Renoir was born to working class parents in Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France. The dismal economic condition of the family forced Renoir to work in a porcelain factory where he discovered his inherent love for art and started painting designs on china clay. He did various odd jobs before he enrolled in art school. During those years, he would make frequent pilgrimages to his mecca, Louvre, observing various masterpieces there for hours.
Soon he found a mentor in Charles Gleyre. He also befriended masters like Alfred Sisley, Frederic Bazille and Claude Monet. However his financial condition during his internship years were so bad that , he did not have enough money to buy paint. He held his first exhibition as early as 1864 but recognition did not come for another 10 years due, in part, to the turmoil of the Franco-Prussian War.
Renoir and Impressionism
A close friend of Monet, Renoir was a famous proponent of Impressionism. His predilection towards light-hearted themes helped him create paintings which we now see as trademark impressionist specimens. He painted with Monet in the Barbizon district and became a leading member of the group of Impressionists who met at the Café Guerbois. His feathery brushstrokes were to become synonymous with the Impressionist style.
After a period of experimentation with what he called his `manière aigre' (harsh or sour manner) in the mid 1880s, he developed a softer and more supple kind of handling.yet he remained one of the greatest impressionist Painters of all times.
Renoir is most probably the most loved Impressionists. His subjects appealed to the common man -pretty children, flowers, beautiful scenes, above all lovely women- have instant appeal, and he communicated the joy he took in them straight-forwardly. `Why shouldn't art be pretty? 'He said, `There are enough unpleasant things in the world.
Impressionism can be defined as a 19th century art movement that began as a loose association of Paris-based painters who began publicly exhibiting their art in the 1860s.
Impressionist Paintings were charcterized by visible brushstrokes, light colors, open composition, emphasis on light in its changing qualities (giving the impression of the passage of time), subject matters which weren’t out of the ordinary and innovative angles.This style of painting influenced a galaxy of painters, most famous of whom was Vincent Van Gogh.
The trademark of the impressionist style of painting is the concentration on the general impression produced by a scene or object and the use of unmixed primary colors and small strokes to simulate actual reflected light
Renoir is known for his vibrant palette and his effusive use of light . Renoir never believed in following conventions and unlike other impressionists who focused on landscapes, he painted other things too. The female nude was one of his primary subjects. However his style is distinctly impressionistic and he suggests the details of a scene through liberal touches of color, which makes his figures softly fuse with one another and their surroundings.
Some of his most significant paintings are
Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (Le Bal au Moulin de la Galette).
The Swing (La Balançoire).
Luncheon of the Boating Party