Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919) was one of the founders of Impressionism and a friend of Monet, Pissarro and Sisley. He worked side-by-side with Monet on the banks of the Seine, sharing his concern with light and color, but landscape painting never displaced his enduring love of figure painting. A natural heir to the delicacy of Boucher, Watteau and Fragonard. Delighting in the ample curves of the nudes he painted increasingly frequently in his later years, Renoir was also a master at capturing the spirit of Parisian life. His art is filled with optimism –his lifelong philosophy was that he painted because it gave him pleasure, and he shares that pleasure with those who see his work. It is almost always summer in his pictures, and in paintings like Moulin de la Galette, The Dance at Bougival and The Luncheon of the Boating Party, he gives us an enduring record of contemporaries relaxing and enjoying their leisure.
In this expanded version of William Gaunt’s illuminating essay on Renoir (first published in 1962), Kathleen Adler has added notes to the plates and a wealth of black-and-white comparative illustrations, to make this the perfect introduction to the life and work of an extraordinary artist.
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