Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Born 1841. Died 1919.
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Works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir at Sotheby's

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir Biography

An early leader of the Impressionist movement, Pierre-Auguste Renoir used small, multicolored strokes to evoke the vibrations of colour and light in iconic works such as Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette, from 1876, and Madame Charpentier and Her Children, from 1878. Trips to Algeria, Italy and the South of France in the early 1880s led the painter to break from Impressionism, however, and to reflect his new appreciation of classicism’s emphasis on volume, form and line and of the Mediterranean’s colours and sensuality in such ravishing works as Reclining Nude, 1883, and The Braid (Suzanne Valadon), 1884–86.

Born in Limoges, France, on February 25, 1841, Renoir discovered his talent for – and pleasure in – painting while apprenticed at a Paris porcelain factory at age 13. Later, while taking classes at the École des Beaux-Arts and the studio of painter Charles Gleyre, he met Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet and Frédéric Bazille who, like him, envisioned an art that was closer to real life. While the reception to their first Impressionist Salon in 1874 was mixed, Renoir’s career was launched thanks to commissions from his first great patron, publisher Georges Charpentier, and his circle of friends. As his fame grew, Renoir married his longtime partner, Aline Charigot, in 1890, and settled in the small village of Cagnes-sur-Mer in 1907. Continuing to paint and sculpt despite the debilitating effects of rheumatism and a stroke, Renoir died at home on 3 December 1919.

A prolific artist, Renoir is represented in numerous museums including the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Courtauld Gallery, London; Musée d’Orsay, Paris, among many others.

According to Sotheby’s Mei Moses, the average compound annual return for Renoir resold at auction between 2003 and 2017 was 5.0% and 75.6% of 295 such works increased in value.

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