, Renoir began suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. In 1907, the illness made him move to the south of France. He settled in Cagnes-sur-Mer where he spent his last years. In 1919 the French state purchased his portrait of Madame Georges Charpentier (1877). Several months before his death Renoir travelled to Paris to see his painting on display in the Louvre.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was one of the founders and major figures of the Impressionist movement. His artistic legacy includes several thousand paintings represented in major museum and private collections worldwide.
Works by the artist in museums and public galleries worldwide
Art Institute of Chicago, IL, USA
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK
Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK
Dallas Museum of Art, TX, USA
Frick Collection, New York City, NY, USA
Guggenheim Museum, New York City, NY, USA
Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN, USA
Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, USA
Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris, France
Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France
Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, USA
Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY, USA
National Gallery, London, UK
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA
National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden
National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan
Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA, USA
Phillips Collection, Washington D.C., USA
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia
San Francisco Fine Arts Museums, CA, USA
Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany
State Hermitage, St.Petersburg, Russia
Tate Gallery, London, UK
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, Spain
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