Paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), part of the original circle of young painters which became known as the Impressionists, was known for setting his paintings in beer gardens, public parks, and at the opera, capturing the spirit and sophistication of urban entertainment. His 1874 painting La Loge, which portrayed a glamorous couple in a box at the opera, was part of the first exhibition that helped launch the nascent Impressionist movement.

Throughout his career Renoir would find success in both the official Salon of the day and with the Impressionist exhibitions. His portraits brought him a steady and substantial income, allowing him to pursue his rising interest in painting the female figure in contemporary guise as seen in Young Girls at the Piano. Though Pierre-Auguste Renoir didn't participate in all of the Impressionists' shows, for the public his colorful, spontaneous approaches defined a "classic" idea of Impressionism.

Below you will find links to some of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's paintings. Click them to learn about this Impressionist master.

  • La Loge: Pierre-Auguste Renoir's depiction of a fashionable couple at the opera demonstrates Renoir's interest in the modern-life subject. Read about La Loge by Renoir.
  • Lise with a Parasol: Renoir's work Lise with a Parasol was commended by the critics for its modernity. Learn about Pierre-Auguste Renoir's 1867 painting Lise with a Parasol.
  • Portrait of Frédéric Bazille Painting The Heron with Wings Unfolded: Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Frédéric Bazille both served in the military during the Franco-Prussian War. Learn about Renoir's portrait of his friend and fellow painter.
  • The Garden in the rue Cortot, Montmartre: Renoir's The Garden in the rue Cortot, Montmartre features fellow Impressionists Afred Sisley and Claude Monet in the background. Find out about The Garden in the rue Cortot, Montmartre, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
  • The Ball at the Moulin de la Galette: The Ball at the Moulin de la Galette is one of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's most famous paintings, capturing the spirit of the age. Read about The Ball at the Moulin de la Galette, which was painted in 1876.
  • The Luncheon of the Boating Party: Pierre-Auguste Renoir's future wife appears in his 1880-1881 painting The Luncheon of the Boating Party. Learn about this well-known painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
  • Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando (Francisca and Angelina Wartenburg): Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando was one of 27 paintings Pierre-Auguste Renoir submitted to the Impressionists' seventh exhibition. Read about this painting, which features two daughters of a circus owner.
  • Two Sisters (On the Terrace): This 1881 painting is another example of Renoir's brilliant use of color. Learn about Two Sisters (On the Terrace).
  • Young Girls at the Piano: Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Young Girls at the Piano reflects the artist's long-held interest in the amusements of the middle class. Learn about Young Girls at the Piano, which Renoir painted in 1892.

On the next page, we'll look at a painting that represents Renoir's -- and the Impressionists' -- interest in contemporary urban life.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

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La Loge by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

La Loge by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (oil on canvas,                              31-1/2x25 inches) is housed at the Courtland                                            Institute Gallery in London.
La Loge by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (oil on canvas, 31-1/2x25 inches) is housed at the Courtland Institute Gallery in London.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's 1874 painting La Loge is a fine example of artists such as Renoir and Edgar Degas pursuing the modern-life subject by portraying the night life of Paris. Here Pierre-Auguste Renoir presents a fashionable couple at the opera. In La Loge, the woman's accessories -- fresh flowers pinned to her dress, a painted fan, and gold opera glasses -- as well as the man looking through his glasses at an audience member in a balcony above reveals Renoir's sharp eye for contemporary detail.

In paintings such as La Loge, and the next one we'll see, Renoir made a name for himself as a chronicler of modern times.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

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Lise with a Parasol by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Lise with a Parasol                              (oil on canvas, 72-1/2x45-1/4 inches)                                            hangs in the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Lise with a Parasol (oil on canvas, 72-1/2x45-1/4 inches) hangs in the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany.

Completed in 1867, Lise with a Parasol by Pierre-Auguste Renoir depicts Lise Trehot in the natural setting of a public park. She appears to be on a summer stroll, enjoying the shade of the leafy trees and her parasol. Art critic Émile Zola saw Lise with a Parasol at the official Salon and praised its modernity because Renoir blended elements of fashion and pleasure in the distinctive style of the times.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir often used friends as his subjects. Next, we'll see another portrait of an acquaintance.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

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Portrait of Frederic Bazille Painting The Heron with Wings Unfurled by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Portrait of Frédéric Bazille Painting The Heron with                              Wings Unfurled by Pierre-Auguste Renoir                                            (41-3/8x29 inches) is found in the                                            Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
Portrait of Frédéric Bazille Painting The Heron with Wings Unfurled by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (41-3/8x29 inches) is found in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

Portrait of Frédéric Bazille Painting The Heron with Wings Unfurled by Pierre-Auguste Renoir was completed in 1867, several years before the first Impressionist exhibition.

In 1862 Frédéric Bazille enrolled in the studio run by Charles Gleyre. Along with his studio mates Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley, Pierre-Auguste Renoir embraced the newest directions in contemporary art: the realism of Edouard Manet and Gustave Courbet and the naturalism of plein air painting advocated by the Barbizon School. Over the years the aspiring painters shared several studios, bouncing ideas off one another and giving each other encouragement. In the background of Portrait of Frédéric Bazille Painting The Heron with Wings Unfurled, Renoir has replicated a snow scene by Claude Monet.

