Saturday, 25 February 2012

Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Suzanne Valadon

'Girl braiding her hair (Suzanne Valadon)' (1885) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir; Private Collection

I think most people must have heard of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, born on 25 February 1841. He was a leading French Impressionist painter, best known for his vibrant colours and pretty scenes of children and lovely women. His early work is in the typical Impressionist tradition, but by the mid 1880s he applied a more formal and disciplined technique and started to emphasize the outlines of figures. He also turned to more timeless subjects, particularly nudes. I chose the painting 'Suzanne Valadon' from his later period because I like it better than his Impressionist images. I love the warm colours in this painting and the portrayal of the woman is beautiful. One of Renoir's sons was the renowned film maker Jean Renoir who wrote a touching biography about his father ('Renoir, my father', 1962).

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