Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: One of the major French Impressionists, Renoir painted in the open air, handling the paint loosely, dissolving masses, and abandoning local colors. He differed, however, from most of the other Impressionists in his concentration on the human figure and in his strong interest in portraiture.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s father Léonard, a poor painter, moved his family from Limoges to Paris in 1845, when the painter-to-be was four years old. There the young Renoir, who displayed talent for music as well as for drawing, was enrolled in the choir school of the parish church of Saint-Roch. His elder sister Lisa first exposed him to painting at the age of nine by taking him to the Louvre. He would doodle in his exercise books in school, and he was later encouraged in art by Lisa’s fiancé, the illustrator Charles Leray. At the age of thirteen, Renoir was apprenticed to the Lévy Frères firm of porcelain painters, for whom he painted decorative bouquets on dishware in an eighteenth century style. During his lunch periods, he hurried to the Louvre, where he practiced his drawing; later, in 1860, he was given official permission to copy there. After losing his job in the porcelain atelier in 1858, when the firm went bankrupt, he painted fans for a living, copying on them pictures of the rococo artists François Boucher, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Nicolas Lancret, and Antoine Watteau. The sense of joy...
(The entire section is 1996 words.)
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