Pierre Renoir: Biography, Paintings & Facts

Instructor: Ninamarie Ochoa
French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir is remembered as one of the most prominent members of the Impressionist movement. His celebrated works captured vibrant scenes of late-19th century life.

Who Was Pierre-Auguste Renoir?

You might recognize the Impressionist movement by Claude Monet's vibrant landscapes, but it was Pierre-Auguste Renoir who painted images of people, in particular, in the high style of the movement. His lush, vibrant treatment of his subjects is revered as a prominent example of the Impressionist style.

Personal Life

Born February 25, 1841, in Limoges, France, Pierre-Auguste Renoir worked in a ceramics factory as a young boy. It was here that his early artistic skill was first recognized, and he was tasked with painting the designs on fine china. Renoir would later pursue formal art studies in Paris, spending much of his time at the Louvre Museum, studying and copying the work of the old masters. During his time in Paris, Renoir formed lifelong friendships with such artists as Claude Monet.

In 1874, Renoir joined Monet and the other Impressionists in their first exhibition. Critical reception was mixed, however, and Renoir continued to hone his work. He traveled throughout his life, including to Algeria and the English Channel Islands, and his works reflect the inspiration of the verdant and colorful landscapes and social scenes.

Renoir married his wife, Aline Victorine Charigot, in 1890, and together, the couple had three sons, all of whom entered the arts in filmmaking, acting, and ceramics.

Art

Renoir's works are excellent examples of the Impressionist style, perfectly capturing the vivid and dynamic aesthetic of the movement. Renoir admired Edgar Degas' ability to capture movement, Édouard Manet's use of black in his painting, and Claude Monet's ability to depict shadow as a reflection of surrounding colors rather than simple shades of black and brown (as traditionally done).

His own work melds these influences in saturated color palettes, sparkling use of light and shadow, kinetic lines and brushwork, and sensual (often female) figures.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Dance at Bougival (1882-83)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Dance at Bougival (1882-83)

Renoir and Monet formed a close partnership throughout their careers, and the two even painted the same scenes together, such as the example below.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La Grenouillere (1869)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La Grenouillere (1869)

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