Along with Claude Monet and others, Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) was one of the founders of impressionism – a revolutionary new development amongst painters. He later moved on from impressionism after being deeply moved by the Italian renaissance Masters.
Biography of Auguste Renoir
Renoir was born in Limoges on 25 February 1841. His father was a tailor, and Renoir was given an apprenticeship at a porcelain painters. He then had the opportunity to study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. It was here that he joined Charles Gleyre’s studio and met many other young French impressionist artists.
His art was noted for its vibrant combination of colours. In classic impressionist style, he avoided rigid lines, and merged objects giving a sense of dream like consciousness. He also painted many portraits of women – often in nude. They focus not on the sexual aspect but often of everyday experiences.
Initially, the art establishment was unimpressed by the new breed of painters and the impressionists struggled to have any exhibitions. Renoir, supplemented his income by drawing more conventional portraits.
In 1881 he visited Algeria and then Italy. In Italy, he was deeply impressed by the Italian masters. After meeting Cezanne near Marseilles, Renoir sought to break away from Impressionism by developing a new structural style of his own.
Yet, he never abandoned his techniques of colour that he learnt during his impressionist period and he developed a combination of classical styles of applying paint with an impressionist perspective of colour.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century he gained increasing fame and respect. In 1892, the French state bought one of his paintings – At the Piano.
As ill-fortune would have it, his fame and greater renown also coincided with the onset of arthritis which made painting difficult and painful. But, he struggled on and continued to paint some great masterpieces.