(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.