French Artists

French Artists
  • Paul Cézanne
  • Gustave Courbet
  • Jacques-Louis David
  • Edgar Degas
  • Eugène Delacroix
  • Paul Gauguin
  • Claude Monet
  • Auguste Renoir
  • Nicolas Poussin
  • Henri Matisse
  • Antoine Watteau
  • Jean-François Millet
  • Charles Le Brun
  • Jean Fouquet

Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841 - 1919)

Renoir, born on February 25, 1841, in Limoges, in central France, was one of France's leading Impressionist artists. As son of a tailor and dressmaker, at the age of 13 he was apprenticed to a painter of factory-made porcelain. He also began painting fans and blinds, and in the meantime, attended evening drawing classes.

At M.C. Gleyre's studio, he met Monet, Bazille and Sisley, with whom he formed lasting friendships. They would later form the core of the artistic movement known as Impressionism, and the four of them enjoyed many afternoons painting outdoors in the Forests of Fontainebleau. In his very early work, the influences of Courbet, Manet, Corot, Ingres and Delacroix are evident.

Financially, things became difficult for artists during the time of and immediately after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. Renoir served in the army during the war and later turned to painting portraits as this was relatively well paid. He was a person who put his sitters at ease throughout the painting sessions and was well liked. In the early 1880's Renoir travelled to Italy and Algeria and upon his return to Paris, exhibited his works successfully, which stabilized his financial situation.

Unfortunately, in his later years, Renoir began developing rheumatism and arthritis. This got worse after having broken his arm riding a bicycle and he began spending his winters on the French Riviera. In 1903 he moved there permanently, purchasing an estate in the proximity of Nice. Later confined to a wheelchair, he continued to paint as much as he could and also explored with sculptures. Renoir died on December 3, 1919, aged 78, and his house has been turned into a museum dedicated to the painter's memory. His son and filmmaker, Jean Renoir, made a biography of his father in 1962.

Some of Renoir's well known pieces include:

  • Madame Charpentier and her Children
  • The Swing
  • Moulin de la Galette
  • The Bathers
  • Luncheon of the Boating Party
  • Dance at Bougival
  • Lady Sewing
  • Bather
  • Le Bal au Moulin de le Galette
  • Woman with Fan
  • Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise
  • Girl with a Watering Can
  • Jeanne Samary
  • Acrobats at the Circus Fernando
  • On the Terrace
  • La Loge