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Pierre-Auguste Renoir - French Impressionist

Updated on August 23, 2009

Artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born on February 25, 1841 in Limoges, France. As a child of 13 he worked in a porcelain factory painting designs on fine china. In 1862, Renoir moved to Paris and studied art under Charles Gleyre; while there he met artists Alfred Sisley and Claude Monet. Like many writers of his time, Renoir spent a lot of time in the Louvre copying the old masters.

Renoir began exhibiting his art work at the Paris Salon in 1867. He was one of the founding members of the Impressionist movement of artists. The first Impressionist exhibit was held in Paris in 1874.

Renoir married Aline Victorine Charigot in 1890. She was one of the models for his painting Luncheon of the Boating Party in 1884. The couple already had a son who was born in 1885; they had two more sons. His son Jean became a successful film maker in the 1930s and 1940s. Many of Renoir’s paintings featured his family.

self portrait 1910
self portrait 1910

In 1892, Renoir developed rheumatoid arthritis; the disease forced him to move to a warmer climate in the south of France. He kept painting but had to change his style slightly and painted with a brush strapped to his arm. He also began doing sculpture in clay.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir died on December 3, 1919 in Cagnes-sur-Mer, Provence.

Renoir’s paintings are on display in many museums around the world and he remains one of the most popular artists. In 1990, his painting Bal au Moulin de la Galette, Montmarte sold for $78.1 million.

The Theatre Box 1874

Gabrielle and Jean 1895

The Artist's Famly 1896

Young Woman Seated 1909

Impressionism (Musee D'Orsay Paris)

(Musée d'Orsay, Paris)

by Richard Sidy

I saw him
with tears in his eyes
insulated from the crowds
of museum goers
who, like him,
had come to the Orsay
to pay homage to the masters,
magicians of color and light,
who caught a moment in time
a glance
an emotion
a gesture,
and immortalized it.

I paused behind him
and beheld a most beautiful
young woman,
a Renoir,
fresh, perfect, rosy,
her lips, cheeks, dark eyes

I felt the longing:
Who was she?
Was she real
or was she just
the impression
of the artist's desire
of his idealism
of his dreams?

I found myself immersed
in the silent devotion
of this young man.
I looked at his face
and saw something there
that resembled the girl.

Did she remind him
of a sister
a cousin
a love
now gone
but cached away,
suddenly rediscovered
in her face
in her lithesome beauty?
Or was she the one
always sought
in lonely reveries
finally meeting her
but she not flesh?

Renoir, long dead
left a bittersweet souvenir
in capturing a perfect beauty,
not knowing that immortalizing
her image
would create a painful void
in future generations
of young men
who long for the
and fresh scent
of a living goddess.

© 2000 Richard Sidy

Le Bal au Moulin de la Galette, Montmarte 1876

Luncheon of the Boating Party 1880


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  • lctodd1947 profile image

    lctodd1947 7 years ago from USA

    You did a lot of work on these. Great information and beautiful art. Thanks you

  • Uninvited Writer profile image

    Susan Keeping 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    I have the Theatre Box framed and hanging in my living room. A print obviously :)

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • rebekahELLE profile image

    rebekahELLE 8 years ago from Tampa Bay

    adore this hub and this artist. I did see some of his work at musee d'orsay and felt humbled just to be in the same room.

    I also have one of his prints framed hanging on my bedroom wall. I found it for $10 at a flea market. It gives me great joy just walking in my room. What a wonderful, informative hub. :]

  • Uninvited Writer profile image

    Susan Keeping 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks for the comments. I've revisiting all my Impressionist hubs and finally getting caught up on comment. Thanks for dropping by.

  • profile image

    Kym 8 years ago

    I love Richard Sidy's Writing on Impressionism first of all and Renoir's Impressionism has always been a favorite of mine. Impressionism is a favorite art form of mine. It is as close to reality as you can get without a photo! I like real!

  • RKHenry profile image

    RKHenry 8 years ago from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA

    Great hub. I really enjoyed it.

  • Gypsy Willow profile image

    Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

    Fabulous hub thank you.