Renoir: An Intimate Biography

Author(s): Barbara Ehrlich White


Expertly researched and beautifully written by the world's leading authority on Auguste Renoir's life and work, Renoir fully reveals this most intriguing of Impressionist artists. The narrative is interspersed with more than 1,000 extracts from letters by, to, and about Renoir, 452 of which come from unpublished letters. Renoir became hugely popular despite great obstacles: thirty years of poverty followed by thirty years of progressive paralysis of his fingers. Despite these hardships, much of his work is optimistic, even joyful. Close friends who contributed money, contacts, and companionship enabled him to overcome these challenges to create more than 4,000 paintings. Renoir had intimate relationships with fellow artists (Caillebotte, Cezanne, Monet, and Morisot), with his dealers (Durand-Ruel, Bernheim, and Vollard) and with his models (Lise, Aline, Gabrielle, and Dedee). Barbara Ehrlich White's lifetime of research informs this fascinating biography that challenges common misconceptions surrounding Renoir's reputation.Since 1961 White has studied more than 3,000 letters relating to Renoir and gained unique insight into his personality and character. Renoir provides an unparalleled and intimate portrait of this complex artist through images of his own iconic paintings, his own words, and the words of his contemporaries.


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An in-depth biography of the French impressionist painter... ideal for readers seeking to delve deeply into Renoir's personality. White, one of the leading authorities on the life and work of Renoir, offers an 'intimate' look into his life, a narrative fueled by her amassing a cache of more than 3,000 letters--many from the families of Renoir's illegitimate daughter, Jeanne, and his three sons, including the great film director Jean, as well as from fellow artists. They shed particular light on his relationships with key women in his life, especially his wife, female models, and fellow artist Berthe Morisot. For Renoir devotees, this is an unmissable, revelatory account... This documentary life, based on thousands of letters, many unpublished, which White has collected since 1961, is the most personal account of any Impressionist ever written. It engages with Renoir from a domestic rather than art historical perspective, bringing to quotidian life the stick-thin, wiry, energetic painter, pipe in mouth, as he converses in a rasping guttural Paris accent to friends and lovers, rearranges his cluttered studio, chats to servants in the grand homes of his collectors. Nineteenth-century Parisian bohemia has long been frozen into myth; White's return to primary sources allows her to catch the timbre of felt experience. Admirably thorough... In her comprehensive biography, White has created a cradle-to-grave account that quotes liberally from the 3,000 letters to, from or about Renoir that she has amassed over the past 50 years. She uses them to show, above all, a painter dedicated to becoming a better artist. No one, not even Renoir himself, can ever have commanded so much information on the topic.

General Fields

  • : 9780500239575
  • : Thames & Hudson, Limited
  • : Thames & Hudson Ltd
  • : 0.93
  • : September 2017
  • : 240mm X 165mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : October 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Barbara Ehrlich White
  • : Hardback
  • : 1
  • : English
  • : 759.4
  • : 432
  • : 113 illustrations, 58 in colour