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COLLECTION HIGHLIGHTS

Pierre-Auguste RENOIR

Limoges, France, 1841–Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, 1919

Renoir moved to Paris with his family at about the age of four. His family was poor, and the young Renoir contributed to its livelihood by painting designs on porcelain. While studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris and the studio of the Academic painter Charles Gleyre, he became close friends with Monet, Sisley, and Bazille. The paintings of people enjoying themselves at La Grenouillère on the lower Seine that Renoir and Monet produced in 1869 marked the birth of Impressionism. Renoir participated in the first Impressionist Exhibition, organized by the Batignolles Group, who were influenced by Manet, in 1874 and enthusiastically participated in the second (1876) and third (1877) as well. While continuing with Monet to explore the effects of light and air when painting landscapes en plein air, he was also among the Impressionists who were, from early on, interested in life in the city. Early in the 1880s, he traveled to Algeria and Italy. Following that trip, he studied the classical paintings of Ingres and Raphael. It was about then that he married Aline Victorine Charigot, with whom he had three children. In his last years, he lived in Paris and Cagnes-sur-Mer, producing many voluptuous nudes and other paintings of women.
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR Mlle Georgette Charpentier Seated 1876, Oil on canvas
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR
Mlle Georgette Charpentier Seated
1876, Oil on canvas

A girl wearing a blue dress and matching socks is seated on a large chair. The blue that dominates this painting is used in the shading around the girl’s eyes, her hair, and the carpet on the floor. Her pose, with her legs crossed, suggests a rather precocious little girl; Renoir used the same pose in a painting of a nude late in his career. The model for this work, which was shown in the third Impressionist exhibition, in 1877, was the eldest daughter, then four years old, of Renoir’s patron, the publisher Georges Charpentier. Charpentier, who had achieved a great success through publishing the novels of Zola and Maupassant, hosted a salon for artists and politicians in his home. Renoir, like Pissarro and Monet, painted landscapes en plein air, but his range of interests also included paintings of the human figure and genre scenes.
Impressionism and related trends