Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born on February 25th, 1841 in Limoges, France. His family settled in Paris in 1845, where at the early age of 13, his talent led him to an apprenticeship of hand painting porcelain in a factory.

During his spare time he takes drawing classes and in 1860, he studies seriously at the studio of the Swiss Charles Gleyre where he meets his artist-friends Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille, who later became the founders of Impressionism.

Renoir and Monet worked closely together during the late 1860s, painting similar scenes of popular river resorts and views of Paris.

Renoir seems to have had the talent to see anything as an interesting subject. More than any of the Impressionists, he found beauty and charm in the modern sights of Paris.

Renoir was by nature more solid than Monet, and while Monet fixed his attentions on the ever-changing patterns of nature, Renoir was particularly entranced by people and often painted friends and lovers.

Renoir does not go deep into the substance of what he sees but what it seems like, taking its generalities, which then allows the spectator to respond with immediate pleasure. Renoir always took a simple pleasure in whatever met his good-humored attention, but he refused to let what he saw take over what he wanted to paint.

Renoir is best known for his pleasant painting of everyday situations. Young girls, children and merry, informal gatherings set him apart from other Impressionists. His early work has a quivering brightness as well as the effects of light.

Around that period, Renoir is also granted permission to copy at the Louvre, where he feels inspired by the 18th century masters such as Boucher, Fragonard and Watteau. In 1862, he is admitted at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Renoir soon felt restrained by the established artistic traditions. He wanted to find a new form of expression and this led him to experimentation. He began working outdoors, observing nature directly, rather than painting inside a studio. The brilliant, luminous colors of his palette were dabbed onto canvases with short, fragmented brushstrokes. These multi-colored paintings began to show movement and shimmer.

This type of painting was new and Renoir’s paintings were considered daring-even scandalous—it became an act of courage just to exhibit them. Renoir experienced success in the 1870’s, when a group of patrons began to steadily commission portraits from him. He became fairly well known.

Later in his career, Renoir achieved a balance between his spontaneous expressiveness of Impressionism with the technical preciseness of traditional painting. Even though arthritis disabled Renoir’s hands and legs, he never stopped painting. Brushes were tied to his hands so he could paint and an assistant sculpted Renoir’s ideas into clay. The pure satisfaction he achieved through the pleasures of painting and life is what shines through his artwork.

MONET PAINTING IN HIS GARDEN AT ARGENTEUIL-This painting is a great example of the artist’s use of brief, quick brushstrokes to capture the effects of light. By placing pure colors next to each other, Renoir created the effect of optical color mixing, for example, by placing yellow next to red, your eyes see it as orange.

In the scene, Monet’s easel seems to have less importance than the garden’s flowers. The opening in the wall of flowers leads the eye to the houses in the background. The yellow of the trees is echoed in the flowers, easel, fence and houses.

 

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