Thursday, August 16, 2012

Renoir, Pierre-Auguste

Tilla Durieux
oil on canvas
92.1 × 73.7 cm (36 1/4 x 29 in.)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

Tilla Durieux (1880 - 1971) was a renowned Austrian actress of the first decades of the 20th century. After World War II in the western Federal Republic of Germany, she played in numerous theater and film roles as well as on television and radio shows. For these roles she received many awards. In addition, she was inducted into the German Academy of Performing Arts as an honorary member and was named State Actress. Beside her work as an actress, she composed a number of literary works, including novel and drama.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 - 1919) was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. 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.

In 1854 he began work as a painter in a porcelain factory in Paris, gaining experience with the light, fresh colors that were to distinguish his Impressionist work and also learning the importance of good craftsmanship. His early works were typically Impressionist snapshots of real life, full of sparkling color and light. By the mid-1880s, however, he had broken with the Impressionist movement to apply a more disciplined, formal technique to portraits and figure paintings, particularly of women.

He is perhaps the best-loved of all the Impressionists, for his subjects - pretty children, flowers, beautiful scenes, above all lovely women - have instant appeal. His paintings present a vision of a forgotten world, full of sparkling color and light. Renoir was so passionate about painting that he even continued when he was old and suffering from severe arthritis. He then painted with the brush tied to his wrists. Renoir died in the village of Cagnes-sur-Mer, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur on 3 December 1919 and was buried in Essoyes, next to his wife Aline. "The pain passes, but the beauty remains." "Why shouldn't art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world." (Renoir)