—PIERRE-AUGUSTE RENOIR (1841 – 1919)
A leader in the Impressionist movement, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born to a working class family in Limoges, France. His early years were spent working in a porcelain factory in Paris where he learned to paint designs on fine china and spent time studying French master paintings at the Louvre.
In 1862, he began studying art under Charles Gleyre in Paris and developed relationships with artists Alfred Sisley, Frédéric Bazille, and Claude Monet In the late 1860s, through the practice of painting light and water en plein air (in the open air), he and his friend Claude Monet discovered that the color of shadows is not brown or black, but reflected color of the objects surrounding them.
Renoir’s paintings are notable for their vibrant light and saturated color and most often focus on people in intimate and candid compositions. He portrayed the details of his works through quickly brushed touches of color such that his figures meld with one another and their surroundings. The female nude was often a primary subject for the artist as were children.
During the last twenty years of his life Renoir, despite suffering from severe arthritis and being wheelchair-bound, continued to paint with the aid of an assistant who helped place brushes in his hand. His works reflect well his mastery of light and color. In 1919, the year of his death, he visited the Louvreto see his paintings hanging with those of the old masters.
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