Renoir: The life and work of the artist illustrated with 80 colour plates
by Elda Fezzi
Thames and Hudson, 1968
DOLPHIN ART BOOKS 80 COLOUR PLATES
An attractively priced library of monographs dedicated to presenting the work of the greatest painters, sculptors and architects of all time. Each volume, based on the latest research, is written by a leading autbority, and contains a biography, a critical appraisal of the work, and fully documented notes on each plate
One of the greatest of the French painters associated with the impressionists, Renoir was more influenced than they were by the earlier masters- above all by Rubens, the Venetians, Watteau and Boucher. The work of all these artists is imbued with the same frank delight in the senses that intoxicates us in Renoir's paintings of crowded café scenes, riverside landscapes, pretty girls in their colourful clothes, and children. When depicting such subjects Renoir used the technique of the impressionists (especially of his friend Monet) to convey, with shimmering colour and lightness of touch, the pulsating gaiety of France in the 1870s. And yet it was his attachment to the art of the past that eventually led him to forsake impressionism for a more classical style, characterized by clear modelling and carefully planned compositions. In the great nudes of his laterycars Renoir, without sacrificing the radiant sensuousness of his earlier works, carainly achieved the 'simplicity and grandeur' (to use his Own words) that he had always admired in the old masters.