1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Renoir, Firmin Auguste
RENOIR, FIRMIN AUGUSTE (1841-), French painter, was born at Limoges in 1841. In his early work he followed, with pronounced modern modifications, certain traditions of the French 18th-century school, more particularly of Boucher, of whom we are reminded by the decorative tendency, the pink and ivory flesh tints and the facile technique of Renoir. In the 'seventies he threw himself into the impressionist movement and became one of its leaders. In some of his paintings he carried the new principle of the division of tones to its extreme, but in his best work, notably in some of his paintings of the nude, he retained much of the refined sense of beauty of colour of the 18th century. Renoir has tried his skill almost in every genre—in portraiture, landscape, flower-painting, scenes of modern life and figure subject; and though he is perhaps the most unequal of the great impressionists, his finest works rank among the masterpieces of the modern French school. Among these are some of his nude “Bathers,” the “Rowers' Luncheon,” the “Ball at the Moulin de la Galette,” “The Box,” “The Terrace,” “La Pensée,” and the portrait of “Jeanne Samary." He is represented in the Caillebotte room at the Luxembourg, in the collection of M. Durand-Ruel, and in most of the collections of impressionist paintings in France and in the United States. Comparatively few of his works have come to England, but the full range of his capacity was seen at the exhibition of impressionist art held at the Grafton Galleries in London in 1905. At the Viau sale in Paris in 1907, a garden scene by Renoir, “La Tonnelle,” realized 26,000 frs., and a little head, “Ingénue,” 25,100 frs.