Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919) is celebrated as a prominent leader of the Impressionist circle, best known for his radiant paintings of French leisure scenes. Renoir was born in Limoges, France, and early in his life worked as an apprentice to a porcelain painter, before studying at the École des Beaux-Arts. In 1864, Renoir met fellow artists Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley while working in the Atelier Gleyer. Throughout the 1860s he painted conservative, finished works for submission to the Paris Salons, in addition to working privately on more loosely painted works. The attention to light, saturated color, and the quick, gestural brushstrokes characteristic of Impressionism are fully evident in the landmark series of landscapes that Renoir worked on, alongside Monet in the late 1860s at La Grenouillière on the Seine.

In the early 1870s Renoir moved to the center of Paris, painting scenes of modern city life for the next decade. Among them are some of his most iconic works, such as Le Moulin de la Galette, painted with rich color, loose applications of paint, and an overwhelmingly luminous quality. He participated in the first and second Impressionist exhibitions in 1874 and 1876, which received several harsh critical reviews but achieved the goal of providing a legitimate challenge to the dominance of the Salon exhibitions. In the next decade he distanced himself from the group, painting tighter, more finished compositions, inspired by the classical art he viewed on a trip to Italy; critically, these works are considered some of his weakest, and by the 1890s Renoir reverted to the broad, loose brushstrokes, warm colors, and sensual figures he was best known for.

Towards the end of his life he suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, making it increasingly difficult for him to keep working; he was known for painting many of his last works with a brush tied to his hand. At this time Renoir’s work became celebrated among the most important French art of the 19th century, and he lived to see one of his portraits hung in the Louvre in 1919; he died the same year in Cagnes-sur-mer. His work is in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, and the Tate Gallery in London.

Timeline

1841
Born: in Limoges, France
1854
Began apprenticeship as a porcelain painter at Levy frères
1860
Gained permission to copy in the Louvre
1861
Attended the studio of Swiss teacher Marc-Gabriel-Charles Gleye
1862
Enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in the studio of Charles Gleyre, where he met artists such as Claude Monet, Alfred Sisely, and Jean Frederic Bazille
1866–1867
Rejected by the Salons
1869
Renoir and Monet worked together to produce landscape paintings in the Impressionist style
1870–1877
Began to exhibit with a group of Impressionists and experienced a period of heavy criticism followed by successful participation in the official Salons
1878
Accepted to the Salon and shows four works there in 1879
1880
Concentrated on painting the female figure and became widely known for his paintings of voluptuous nudes adorned with jewels and trinkets
1912
Enjoyed tremendous success as a ranking officer of the Legion of Honor and widely sold painter; exhibited in four solo shows and seven group shows in this year alone
1919
Died: in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France

Exhibitions

2010–2011
Passion for Renoir. The Collection of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain (solo)
Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA;National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia; The National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan
2010
Renoir - Tradition and Innovation - NMAO National Museum of Art Osaka, Osaka, Japan; The National Art Center Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Late Renoir, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA (solo); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
Masterpieces from the Pola Museum of Art: Impressionists and Ecole de Paris, The Pola Museum of Art, in Sengokuhara, Japan
2009–2010
Renoir au XXe siècle, Galeries nationales, Grand Palais, Paris, France (solo)
2008
Renoir as Printmaker, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA (solo)
2007–2008
Renoir Landscapes, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; National Gallery of Canada - Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa, ON (solo)
2007
Renoir Landscapes 1865-1883, The National Gallery, London, UK (solo)
2003
Journey Through Impressionism, Contessa Gallery, Cleveland, OH (solo)
2001
Renoir: From Outsider to Old Master, 1870-1892, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1998
Renoir's Portraits, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX (solo)
1997
Renoir Portraits: Impressions of an Age, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (solo)
Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age, National Gallery of Canada - Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa, ON (solo)
1985
Renoir, MFA - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, MA (solo)
Renoir, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, France (solo)
Renoir, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (solo)
1975
Auguste Renoir, Graphic Work, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI (solo)
1973
Paintings by Renoir, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (solo)
1883
Durand-Ruel Gallery, Paris, France (solo)

Public Collections

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium
Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand - MASP, São Paulo, Brazil
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Lyon, France
Musée National de l´Orangerie, Paris, France
Musée d´Orsay, Paris, France
Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany
Museum of Fine Arts - Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel
Hiroshima Museum of Art, Hiroshima, Japan
NMWA The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan
The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Denmark
Tate Britain, London, UK
Tate Modern, London, UK
The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
MFA - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, MA
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
MFAH - Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TX
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, NY
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY
MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC