Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 - 1919) - Page 2
This made Renoir's name as a society portrait painter and his collectors increased among the hierarchy of Parisian society. The most prolific of his followers was diplomat Paul Bérard who collected over 30 Renoirs.

Around 1880 Renoir met Aline Charigot a pretty girl about 20 years his junior who had occasionally been his model. Aline and Renoir developed a relationship over the summer of 1881 while he painted his impressionist masterpiece The Luncheon of the Boating Party for which she modelled. Aline appears in the foreground her natural beauty eccentuated by the red flowers in her hat and a show of gentle affection to the small dog which she holds. The Umbrellas was also begun in 1881.

Aline wanted the couple to settle in her home village in Burgundy but Renoir was against this as he was against having children. He wanted to stay in Paris and paint without distraction. This attitude caused Aline to end the relationship. Renoir responded by travelling first to Normandy, then to Algeria a country he associated with Delacroix, then to Spain to see the work of Velázquez in Madrid and then Italy to see Titian's work in Florence and Raphael in Rome. On January 15 1882 in Italy Renoir met composer Richard Wagner at his home in Sicily. Renoir painted Wagner's portait in only 35 minutes.

Throughout his travels Renoir's love for Aline remained strong and in 1882 he returned to Paris to marry her. Moving back into his old Rue St Georges studio, Renoir developd a new style of painting, surrounding his figures with sharp hard outlines as can be seen in The Bathers (1884 -7). This is known as his 'harsh' style. Pisarro commented on Renoirs new style "I can quite understand the effort he's making. It is a very good thing not to want to go on repeating onself, but he has concentrated all his effort on line. The figures stand out against each other without any sort of relationship and the whole thing is meaningless. Renoir is no draughtsman and without the lovely colours he used to use he is incoherent." At first his dealer had difficulty in selling this new style of painting until about 1885 when it became popular with the Americans. 1885 also saw the birth of Pierre, the first of three sons. Financily times were improving, the Renoirs moved to a bigger house in Montmartre and took on 15 year old Gabrielle Renard a distant cousin of Alines'. Gabrielle helped Aline with the two younger boys Jean and Claude and frequently posed as a model.

In 1887 Renoir broke his arm falling from a bicycle. This brought on his first attack of muscular rheumatism. This disease worstened as time went on making Renoir constantly in pain but with the support of Aline, Gabrielle and friends he continued to paint. Chasing the pain relieving warmth Renoir spent more and more time in the south of France and in 1907 built a house in Cagnes on the Riviera. His new home was beautiful with olive trees, orange blossoms and views over the Mediterranean. The brilliant light, beauty and warmth combined to ease the pain and enthuse his creativity, but it was far from a cure. By 1908 he could walk only with sticks and by 1912 Renoir's arms and legs were crippled and he was confined to a wheelchair. Despite all of this and the death of Aline in 1915, Renoir still continued to paint.

Over his last few years of life Renoir began to sculpt with the assistance of two young sculptors to work as his hands, as his were too crippled to use. And to the end he continued to paint, working in a glass studio constructed in his garden and with Gabrielle having to push the paint brush between his twisted fingers, Renoir demonstrated the creativity of a genius can carry him past physical limitations. Pierre-Auguste Renoir died on the night of December 3, 1919.

1841 born on 25th February at Limoges, France
Renoir family relocate to Paris
apprenticed as a porcelain painter
made redundant when new techniques for painting porcelain are employed
Meets Sisley, Monaet and Bazille while studying at Charles Gleyre's studio.
1865 Moves into Sisley's studio. Goes sailing on the river Seine as far as Le Havre. Meets Courbet, whom he admires. Meets Lise Tréhot.
1870 Franco-Prussian war; Fredric Bazille killed
1874 takes part in the first impressionist exhibition
1880 meets Aline Charigot
1881 paints Luncheon of the Boating Party; travels to Algeria, Spain, Venice, Rome and Naples
1882 returns to Paris
1885 birth of son Pierre
1888 First attack of rheumatoid arthritis which leaves his face partially paralysed
1890 14 April marries Aline
birth of son Jean; Gabrielle Renard arrives to help Aline
1896 goes to Wagner festival in Bayreuth, Germany. Finds music boring.
11 November mother dies age 89
1901 birth of son Claude
1904 moves to Riviera
1911 confined to wheel chair - continues to paint with brushes tied to his hands
1915 Aline dies in Nice on 27 June age 56
1919 visits Louvre to see his paintings hanging with the old masters. Dies December 3 at Cagnes
<< page 1
La Loge (1874)
La Moulin de la Galette (1876)
Mlle. Irène Cahen d'Anvers (1880)

Two Sisters (on the terrace) (1881)
Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881)
The Seine at Chatou (1881)
The Umbrellas (1881 - 6)
Dance at Bougival (1883)
The Bathers (1884 - 7)
After the Bath (1888)

Feist, Peter H. (1996). Renoir - A Dream of Harmony. Germany: Evergreen
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Piper, D. (1981). The Dictionary of Painting & Sculpture, Art & Artists, Painters & Sculptors, Terms & Techniques. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers.

Spence, D. (1998). Renoir - Colour and Nature. UK: Ticktock Publishing.
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The Great Artists (1985) Renoir - Part 3. London: Marshall Cavandish Ltd.

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Art e-facts
Did you know . . .?
. . . Florentine master painter Giotto di Bondone (1267 -1337) was also an accomplished architect? In 1334 Giotto's architectural skills were employed when he was put in charge of the building operations of Florence Cathedral for which he painted several panel pieces. The most celebrated piece being Ognisanti Madonna (1305 - 10).

. . . Artist Edgar Degas was so fascinated with ballet dancers that he became obsessed with representing them in his art? It is estimated Degas made approximately 1500 paintings, pastels, prints and drawings of dancers.
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