Pierre-Auguste Renoir

21.08.2015 |

Episode #8 of the course “Impressionist artists who changed the art world”


Pierre-Auguste Renoir was one of the most successful and popular Impressionist painters of his time, and he remains so today. Known for his vibrant use of color, wide palette, choppy and simplistic brushstrokes, and the detailed level of his portraits, Renoir’s masterpieces currently hang in galleries around the world. His career spanned nearly five decades, and although his style and subjects changed, he is identified as one of the Impressionist masters.

Born in 1841, the Frenchman worked as a painter from a young age and did not begin formal training until 1862. He struggled until his first major success at the Paris Salon in 1868, but Renoir was never discouraged—he remained one of the most productive and active painters. He was one of the coordinators of the first Impressionist exhibit in 1874 and showed paintings at Impressionist exhibits the following years, establishing himself as one of the central Impressionist figures.


8.1 Jeanne Samary in a Low Necked DressJeanne Samary in a Low Necked Dress


8.2 The DancerThe Dancer


8.3 Dance at Moulin de la GaletteDance at Moulin de la Galette


Renoir painted his family, domestic scenes, nudes, and idyllic country life. He also painted many portraits of people both identified and in large groups, as in Dance at Moulin de la Galette or Luncheon of the Boating Party, in which no one is identified but may be recognizable by their realistic looks. Renoir often painted outdoors, even nudes, like his Large Bathers. He also painted a number of self-portraits, documenting not only his style changes but the changes to his artistic vision.


8.4 The Luncheon of the Boating PartyThe Luncheon of the Boating Party


8.5 The Large BathersThe Large Bathers


Even though arthritis made his movements painful and painting difficult, Renoir was prolific throughout his life. The rumor was that Renoir would tie brushes to his hands toward the end of his life in order to overcome his arthritis and continue working, but that has turned out to be only legend. Although art historians disagree on the exact number of his paintings, sketches, and drawings, it is agreed to be in the thousands. Pierre-Auguste Renoir died in 1919.



“There is something in painting which cannot be explained, and that something is the essential. You come to Nature with your theories, and she knocks them all flat.”

“The pain passes but the beauty remains.”

“For me, a picture must be a pleasant thing, joyous and pretty — yes, pretty. There are too many unpleasant things in life for us to fabricate still more.”

“The artist who uses the least of what is called imagination, will be the greatest!”

“One morning one of us had runout of black; and that was the birth of Impressionism.”


All artworks

Pierre-Auguste Renoir on WikiArt


Recommended book

“Luncheon of the Boating Party” by Susan Vreeland


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