FINE ARTS

Renoir: An Intimate Biography

Thames & Hudson. Oct. 2017. 432p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500239575. $39.95; ebk. ISBN 9780500774038. BIOG
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OrangeReviewStarPierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) is known as one of the leading painters of the impressionist style, but he was so much more. White (Renoir: His Life, Art and Letters; Impressionism in Perspective) presents a well-rounded view of the artist's personal and professional life in her new biography of the artist. For half a century, the author has studied more than 3,000 letters relating to Renoir, meaning she probably knows him better than any other living person. Through this "intimate biography" we learn all about Renoir's intriguing life from years living in poverty to worldwide success, overshadowed by the loss of the use of his fingers. Despite it all, Renoir remained as optimistic as his artwork. His brightly colored paintings reflected his personality completely. While creating thousands of paintings he was able to maintain close relationships with fellow impressionists, art dealers, models, his family, and their families.
VERDICT White's readable, intriguing study sheds new light on misconceptions regarding Renoir's personality. Readers with prior knowledge of the artist will love to learn more, while those interested in the impressionists will enjoy peeking into the lives of artists such as Monet, Cézanne, and others.

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