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Artist Biography
no paintings currently on display by this artist

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Pierre-August Renoir

Renoir was born in Limoges but lived with his family in Paris from 1844. At the age of 13 he was apprenticed to M. Levy, a porcelain painter who perceived and valued his precocious skill. Nevertheless Renoir’s ambition was to become a painter. From 1860 he copied Old Master paintings in the Louvre. He was finally admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts on 1 April 1862. Although there are records of his presence at the Ecole until 1864, it is likely that, following the example of the other young artists he had met at Gleyre’s studio, notably Alfred Sisley, Frédéric Bazille and Monet, he was attracted by the practice of painting en plein air in the forest of Fontainebleau. He joined Monet as one of the founders and leading exponents of Impressionism from the late 1860's, producing some of the movement's most famous images. The First Impressionist Exhibition was held in the spring of 1874. In 1878 he returned to the official Salon, achieving great success there. At the end of the 1880s and during the 1890s he often moved around in search of new motifs—Normandy, Brittany, the outskirts of Paris, Essoyes in Champagne his wife’s village and Provence. He also visited the great museums in Madrid, Dresden, Amsterdam and London which was reflected in his painting by a gradual return to a more fluid technique. By the turn of the century Renoir was an established artist. He accepted the Légion d’honneur in 1900. After 1902 his health declined progressively and from 1912 he was confined by rheumatism to a wheelchair. His illness led him to prolong visits to the south of France, and in 1907 he bought the property of Collettes now a museum at Cagnes-sur-Mer, where he lived until his death.

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