French Impressionist painter. He met Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley in the early 1860s, and together they formed the nucleus of Impressionism. He developed a lively, colourful painting style with feathery brushwork (known as his ‘rainbow style’) and painted many scenes of everyday life, such as The Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC), and also female nudes, such as The Bathers (about 1884–87; Philadelphia Museum of Art).
His early pictures show the influence of Gustave Courbet, but after the Franco-Prussian War (in which he served as cuirassier), with Monet at the Paris suburb of Argenteuil, he produced riverscapes completely Impressionist in their atmospheric colour, such as the Regatta, Argenteuil (1874).
While associated with Impressionism, and exhibiting at the Impressionist exhibitions in the 1870s, many of Renoir's works show that his main delight was in human life and the female model. La Loge/The Theatre Box (1874; Courtauld Gallery, London), a work painted in the studio, Dancing at the Moulin de la Galette (1876; Louvre, Paris), and Madame Charpentier and her Daughters (1879; Metropolitan Museum, New York) are good examples. He also produced about 150 lithographs.
His reaction against Impressionism began in the 1880s after he had visited Italy, where he was influenced by the Graeco-Roman paintings from Pompeii at Naples, and by a stay at L'Estaque with Cézanne (who was also concerned with solid and permanent qualities in painting). He now began to take a closer interest in Ingres. A harder, linear manner resulted, as in The Umbrellas (1884; National Gallery, London) and The Bathers.
Severely affected by arthritis from 1902, Renoir continued to paint, and in 1913, though entirely crippled, he guided assistants in the production of sculpture, for example Venus Victrix (1914; Tate Gallery, London). Many of his sculptures are monumental female nudes not unlike those of Aristide Maillol.
In 1990 Renoir's Au Moulin de La Galette was sold for $78.1 million.
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