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Pierre Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 - 1919) - "Les Collettes" - oil on canvas, 1906, 20 x 28 cm

Pierre-Auguste Renoir  was a French painter. He was one of the leading representatives of the Impressionist style. In 1862 he began studying art with Charles Gleyr in Paris. There he met Alfred Sisley, Frédéric Bazille and Claude Monet. Renoir was inspired by the style and subjects of earlier modern painters Camillo Pissarro and Édouard Manet. After a series of rejections by the Salon juries, he joined forces with Monet, Sisley, Pissarro and several other artists and in April 1874 organized the first Impressionist exhibition.

In 1881 he traveled to Algeria, a country he associated with Eugène Delacroix, and then to Madrid to view the work of Diego Velázquez. This was followed by a trip to Italy to view Titian's masterpieces in Florence and Raphael's paintings in Rome, which subsequently influenced his work. In 1883, Renoir spent the summer on Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands with its diverse landscape of beaches, cliffs and bays, where he produced fifteen paintings in just over a month. Renoir's paintings are characterized by brilliant light and rich colors, most often focusing on people in intimate and candid compositions. One of his main subjects was the female nude. In a characteristic Impressionist style, Renoir indicated the details of the scene with loosely applied brushstrokes of color, so that his figures blended gently with each other and with the surroundings. The influence of the colorism of Eugène Delacroix and the luminosity of Camillo Corot is evident in his first paintings. He also admired the realism of Gustave Courbet and Édouard Manet, and his early works resemble them in their use of black. Renoir admired Edgar Degas' sense of movement. Other painters whom Renoir greatly admired were the 18th-century masters François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard.

In the late 1860s, through the practice of painting light and water en plein air with his friend Claude Monet, he discovered that the color of shadows is not brown or black, but the reflected color of surrounding objects, which is now known as diffuse reflection. For the next few years, he painted in a stricter style in an attempt to return to classicism. After 1890 he changed direction again.

In order to dissolve the contours, he returned, as in his earlier works, to paint applied thinly with a brush. From this period he concentrated on monumental acts and domestic scenes. A prolific artist, he created several thousand paintings. The warm sensuality of Renoir's style has made his paintings some of the most famous and most reproduced works in the history of art. Renoir died on December 3, 1919 in Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Works: Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette and The Swing, painting Madame Charpentier and her children, Dance at the Bougival, Le Déjeuner des canotiers, Dance at the Moulin de la Galette, Diana (1867), Girls at the Piano (1892), Moulin Huet, bay at Saint Martin in Guernsey, Grandes Baigneuses (1887).

Exhibitions at Knupp gallery

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