Pierre Auguste Renoir 1841-1919 BACK

Renoir worked closely with Monet during the 1860's, painting many similar scenes. 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 always took a simple pleasure in whatever met his good-humored attention, but refused to let what he saw dominate what he wanted to paint. Right through his career, Renoir's work never reveals the seriousness of a Monet or Cezanne painting. Renoir loved women and would boast that he painted with a part of his male anatomy. He shocked his teacher Gleyre by stating,

'If painting were not a pleasure to me I should certainly not do it'.

An excerpt from Renoir by Guy Jennings:
The development of Impressionism was temporarily halted by the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870. The group became scattered. Bazille was killed fighting at Beaune la Roland; Monet, Pissarro and Sisley sought refuge in England - the latter was of British descent, and his family had become bankrupt as a result of the war - and Renoir himself joined the Cuirassiers. He saw no action, being posted to the remote spot of Pau in the Basses-Pyrenees, but he had little time for painting On being discharged he returned to Paris, and was one of the few painters to remain there during the troubled period or the Commune.

With his friend and benefactor Bazille now gone, Renoir found life far from easy, but in 1873 a turning point came when the dealer Paul Durand-Ruel began to buy his work, enabling him to rent his first studio, at 35 rue St Georges. He continued to send paintings to the Salon, among them his Diana, classical in subject matter and concept but rather more modem in handling. This, like most of his entries, was rejected, and his friends Monet and Pissarro were also in general unsuccessful. Both Monet and Renoir did, in fact, have paintings accepted in 1865 and 1866, but simply being hung in the Salon did not necessarily guarantee success - an unknown artist could find his work placed in a dim corner or so high up on a wall as to render it to all intents and purposes invisible.

The difficulty of gaining acceptance at the Salon, then literally the only showplace for an aspiring artist, led to the idea of staging an independent exhibition where the public could see and judge the young artists' work for themselves. Renoir became treasurer of the new-formed group and served on the hanging committee. The first Impressionist Exhibition was held in 1874, with six paintings by Renoir included. Predictably, the show was a financial disaster, and aroused both hostility and derision from the critics, but of the few works that did sell, several were by Renoir.

The dealer Durand-Ruel had been forced to stop buying, being in financial difficulties, and the group of artists had now no source of income or prospects, so the following year Renoir joined with Monet, Sisley and Berthe Morisot and held an auction sale of their work at the Hotel Drouot. This once again was a disaster, although Renoir found a patron in the person of a modestly well-to-do customs official, Victor Chicquuet, who had come to the auction quite by chance and was one of the few buyers. Choequet was to become an important patron, not only of Renoir, but also of other avant-garde painters, notably Paul Cezanne.


Image List

Summer, 1868

La Grenouillere, 1869

La Grenouillere, 1869

La Grenouillere, 1871

Monsieur Fournaise, 1875

Self Portrait, 1875

Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil, 1875

Ball at the Moulin de la Galette, 1876

Self Portrait at Age 35, 1876

Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880

Two Sisters, 1881

Fruits from the Midi, 1881

Low Tide at Yport, 1883

Daughters of Mandes, 1888

The Artist's Family, 1896

Peaches and Almonds, 1901

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This listing of artists is not official. It is merely intended to group the artists in an easy to navigate format.

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