Pierre-Auguste Renoir biography

Pierre-Augoste Renoir's father Leonard "Raynouard", was a tailor from Limoges who had moved to Paris in 1844 with his family. Renoir's mother, Marguerite was a dressmaker and Pierre Augoste, born on 25th February 1841, was the sixth of seven children, two of whom died in infancy. At the age of fourteen Renoir was apprenticed in the traditional way to M. Levy, a porcelain-painter.

To improve his skill he also studied drawing at a free school and when levy's firm could no longer compete with the machine produced porcelaine-ware taking over the market and clossed down in 1858, Renoir then painted fans for his brother, Henry, copying the work of Watteau, Lancret, Boucher and Fragonard, and blinds for a M. Gilbert until he entered Charles Gleyre's atelier in 1861. An year later he met Monet, Bazille, and Sisley there. His capacity for self-improvement was formidable, and in 1862 he won a place at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts where he studied as a pupil of Gleyre's until 1864. He had also gained permission to copy in the Louvre and the Cabinet d'Estampes.

With the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in July 1870, Renoir joined the Tenth Cavalry Regiment and was posted to Libourne in teh Bordeaux region. The re he succumbed to a sever attact of dysentery and was rescued by his uncle who took him to the town of Bordeaux to recuperate. By the enf of February 1871 he was back with his regiment.

By the time in April when he had been demobilized and returned to Paris, the Commune was in power and the city was under siege. Nothing could stop him painting though, and he obtained a pass from the Prefect of Police and was able to leave Paris on painting expeditions and to visit his parents in Louveciennes.

His interest in the female form had taken a new turn in 1885 when his mistres, Aline Charigot, bore ehis first son Pierre. In 1902 Renoir and Aline moved to the south of France where the warm climate eased the severe arthritis which was making it dificult for him to paint, and the nerve in is right eye was particulary atrophied.

Aline died in 1915 of a heart attack and arenoir died on Łth December 1919 and was buried next to her in Essoyes. In 1900 he had been made a Knight of the "Legion d'Honneur" and in the last years of his life, he become a Commander of the "Legion D'Honneur" a triumphant honour for a humble "ouvrier de la peinture".