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Renoir and His Works

I chose Renoir for my artist booklet because I feel that he combines the light and airy scenes of impressionism with female figures and portraits of society.  I found his paintings to be bright and colorful.  Because he was an original artist of the movement I thought his work would define the movement, however his work wasn't originally showcased with other artists of the movement.  He also painted people, which was less common in the works of Claude Monet.  

Anna Constantine 

Art History Honors

Born in Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France, Renoir was raised by a working class family and began working at an early age. His artistic ability became apparent and he began to paint designs in the porcelain factory where he was employed.  After being given this opportunity, he studied art at the Louvre and enrolled in an art school.  In the 1860’s, while he was studying under Charles Gleyre in Paris, he met Claude Monet, a well known impressionist painter.  Due to the Franco-Prussian War, Renoir didn’t receive much recognition for his art for ten years. In 1874 six of Renoir’s paintings were hung in the first Impressionist exhibition alongside those of  Monet and Degas.  Renoir’s art was influenced not only by french artists and the Louvre, but also by his travels of the world when he visited Algeria and Madrid, Spain. Later in His life, Renoir developed arthritis and retired to a warmer climate in the Mediterranean, at times he continued to paint with a paintbrush taped to his immobile fingers.  Although he was confined to a wheelchair, he still managed to visit the Louvre to appreciate his paintings and those of other masters.  

Renoir's Story as an Artist

Renoir was a founding member of the impressionist movement as he painted with colleagues Claude Monet, Frédéric Bazille, and Alfred Sisley in the forest of Fontainebleau.  Although he was influenced by nature, his paintings generally focused female nudes surrounded by nature.  In 1869 Renoir painted with Monet on the water at a boating and bathing establishment outside Paris. This helped to establish the Impressionist style of broad, loose brushstrokes, creating blurry images to portray the flowing water and the bright sun in a light and airy manner.

Renoir's Influences and Impact on Impressionism

Title: River Landscape, 1890
Date Created: 1890
Currently in: Albertina, Vienna

Title: Oarsmen at Chatou
Date Created: 1879
Currently in: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Title: Dark-Haired Woman
Date Created: 1903-1904
Currently in: Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art

Title: Girl with a Blue Ribbon
Date Created: 1888
Currently in: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

One of my favorite pieces by Renoir is "Pont Neuf, Paris" because it depicts the harbor and the swirling waves in a peaceful and serene manner.  I like how an artist can take a busy, crowded market place and transform it into a place of beauty and light.  The thick brushstrokes and blurry background keep the viewer's eye from focusing on one focal point in the painting and allow the viewer to appreciate the work as a whole.  The painting showcases the color blue in both the sky and the harbor, with matching tones in the people and buildings in the background.  I generally chose cool toned pieces for my booklet so that the general color scheme would match.  

Title: Pont Neuf, Paris
Date Created: 1872
Currently in: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Title: The Piazza San Marco, Venice
Date Created: 1881
Currently in: Minneapolis Institute of Art

Another work by Renoir that I liked was "The Piazza San Marco, Venice".  I liked this painting because I feel like it embodies the impressionist style because it doesn't portray the Piazza accurately, but conveys a general "impression" of the building.  I like how Renoir used muted red-brown colors to paint the Piazza, but used a vibrant blue color to highlight certain aspects of the building.  The focal point of the work is the Palace because the brushstrokes get thicker in the background and to form the people in the town square.  I found it interesting Renoir was able to show detail in the palace while keeping with the impressionist style.