RENOIR, MY FATHER by Jean Renoir
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This is an immensely readable biography of Pierre Auguste Renoir by his film producer son. Based on conversations which the author had with his father during the year or so before his death in 1919 the book describes and quotes with characteristic gusto the artist's day-to-day thoughts, feelings and reactions, at the same time giving the political and artistic background of nineteenth century Paris against which Renoir and his fellow Impressionists struggled for recognition. By the time he was twenty, Renoir had dedicated himself to art -- taking lessons at the Atelier Gleyre and sharing lodgings with Monet -- having turned down composer Gounod's offer of a musical education (he had a fine baritone voice), and having spent several years as an apprentice porcelain painter. A happy marriage with Aline Charigot when Renoir was forty created an atmosphere in which he felt free to paint with exuberant vitality the buxom healthy women he liked to to portray, his family, nature and flowers. Little known aspects of the popular artist's life such as his proficiency at training horses during the Franco-Prussian war, are combined in a frank, affectionate portrait of the Impressionist and his period which is unobtrusively informative and anecdotal without recourse to gossip.

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 1962
Publisher: Little, Brown