For another appearance by Claude Monet in the background of one of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's works, see the next page.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

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The Garden in the rue Cortot, Montmartre by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's The Garden in the rue Cortot, Montmartre, painted in 1874, resulted from a brief time when Renoir rented a studio in Montmartre. He chose it for its location near the Moulin de la Galette, where he was painting a scene of customers enjoying a warm afternoon in the beer garden. The studio also had a neglected garden, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted its profusion of flowering dahlias with pure, bright dabs of pigment. Although the features of the men in the background of The Garden in the rue Cortot, Montmartre are indistinct, they are believed to be Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley.

Montmartre was a productive place for Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Keep reading to learn about another Impressionist painting set in this town.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

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The Ball at the Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

The Ball at the Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (oil on canvas, 51-1/2x69 inches) hangs in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
The Ball at the Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (oil on canvas, 51-1/2x69 inches) hangs in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's 1876 painting The Ball at the Moulin de la Galette is set in the northern outskirts of Paris, where the hilly district of Montmartre remained partly rural through the later decades of the 19th century. Old windmills dotted the landscape, and the Moulin de la Galette, a lively beer garden, attracted young clientele. In The Ball at the Moulin de la Galette's view of the café, Pierre-Auguste Renoir expresses the sensuous pleasure of drinking, dancing, and flirtation in the open air, with sunlight filtering through the trees on a warm summer day.

In paintings such as The Ball at the Moulin de Galette, Renoir established himself as a master of color. On the next page we'll find another example of this brilliant use of color.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

The Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's The Luncheon of the                              Boating Party (oil on canvas, 51x68 inches)                                            is part of the Phillips Collections in Washington, D.C.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir's The Luncheon of the Boating Party (oil on canvas, 51x68 inches) is part of the Phillips Collections in Washington, D.C.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's The Luncheon of the Boating Party, painted during the years 1880-1881, uses costume, color, and setting to convey the pleasures of a sunny afternoon among friends. Renoir's palette has a golden glow; for instance, the women's fair skin flushes in the warmth of the sun. The straw hats and bare arms of some members of the party signal the rising heat. Renoir set The Luncheon of the Boating Party at an establishment he knew well -- the upper terrace of the Restaurant Fournaise -- and he portrayed his friends and his future wife (in the lefthand corner) among the company.

In the next painting, we'll see Pierre-Auguste Renoir cover a subject that was a favorite of the Impressionists.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

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Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando (Francisca and Angelina Wartenburg) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

­Pierre-Auguste Renoir's 1879 painting Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando (Francisca and Angelina Wartenburg) marked Renoir's return to the Impressionist fold. After withholding his works from the Impressionist exhibitions since the third exhibition of 1877, Renoir submitted 27 works to the seventh exhibition. In Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando (Francisca and Angelina Wartenburg), Pierre-Auguste Renoir presents a sentimental anecdote as well as a subject from modern life. The girls have been identified as Francesca and Angelina Wartenberg, who juggled and performed gymnastics in their father's circus.

Continue reading to learn more about the paintings Pierre-Auguste Renoir submitted to the seventh Impressionist exhibition.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

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Two Sisters (On the Terrace) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Two Sisters (On the Terrace) by Pierre-Auguste                              Renoir (oil on canvas, 39-9/16x37-/8 inches) is                                            housed at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Two Sisters (On the Terrace) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (oil on canvas, 39-9/16x37-/8 inches) is housed at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The 1881 Pierre-Auguste Renoir work Two Sisters (On the Terrace), like The Luncheon of the Boating Party (1880-81), is set on the upper terrace of the Restaurant Fournaise. However, the time of the year is spring. The flowering plants and vines behind the terrace rail have just come into bloom, and in the distance Renoir's full cumulus clouds appear as bluish, glistening reflections on the river. The sitters in Two Sisters (On the Terrace), who in fact were not related, wear bright, strong colors in front of the more delicate palette of foliage and flowers.

The subject of young women was one Renoir returned to repeatedly. On the next page we'll see another example of this.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

Young Girls at the Piano by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Young Girls at the Piano by Pierre-Auguste Renoir                              (oil on canvas, 45-5/8x35-3/8 inches)                                            resides in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
Young Girls at the Piano by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (oil on canvas, 45-5/8x35-3/8 inches) resides in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's 1892 work, Young Girls at the Piano, demonstrated the continued interest by Renoir in the subject of middle-class entertainment. In Young Girls at the Piano, Pierre-Auguste Renoir has portrayed two young women involved in making music. This was a popular and highly respectable leisure activity for young women and, like the cozy, well-appointed interior, reflects a well-bred and comfortable bourgeois atmosphere.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Debra N. Mancoff is an art historian and lecturer and the author of numerous books on nineteenth-century European and American paintings. She is a scholar in residence at the Newberry Library.