Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919). Pierre Auguste Renoir met Pissarro and Claude Monet at the studio in Paris where they were students. Monet persuaded him of the benefits of painting out of doors.
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Pierre Auguste Renoir met Pissarro and Claude Monet at the studio in Paris where they were students. • Monet persuaded him of the benefits of painting out of doors. • Renoir and Monet’s paintings were remarkably similar when both artists worked together in early years. • For a time, Renoir shared his friends fascination for the effects of light on water, but later he focused more on the human figure. • Some of Renoir’s most enduring images are of people enjoying themselves. Smiling faces and pretty children make his paintings very appealing. • He was often criticised for this and in defence he said: ‘Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.’ • He endured much hardship early in his career but he eventually achieved success. Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Bal au Moulin de la Gallette (1876) (Dance at the Moulin de la Galette) • This is one of his most accomplished works. He depicts a mixture of Parisian upper, middle and working classes who are attending a fashionable Sunday afternoon music-hall dance. • The Moulin de la Galette was one of the few places where it was acceptable for the social classes to mingle on the same level. • The composition is lively and energetic suggesting constant movement. The figures of the two girls in the foreground, while in fact chatting to the men on the right, face outwards, inviting the viewer to participate in the scene. • His painting technique helps to create a sense of depth in the painting, concentrating on depicting detail in the foreground characters clearly, while reducing the background figures to daubs of colour. This makes them appear out of focus, giving the impression of throngs of people at the dance with out necessarily showing each individual.
The placement of the figures within the picture seems casual and unplanned, as do the carefree, smiling faces of the characters, lending the work the feeling of a snapshot depiction of life as it was at the time. • Light and colour: The beautiful depiction of light falling through the branches of the acacia trees overhead onto the ground and the figures give the impression of transient light and shifting movement. • Most of the people are wearing dark colours, blending into the shade, and highlighted by the dapples of sunlight. There is a uniformity of colour which unites the painting, as the artist repeats the pink and red tones in the ladies’ dresses, contrasting with the greens of the foliage and background buildings and the golden hues of the straw boater hats. The dapples of light on the ground are echoed in the globes of light in the top of the picture.
Renoir depicts a group of his friends relaxing on the terrace of the Maison Fournaise in chateau. This is a small village on the Seine, popular with fashionable Parisians taking excursions down the river during the summer months. • A number of characters Renoir has included in his painting are wearing straw hats, known as boaters, which were popular when river boating. • Renoir loved painting social scenes, peopled with characters and momentary scenes of pleasure. • He often used his friends and family as models for his paintings and this one is no exception. Departure from Impressionism • In the 1880’s Renoir abandoned Impressionism and no longer exhibited with his former colleagues. • Seeking new inspiration he travelled to Italy with Aline, where he rediscovered the works of the old masters.
The Umbrellas • Changes in Renoir’s painting style can clearly be seen in this painting. • The figures on the right are painted in the Impressionist style, with bright colours and loose brushwork. • The two figures on the left are more ‘finished’ and subdued in colour.
The Nude Figure • In later years, Renoir returned to a softer style of painting. • He painted many scenes of bathers in the sunlight. • These nude female figures have that soft, pearly skin texture for which Renoir has become so well known. A World-renowned Artist • Renoir spent his last years in the south of France. He suffered from sever arthritis but continued to paint. • When the Louvre acquired his painting in 1919 he travelled to Paris. • He was honoured as a worlds-renowned artist and was escorted through the Galleries in a wheelchair. • He died shortly after his return to the south.
The Anonymous Society of Artists • The group chose ‘The Anonymous Society of Artists’ as the title for their first exhibition. • The reviews were bad, the exhibition was badly attended and the artists suffered huge financial losses. • However, the term ‘Impressionism’ had been established. • Two years later they came together again but this exhibition was even less well attended. The reviews were no better. • Edgar Degas was a member of the group but was dissatisfied with the name ‘Impressionism’ as well as with the predominant style of painting. • He argued and disagreed with his colleagues a lot and eventually left the group. • Over the years there were eight Impressionist exhibitions in Paris and a final one was held in America.