Today's the birthday of Pierre-Auguste Renoir , born in Limoges, France (1841). He was born into a family of artisans, and might have spent his life decorating plates with bouquets of flowers, but he decided early on that he wanted to be a real painter. He began taking some evening art classes, and it was there that he met a man named Claude Monet, and they began to travel out into the countryside with their canvases, where they were among the first professional painters in the world to paint directly from nature. Since there was no time to sketch out their pictures, they painted directly on the canvas. The result was that their paintings weren't as realistic as previous works. They looked like somewhat blurry memories of the scene rather than the scene itself.
The first exhibition of these Impressionist paintings came in 1874, and they created a stir in the art world, but many art critics thought they were ugly and amateurish. Renoir was one of the first of the painters to get some respect, in part because he preferred painting people to landscapes. He got orders for portraits, which helped him make a living. Renoir ultimately gave up some of the techniques of the Impressionists. His paintings became more solid and less blurry in their effects, and he started using black paint again, which the Impressionists had given up.
In the last period of his life, he began to suffer from rheumatism, which ultimately confined him to a wheel chair. But he never stopped painting. Even after he lost the ability to move his fingers, he just bound the paintbrush to his hands. His late paintings all consist of the people and things around him: portraits of his wife, his children, his maid, and still life paintings of the flowers and fruit from his own garden.Renoir's painting was always beautiful and optimistic! So was his view of life and his painful condition. " The pain passes, but the beauty remains" were his words.
Why shouldn't art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world." (www.renoir.org)