Pierre-Auguste Renoir

French (1841 - 1919)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir A Woman Nursing a Child 1893 - 1894


Born 1841
Died 1919
Nationality French
Birth place Limoges
Death place Cagnes-sur-Mer

Renoir was one of the leading Impressionist painters. He initially trained as a porcelain painter in Paris, but by 1858 he had dedicated himself to a career as an artist. He studied the masterpieces in the Louvre, and particularly admired Boucher. In the early 1860s he entered Charles Gleyre's studio, where he met Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, and subsequently formed friendships with Camille Pissaro and Paul Cézanne. Renoir believed art did not have to tell a story, and through his encounters with the other artists, his brushwork became more broken and his palette lightened. Renoir mainly painted figures and his portraits were acclaimed at the Paris Salon. As a result of his visit to Italy in 1881 his work became more linear, using classic forms painted with great luminosity.

Glossary terms

  • A French expression meaning ‘in the open air’. It refers to the practice of painting a complete picture outside as apposed to a creating a preparatory sketch or study. The technique was developed during the mid 1800’s by Constable in Britain, in France by the Barbizon School painters such as Courbet and Corot and later by the Impressionist painters including Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Artists using the technique sought to capture the essence of natural light. In the second half of the nineteenth century the technique spread throughout much of Europe and into America.

  • An influential style of painting that originated in France in the 1870s with artists such as Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir and Alfred Sisley. They were interested in capturing the changing effects of light, frequently exploring this through landscape scenes painted in the open air.