Font Size
Return to Previous Page

During his lifetime Pierre-Auguste Renoir achieved great acclaim as a painter, though much of this came later in his career. As a young artist, Renoir often struggled for money to buy more painting supplies; as an aged man he battled illness and paralysis throughout much of his body, but continued to paint with brushes tied to his hands. For Renoir, painting was his life’s pursuit.

Born in the small town of Limoges, France on February 25th, 1841, Renoir and his family relocated to Paris when he was four years-old. The liveliness and modernity of city life shaped Renoir in many ways, and he remained a Parisian for much of his life. As a boy, Renoir trained as a porcelain painter, but in 1862 he was admitted to the École des Beaux-arts, the premier art academy in Paris.

Through much of his career Renoir worked to achieve fame as a portrait and figure painter, which were considered among the most elevated genres or categories of painting at the time. It was in the genre of landscape painting, however, that he truly began developing a new visual language that would characterize his Impressionist works.

Renoir showed some of his works in the first three Impressionist Exhibitions as a leading member of the Impressionist circle. Gradually though, he began to separate himself from the Impressionists as more of his paintings became accepted into the Salon, the official art exhibition held annually in Paris. By the early 1880s Renoir felt he had reached the limits of Impressionism and began formulating a more classical style focused on line and form by studying Roman art and Renaissance art during two extended trips to Italy. He continued painting through the rest of his life. On December 2, 1919 after painting a bouquet of flowers, Renoir is said to have murmured, "I feel I have learned something today." He died later the same day.
 

Return to Previous Page