Indefatigable Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Day 210 of Colourisation Project – December 3

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

One of the leading exponents of the French Impressionist movement of the second half of the nineteenth century, Pierre Auguste Renoir died this day, December 3, 1919, in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France.

Renoir, Pierre-Auguste Bef & Aft

Photographer: Dornac – Pierre-Auguste Renoir c 1910 – Coloured by Loredana Crupi

After years as a struggling painter, he eventually became one of the most highly regarded artists of his time. His early works were typically Impressionist snapshots of life, full of vibrant colour and light. By the mid-1880s, however, he had broken with the movement to apply a more disciplined, formal technique to portraits and figure paintings, particularly of women.

A collaborative exhibition in Paris in 1874 with his friends, Pissarro, Monet, Cézanne and Degas, became known as the first Impressionist exhibition. A critical review of their show, in which their works were described as ‘impressions’ rather than finished paintings saw the movement adopting the name, “Impressionist”. Renoir evolved a distinctive technique of broken brushstrokes and bold complementary colours, to harness light and movement.

The final decades of his life proved to be among his most productive. In 1913, at the age of 72, Renoir claimed, “I’m starting to know how to paint. It has taken me over fifty years’ work to get this far and it’s not finished yet.”

Renoir continued painting up to the end of his life, despite suffering from crippling rheumatoid arthritis and being confined to a wheelchair, at which point he was then painting with the brush tied to his wrists.

Renoir died at the age of 78 but lived long enough to see one of his works bought by the Louvre in 1919, a high distinction for any artist. A prolific and indefatigable artist, he created several thousand paintings in his life-time creating a legacy which has served as an inspiration to other influential artists such as Matisse and Picasso and the younger generation of artists today.

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“I never think I have finished a nude until I think I could pinch it.”  –  Pierre Auguste Renoir

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