Leeds Art Gallery

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Apres le Bain

Renoir, Pierre Auguste (1841-1919), No date, Pastel drawing 65.5 x 52.9

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born in Limoges, where his father was a tailor and his mother a seamstress.  The family moved to Paris when Renoir was five years old.  In 1854, at the age of thirteen, Renoir was apprenticed to a porcelain painter in Paris, where he gained experience of painting in the fresh, light colours that he would later apply to his own paintings.   In 1861 Renoir entered the studio of Charles Gleyre in Paris, where he met other artists including Monet and Sisley, with whom he painted near the village of Barbizon, on the outskirts of the Forest of Fontainebleau.  In 1870 Renoir was drafted into the French army to serve in the war against Germany.  However, he became seriously ill and did not see active service.  After the war, Renoir returned to Paris and in 1874 he helped to organize and took part in the first exhibition by the artists who came to be known as the Impressionists. This first exhibition was not successful but Renoir was supported by wealthy patrons and their friends, a number  of whom commissioned portraits from him.    From the 1880, Renoir painted many pictures of young women and girls as a celebration of female beauty.  These paintings were very popular and Renoir became wealthy. In 1907 he bought a piece of land at Cagnes on the French Riviera.  On it he grew olives, vines and oranges and then had a house and studio built on his property.  He lived there for the rest of his life but suffered increasingly from rheumatism, which affected his fingers and made painting difficult.  Après le Bain was bought by the LACF in 1945.