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  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
    Feb 25, 1841 – Dec 3, 1919
  • Sailboats at Argenteuil - Pierre-Auguste Renoir 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", he was noted for his radiant, intimate paintings, particularly of the female nude.
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Sailboats at Argenteuil
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  • Sailboats at Argenteuil

  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
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  • 1874
    Oil on canvas
    Portland Art Museum - Oregon, United States.

    The quaint river-town of Argenteuil, on the banks of the Seine River, is a quick fifteen-minute train ride from the center of Paris. During the 1870s and 1880s Argenteuil became an important source of inspiration for the impressionist artists, who immortalized its river views, bridges, streets, and gardens in their paintings—setting it apart from neighboring villages. One of the foremost “myths” about Renoir and his work is that he was primarily known for his paintings of human figures—often well-endowed women, and thus contributed very little to plein-air landscape painting. The Seine at Argenteuil, painted in the summer of 1874, clearly dispels any doubt that Renoir was as accomplished a landscape painter as Monet, Sisley, or Pissarro, achieving an utterly personal style. Interestingly, Renoir painted this work alongside his friend Claude Monet, whose painting of the same scene, Sailboats at Argenteuil, 1874, is in a private collection in Switzerland.

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Other paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir:

Little Girl in a White Apron
Little Girl in a White Apron
Flowers and Fruit
Flowers and Fruit
Girl in a Lace Hat
Girl in a Lace Hat
Algiers, the Garden of Essai
Algiers, the Garden of Essai
Pierre-Auguste RenoirBorn in Limoges, Renoir moved to Paris and began his career as an apprentice painter in a porcelain manufacturing plant. His formal studies began at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1862 and continued at Gleyre's studio where he painted with fellow Impressionists, Sisley and Monet. Renoir's early paintings demonstrate his love of 18th Century French painting as well as the influence of Courbet and Delacroix.

The artist's portraits of women, often engaged in mundane daily activities, demonstrate his skill as a colorist. Working on a small scale, the artist used the subtleties of light and color to model his subjects. In the first years of the 20th Century, Renoir, encumbered by the effects of rheumatism, retreated to his home in the south of France where he increasingly turned to painting a favored subject: the female nude. These sensitive renderings, widely regarded as among the artist's finest works, represent a stylistic departure from Renoir's earlier paintings, evoking the nudes of the classical world.