Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 - 1919) as well as Claude Monet and some other famous painters of 19th century was an extraordinary impressionist. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau".
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born in Limoges and brought up in Paris, where his father, a tailor with a large family, settled in 1845. From the age of thirteen he worked as an apprentice painter, painting flowers on porcelain plates. He also painted hangings for overseas missionaries and decorations on fans before he enrolled in art school. This early apprenticeship left a certain trace on his art, which was always decorative in spite of its later realism.
In 1862 he began studying art under Charles Gleyre in Paris. There he met Alfred Sisley, Frédéric Bazille, and Claude Monet. At times during the 1860s, he did not have enough money to buy paint. Although Renoir first started exhibiting paintings at the Paris Salon in 1864, recognition did not come for another ten years, due, in part, to the turmoil of the Franco-Prussian War. During the Paris Commune in 1871, while he painted on the banks of the Seine River, some members of a commune group thought he was a spy, and were about to throw him into the river when a commune leader, Raoul Rigault, recognized Renoir as the man who had protected him on an earlier occasion.
Prior to this, Renoir had met 16 year old Lise Tréhot, whose dark features and rounded figure attracted Renoir. Lise became Renoir's favorite model and mistress, he painted her more than 20 times between 1865 and 1872. In 1872 they separated, Lise married soon after and they were never to see each other again.
In the 1880s, he abandoned Impressionism for what is often called the “dry style”. He began a search for solid form and stable composition, a search, which led him back to the masters of the Renaissance. He worked more carefully and meticulously, his colors became cooler and smoother. He later returned to hot rich colors and free brushwork of his earlier days to portray nudes in sunlight, a style, which he continued to develop to the end of his life.
In 1890 he married Aline Victorine Charigot, who, along with a number of the artist's friends, had already served as a model for Les Déjeuner des canotiers (Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881), and with whom he already had a child, Pierre, in 1885. After his marriage Renoir painted many scenes of his wife and daily family life, including their children and their nurse, Aline's cousin Gabrielle Renard. The Renoirs had three sons, one of whom, Jean, became a filmmaker of note and another, Pierre, became a stage and film actor.
Around 1892, Renoir developed rheumatoid arthritis. In 1907, he moved to the warmer climate of "Les Collettes," a farm at Cagnes-sur-Mer, close to the Mediterranean coast. In 1919, Renoir visited the Louvre to see his paintings hanging with the old masters. He died in the village of Cagnes-sur-Mer, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, on December 3.
Sources: Wikipedia, ABCgallery, Theartgallery