Auguste Renoir

Firmin Auguste Renoir was born at Limoges in 1841. In his early work he followed, with pronounced modern modifications, certain traditions of the French 18th-century school, more particularly of Boucher, of whom we are reminded by the decorative tendency, the pink and ivory flesh tints and the facile technique of Renoir. In the ‘seventies he threw himself into the impressionist movement and became one of its leaders. In some of his paintings he carried the new principle of the division of tones to its extreme, but in his best work, notably in some of his paintings of the nude, he retained much of the refined sense of beauty of colour of the 18th century.

Renoir has tried his skill almost in every genre—in portraiture, landscape, flower-painting, scenes of modern life and figure subject; and though he is perhaps the most unequal of the great impressionists, his finest works rank among the masterpieces of the modern French school. Among these are some of his nude “Bathers,” the “Rowers’ Luncheon,” the “Ball at the Moulin de la Galette,” “The Box,” “The Terrace,” and the portrait of “Jeanne Samary.” He is represented in the Caillebotte room at the Luxembourg, in the collection of M. Durand-Ruel, and in most of the collections of impressionist paintings in France and in the United States.

Comparatively few of his works have come to England, but the full range of his capacity was seen at the exhibition of impressionist art held at the Grafton Galleries in London in 1905. At the Viau sale in Paris in 1907, a garden scene by Renoir, “La Tonnelle,” realized 28,000 frs., and a little head, “Ingenue,” 25,100 frs.

From the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Baigneuse, 1887.

Portrait of Stéphane Mallarmé by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1892, 50 × 40 cm, Versailles.

An early Baigneuse by Renoir, before he developed the style he is now famous for. The painting is known as Baigneuse au griffon, the dog in the foreground is a griffon. Dimensions 184 cm × 115 cm, currently located at São Paulo Museum of Art, São Paulo, Brazil. The model for this painting was Lise Tréhot, Renoir’s mistress and inspiration for many of Renoir paintings.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Diana the Huntress, 1867, dimensions 197 cm × 132 cm, National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. The model in the painting is Lise Tréhot, Renoir’s mistress and inspiration for a number of his paintings. As in much of Renoir’s early work, there is evidence of the influence of Gustave Courbet.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Bather Arranging her Hair (1893)

Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Young Girls at the Piano, c.1892