print header

About Renoir

Pierre Auguste Renoir was born in Limoges, France on 25 February, 1841 and came from a working class family. He started his painting career as a porcelain painter's apprentice, but stopped when machines were replacing hand labor and making it less profitable.

When Renoir started out painting he roomed with other prominent impressionist painters, such as Frederic Bazille and Claude Monet, whom he often worked with. The impressionist painters formed a tight group, with nearly all of them knowing each other. Renoir knew Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, and Edouard Manet, among others.

Renoir met Aline Charigot, known as Madame Renoir in Stewart Conn's poems, around 1880. She was a dressmaker who modeled for a number of Renoir's paintings. She even accompanied him on a trip to Italy during the summer of 1880. It was around that time that Renoir began painting Luncheon of the Boating Party on the French island Chatou. He completed it in 1881, and it sold right away because it was a very impressive work considering its size and the number of figures. Ernest Balensi, a banker, bought it first and resold it to Paul Durard-Ruel, who bought a great number of Renoir's paintings throughout Renoir's career.

Renoir suffered from rheumatism the last 20 years of his life, which permanently confined him to a wheelchair in 1911. However, he continued painting because it was his life. He would strap the paintbrush to his wrist and make the strokes for which he is now so famous for. He died on 3 December 1919 at Cagnes, where he had built a house in the pure air to help his health.