Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir believed, “A picture must be an amicable thing, joyous and pretty. There are enough troublesome things in life without inventing others.”

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born in Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France, the child of a working class family. As a boy, he worked in a porcelain factory where his drawing talents led to him being chosen to paint designs on fine china. He also painted hangings for overseas missionaries and decorations on fans before he enrolled in art school. During those early years, he often visited the Louvre to study the French master painters.

In 1862 he began studying art under Charles Gleyre in Paris. There he met Alfred Sisley, Frederic Bazille, and Claude Monet. At times during the 1860s, he did not have enough money to buy paint. Although Renoir first exhibited paintings in 1864, recognition did not come for another ten years

One of the best known Impressionist works is Renoir's 1876 Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (Le Bal au Moulin de la Galette), is displayed above. The painting depicts an open-air scene, crowded with people, at a popular dance garden on the Butte Montmartre close to where he lived.

The windmill in Montmartre, Paris, converted into an open-air dance hall and known as ‘la Galette’ after a kind of cake served there, was a popular weekend venue for working-class people, students and artists.

Renoir was fascinated by the play of light on dancing couples moving in different lights, he accorded special attention to the eyes of the dancing women. In Le Moulin de la Gallete the three women dancing in the centre have the only clear frontal faces among the entire dancing throng, they stand out against their partners. One of those men turns away, another is in profile, and a third, shown frontally, is a sketchy blur.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
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