Monday, February 25, 2013
February 25, 1841, is the birthdate of French Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Born in Limoges, France, as a boy he painted designs on fine china, and later studied paintings in the Louvre. During the 1860s, he often could not afford to buy paint. He began exhibiting works at the Paris Salon in 1864, but did not gain fame until 1874, when six of his paintings were hung in the first Impressionist exhibition. Perhaps the best-loved and most prolific Impressionist, Renoir’s works celebrate beauty in subjects that include charming children, lush flowers, delightful social scenes and, above all, feminine sensuality. He suggested detail through soft touches of saturated color, blending figures into their social milieu. Renoir said of art: “Why shouldn't art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.” Pictured: “Luncheon of the Boating Party” (“Le déjeuner des canotiers,” 1881), which includes at least 10 of Renoir’s friends. His future wife is holding the dog.