Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was born on this day in Limoges, France. The son of a tailor, young Renoir painted fine porcelain in 1854 and learned the importance of craftsmanship while joyously celebrating decorative beauty.
This joie de vivre continued when he met Claude Monet at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1861. They created Impressionism which defied convention and depicted real life and the changing sparkle of light.
Renoir left the confines of his studio to paint in Paris' open air (en plein air), finding spontaneous inspiration from nature. With each feathered stroke he conveyed life's richness in bright splashes of colorful flowers and radiant faces.
"I invent nothing," he said modestly. "I rediscover."
The Dance at the Moulin de la Galette (1876) captured a Sunday dance in Montmartre with smiling young men and women. In dappled sunlight, The Dance dazzles with harmony and serenity.
"Nothing is a waste of time," he once remarked, "if you use the experience wisely."
Renoir suffered with rheumatism and by 1912 he was confined to a wheel chair. He still continued to paint, with his brushes strapped to his hands. Before he died, he took up sculpture and directed assistants to act as his hands, molding, discovering, and preserving life's beauty.
Art historian Gilles Neret said in praise, "In Renoir's work, art appears in its most delightful, luminous aspects. It bursts with health and vitality... this painter of happiness stands out like a beacon."
Art is a joyous celebration of life.