Born 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.