Pierre Auguste Renoir (b. Feb. 25, 1841, Limoges, France–d. Dec. 3, 1919, Cagnes) is originally associated with the Impressionist movement. His early works were typically Impressionist snapshots of real life, full of sparkling colour and light. By the mid-1880s, however, he had broken with the movement to apply a more disciplined, formal technique to portraits and figure paintings, particularly of women (e.g. , Bathers, 1884-87).
Renoir is perhaps the best-loved of all the Impressionists, for his subjects—pretty children, flowers, beautiful scenes, above all lovely women—have instant appeal, and he communicated the joy he took in them with great directness. `Why shouldn’t art be pretty?’, he said, `There are enough unpleasant things in the world.’ He was one of the great worshippers of the female form, and he said `I never think I have finished a nude until I think I could pinch it.’ One of his sons was the celebrated film director Jean Renoir (1894-1979), who wrote a lively and touching biography (Renoir, My Father) in 1962.
On the Terrace 1881; Oil on canvas, 100.5 x 81 cm (39 1/2 x 31 7/8″); The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Collection