Renoir, Pierre-August (1841–1919) By Spencer, Jeremy
Pierre-August Renoir was a French painter and sculptor involved in the formation of Impressionism. As a pupil of the Swiss academic painter Charles Gleyre (1806–1874), whose studio he attended from 1861, Renoir met and befriended Claude Monet (1841–1926), Alfred Sisley (1839–1899), and Frédéric Bazille (1841–1870), pivotal members of the original impressionist movement. In April 1862, at the age of twenty-one, he passed the examination to attend the Ecole Impériale et Spéciale des Beaux-Arts. In the summer of 1869, Renoir painted with Monet at La Grenouillère. The resulting pictures of Parisian leisure, painted outside in front of distinctly modern scenes, were decisive in Impressionism’s development. Although he met the artists who would become known as the Impressionists in 1861, he would not exhibit with them until 1874, when the first impressionist exhibition was held in Paris. Renoir showed a large number of paintings in the first three exhibitions of the Impressionists. Throughout the 1870s, Renoir gained popularity with critics and secured the patronage of art dealers. Because of his disillusionment with the movement, Renoir chose not to exhibit at the final impressionist exhibition in 1887. His later works adopted more classical themes through a return to the nude, rejecting the ‘modern life’ subjects of Impressionism.