Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy 170th birthday, dearest Renoir!

Auguste Renoir would have been 170 years old this coming February 25th, having been born in 1841. His father was a tailor and as a boy he slept on the tailor's bench, sometimes being stuck by the odd dropped pin; at thirteen he went to work in a workshop, painting floral designs on plates. (Oh, in what dusty Paris antique shop can we find an unsigned plate from about 1854 painted by the hand of the young Renoir?)

I am struck always by his loving and sweet nature, much like his paintings. He said, “The work of art must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself and carry you away. It is the means by which the artist conveys his passion. It is the current which he puts forth, which sweeps you along in his passion.”

He also said, "I need to feel the excitement of life stirring around me, and I will always need to feel that" and then, "Why shouldn't art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world!"

Happy birthday to this tender, gifted impressionist! He is one of Claude Monet's best friends in my novel CLAUDE & CAMILLE and the hero of Susan Vreeland's LUNCHEON OF THE BOATING PARTY.