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One of the foremost Impressionist painters, French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir was most notable for his portrayal of the female figure and his tireless pursuit of beauty. Renoir was instrumental in developing the theories and techniques that would give rise to Impressionism and was later a notable influence on modernist artists Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.

‘I like a painting which makes me want to stroll in it, if it is a landscape, or to stroke a breast or back, if it is a figure.’


In the early 1860s, Renoir met a group of artists including Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro who would form the nucleus of the Impressionist group, forging a style of painting freed from past traditions and closer to the modern realities of life. By the early 1870s the Impressionist technique of painting using small colourful brushstrokes was well developed. Renoir travelled to Algeria, Spain and Italy in 1881 and 1882 and began to paint in a grander, simpler style, rejecting the everyday and ephemeral in favour of the timeless, focusing on female nudes in particular.

‘Renoir paints like he breathes. Painting has become for him the act that complements looking.’


Baigneuse Assise, 1913

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Created in 1913, Baigneuse Assise [Seated Bather] belongs to Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s late body of work and serves as a historically valuable link between the artistic traditions of European painting and radical nineteenth-century Impressionism. Rendering a curvaceous nude seated in an interior, executed in harmoniously merging pink tones, the painting exemplifies the artist’s most explored subject matter, the female bather.

Jardin du Peintre à Essoyes, 1909

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Jardin du peintre à Essoyes from 1909 depicts Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s residence in Essoyes, a small town in the Champagne region of France. The painter acquired the house in 1894, the same year that his wife, Aline (née Charigot), gave birth to the couple’s second son, Jean. Leaving Paris indefinitely, the family settled down in Aline’s native town, the warmer climate being kinder to Renoir after he had contracted rheumatoid arthritis in 1892. By 1909, the artist relied on Aline to tie the brush to his fingers to be able to paint. This dreamlike scene depicts three characters

‘One morning, one of us ran out of the black, it was the birth of Impressionism.’