Renoir: His Life, Art, and Letters

Renoir: His Life, Art, and Letters

by Barbara Ehrlich White, Auguste Renoir


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During the 78 years of his life, Pierre-Auguste Renior painted thousands of paintings and made uncounted drawings, watercolors, and sketches. Behind this prodigious output, rivaling even Picasso's, is a lifetime of struggle and anguish seldom hinted at in the work of this 'happy painter.' His efforts to find a new art to match his vision of a world created by light and warmth are vividly and intimately chronicled here through his letters and those of his friends and patrons. A comrade-in-arms of the other young artists who later became famous as the Impressionists, Renoir fought the entrenched establishment of the annual Salons, with their dead weight of academic allegories and histories. He brought contemporary Paris life in its leisure hours to his canvases, and opened up painting to a new world of art lovers.

Barbara Ehrlich White, a renowned Renoir scholar, has devoted more than 20 years to seaching out unpublished letters and documents that reveal his life as an artist and as a man. She brilliantly contrasts the story of his personal batttling against crippling arthritis -- as well as his loss of favor with old patrons dissatisfied when he developed a new style -- with the joyous gratification of the senses that flows from his canvases. But she also contrasts the underlying traditionalism of his training with his audacious breakthrough in style, subject, and technique. His family life, with his wife and three sons and visiting artists, the tragedies of the Franco-Prussian War and World War I, as well as professional rejection -- all these are made part of the reader's own response to this master, who let no grief and no triumph keep him from his easel.

Scores of pictures seldom reproduced have been newly photographed in full color for his book. Intimate photographs of Renoir's family and the homes he lived and worked in bring his milieu into firsthand focus. Never before have we been so close to the contradictory aspects of this genius.

Certainly, this uniquely documented tribute to Renoir -- with its lavish illustrations, including three sumptuous foldouts -- will be the essential Renoir for everyone who has seen and loved Venice and Paris and the Siene and flowers and women and children -- all the subjects of Renoir's art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810915558
Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date: 07/25/1988
Pages: 316
Product dimensions: 12.60(w) x 9.84(h) x (d)

About the Author

Barbara Ehrlich White was a member of the Tufts University faculty from 1965–2002, where she lectured on art history. In addition to Renoir: His Life, Art, and Letters, first published in 1984, White is the author of Abrams’s Impressionists Side By Side and numerous journal articles. In the course of her career, she won numerous grants and awards, and wrote several television scripts on Renoir, one of which won an Emmy.

What People are Saying About This


Barbara Ehrlich White, a Tufts professor who has already won an Emmy for a television script on the life of Renoir, goes for gold once again with the handsome result of 20 years of research: this sturdy biography and appreciation of the impressionist master.(Lee Grove,BOSTON MAGAZINE)

Lisa Lane

Barbara White, a renowned Renoir scholar, masterfully contrasts his difficulties as an individual with the gentle, colorful works he produced.... The text [is] a delight to read.(Lisa Lane,CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR)

Gabriel P. Weisberg

No one reading this book will have the same perceptions of Renoir as previously. -- Assistant Director of Museum Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities

Kay Longscope

A modern work of art on one of the master painters. Nearly a quarter century of research by Barbara White has resulted in a stunning biography of Renoir.(Kay Longscope,BOSTON GLOBE)

Meyer Schapiro

Her stated aim: to present Renoir's life and art in their relations to each other, is realized in a straightforward readable way with an extraordinary fullness of documentation which includes hundreds of Renoir's letters, many of them unpublished. Through his own words she has brought to clearer view his personality, feelings and throughts under the changing conditions of a lifetime, with its individual and collective crises. . . .I'm sure . . .[this book] will be instructive and stimulating to artists as well as to the general reader. -- University Professor Emeritus, Columbia University

Malcolm Forbes

Stunning reproductions and extraordinary scholarship that correlates beautifully the life and letters of Impressionism's most widely appreciated master.(Malcolm Forbes,FORBES MAGAZINE)

Albert Elsen

There is no scholar better qualified to write this book on Renoir. -- Walter A. Haas Professor of Art History at Stanford University

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

One of the two most impressive art books of the year.... Barbara White's documentary life of Renoir serves to integrate the joyful oeuvre with the not always so happy times of the artist.(Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, THE NEW YORK TIMES)

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