RENOIR: The Man, The Painter and His World by Lawrence & Elizabeth Hanson

RENOIR: The Man, The Painter and His World

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The formidable list of biographies by this writing pair has been growled at by the more scholarly, agreeably received by more popular media. Certainly the Hansons are capable fact-finders and they have the confidence, if not the scholarship, for a consistent view of the artists under consideration. They do, also, make sporadic efforts to separate fact from myth. In this life of Renoir, they look askance at the tale that Renoir was pushed by the composer Gounod toward a singing career; three versions are given of the story of Renoir's narrow escape from capture (or death) during the Paris Insurrection. The painter's early struggles, friendships, final acceptance, do not contain that many startling, moments, but the climate of rebellion in which he worked--with Monet, Pissaro, Sisley, and ""all those others"" alternately approaching hopefully and damning the Salon--provided the wider scope for the genial, likable artist. Never happier than when painting, Renoir searched for the brilliance of light on flesh--illuminating the female figure he loved. Scraps of conversation, letters, reviews, along with the persistent reconstruction of events, filter through some clues to a man I who remained buoyant and courageous into a crippling old age. An external rather than internal view, but helpful, perhaps, as a preliminary to the charming Renoir, My Father (1962) by his son Jean.

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 1968
Publisher: Dodd, Mead