Facts about Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir Photo

1. An early start as an artist

As a boy, Renoir showed artistic talent as he worked in a porcelain factory making drawings. He visited the Louvre and studied other painters. He began studying art, and although his name was familiar to some in the artistic world, it would be years more until his talents began to be appreciated.

2. Influential associations

Renoir made many friends and associates in the art, political and upper-class societies. He met other famous painters like Claude Monet. He was saved from being arrested as a spy because a commanding officer owed him a favor. And Renoir was supported with a spacious room and board via the generosity of a friend. In fact, there are several paintings of Renoir and Monet that are similar. They would often paint at the same location from different angles and discuss how to better how they painted lighting elements.

3. Impressionist exhibition

In 1874, Renoir was invited to contribute 6 paintings to the first ever Impressionist exhibition. This show brought him much acclaim, undoubtedly the most attention that he had received yet.

4. Travels

Renoir traveled Europe and met many people and saw many places. He sought out other painters like Diego Velazquez, Eugene Delacroix, and Titian. Renoir also met and painted a portrait of composer Richard Wagner.

5. Guernsey

Renoir created fifteen paintings while spending a summer in Guernsey, a landscape that was diverse and beautiful. These paintings would be featured on a set of commemorative postage stamps in 1983.

6. A family affair

Earlier in his career, Renoir, like many painters, hired models to pose. However, after his marriage, he often used his wife and children as the models for his paintings. His paintings that reflect the occurrences of daily life were taken from his own experiences with his family.

7. Donating to the Queen

At the request of Queen Victoria's associate, Renoir donated several of his pieces to the queen as a sign of his loyalty to the crown.

8. Renoir's painting count and style

Renoir made several thousand paintings during his lifetime. Renoir's work is often copied and reproduced. Original works by Renoir tend to be very sensual (he had a period where he painted nudes and women were often the focus of his pieces). Renoir changed his style a few times. At first he started painting scenery, then he incorporated formal portraiture, next he was persuaded to try something new in a style that is now called his Ingres period. He then went back to his classical roots. He used thin brushes so that he could focus on the details of the figures in his paintings (especially important for his nude paintings).

9. Arthritis

Later in life, Renoir developed arthritis. This illness severely limited his movement, including the movement of his hands and shoulder. Thus he had to adapt his painting technique. As the paralysis worsened, he would paint by having his brush strapped to his bandaged hands.

10. A favorite

Renoir has many recognizable works, but perhaps the most famous of his paintings is Renoir's 1876 Dance at. Le Moulin de la Galette. In this painting the scene is set outdoors at, a popular dance garden on the Butte Montmartre. The scene is crowded with people going about doing what they normally did.

11. Renoir Had A Different Take On Painting Shadows

Renoir and Monet shared the same color theory: that shadows were not comprised of the colors black and brown, but instead they were reflections of the objects surrounding them, and thus were multi-colored. The effect - diffuse reflection - is an important component of painting.

12. Renoir Took A Short Break From Impressionism In

In 1881, after studying the works of Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and other Renaissance painters in Italy, Renoir opted to take a break from the Impressionist movement and attempted to paint in a more classical style. This time is known as Renoir's "Ingres period."

13. Renoir Was The Father Of Two Famous Movie Industry Stars

Renoir was the father of French filmmaker Jean Renoir, who is known for his movies "Grand Illusion" and "The Rules of the Game." One of his other sons, Pierre Renoir, was a noted film actor, remembered for his role as Jericho in "Children of Paradise."

14. Renoir Visited The Louvre To See His Own Work

In 1919, Renoir visited the Louvre to see his paintings hanging amongst the masterpieces of the old masters. He died later that year.

15. The Largest Collection Of Renoir Paintings Is Not In France

The single largest collection of his works is not in the artist's home country. Instead, a total of 181 paintings are located at the Barnes Foundation, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

16. Renoir Still Makes Headlines In The 21st Century

A woman who bought a $7 box lot at a flea market in the Shenandoah Valley thought she'd hit the lottery and scored an original painting by Pierre-August Renoir. The work, a landscape titled "Paysage Bords de Seine," was valued at between $75,000 and $100,000. Alas, the painting was actually stolen decades ago and the thrifty shopper was forced to surrender her amazing art find.