“I’m beginning to understand…” ~Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s birthday is today. He was born on February 25, 1841.

In 1919, Renoir was invited to Louver to see the display of his Madame Georges Charpentier and his other paintings. Renoir said, “When I view the old masters, it makes me feel like quite a small man, yet I think that out of all my works, there are enough to assure me a place in the French school, that school I love so much…” Three months later he died (on December 3, 1919 at 78).

Madame Georges Charpentier

— Madame Georges Charpentier (source: Google images)

In the 1895, Renoir began to suffer from rheumatism, he was in constant pain, even when he laid in bed or sat in his wheel chair. In 1912, he had a stroke, which left him in a wheelchair and his hands became deformed. Yet, he continued to paint every day. Brushes were slid into his  shrivelled hands that had been bandaged to prevent irritation. He did not let anyone tell him he could not do the thing he loved because of his pain.

Jean Renoir, his son, said, “The more intolerable his suffering became, the more Renoir painted.”


Monet and Renoir had been life-long friends. At the end of his life, Renoir said, “I never had a fighter’s temperament and I would have given up many times had not my good friend Monet, who had it — a fighter’s temperament- bucked me up.”

Renoir port Monet

–Renoir’s Portrait of Monet (1875)

“Whether I’ve done something stupid or not, I count your friendship.” Renoir wrote to Monet in 1900. After Renoir died, Monet said, “Renoir took part of my life with him.”


–Self-portrait, 1910

According to Jean, A few hours before he died,Renoir asked for his palette and paintbrush to paint some flowers.  As he handed them back to his nurse, he murmured,

I think I’m beginning to understand something about this.”

I did a post about Renoir last April, and used the above quote to close the post.


  • In 1881, after studying the works of Raphael and other Renaissance painters in Italy, Renoir opted to make a breakthrough from the Impressionist movement and attempted to paint in a more classical style. He became convinced that the systematic use of the Impressionistic technique was no longer sufficient for him.
  • Renoir traveled throughout Europe and Northern Africa, to Madrid to see the work of Diego Velazquez, Italy to see Titian, Florence to see Raphael, and Algeria to see Eugene Delacroix.

Thank you so much for visiting!

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