Representative of the reshaping of French society as well as the strong Impressionistic movement in the late nineteenth century, Renoir harnesses the energy in this 1881 portrait of the times. Renoir paints Luncheon of the Boating Party with overlapping figures which projects space on the canvas; while a sense of motion is indicated by the placement and expressions of the figures, he cleverly balances the portrait creating a feeling of intimacy and harmony. This lovely masterpiece will adorn any room it graces with the beautiful vivid color and cheerfulness it transmits. Born to a working class family, Pierre-Auguste Renoir began his artistic apprenticeship painting porcelain at age 13. While he would visit the Louvre to study the French masters during his early years, his formal training began with Swiss artist Charles Gleyre. Unlike many of his fellow Impressionists, the official Salon in Paris occasionally accepted his work for exhibition, beginning in 1864 and continuing through 1870, and once again in 1879. During the period in between, he helped to organize the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, which was a home for those artists rejected by the Salon. It included the paintings of fellow luminaries such as Degas, Cézanne, Pissarro and Renoir's friend and frequent collaborator, Monet. Because they denied traditional rules of academic art, these artists were rejected in the early days of the Impressionistic movement. Their unique perspective toward style went misunderstood for many years until the public finally agreed that Impressionism was a highly innovative and fresh expression of artistic value and vision. More concerned with the overall perception rather than fine details, Impressionists used color and composition as well as other techniques to develop and nurture this new way of painting. Short, abrupt brushstrokes add depth and texture to the overall composition while blurred lines and an accurate depiction of reflective light were the hallmarks of early Impressionism and remain so today. In the late 1860s, Renoir and Monet began working together, traveling around to paint landscapes in popular resort towns and on the busy streets of Paris. While Monet focused on nature, Renoir was fascinated by people, painting his friends and lovers, and often couples or groups in recreational scenes such as dancing or at parties. His expert use of color and light gives his pieces a rich sensuality. In 1880, he met his future wife Aline Victorine Charigot, who in addition to raising their three sons, served as a model for many of his paintings. Renoir's legacy is tied to his vibrant use of light, color, and the intimacy of his portraits. The artist's contribution to art history is immeasurable; his unique perspective, innovation, and determination have made Impressionism a lasting and enduring genre throughout the world.
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