A leading figure in the Impressionist movement and celebrated for his timeless canvases, Pierre-Auguste Renoir applied pigment with lively brushstrokes that effectively captured flickering light and atmosphere, as seen in this rare fragment of a study painting depicting fish. Applying a combination of complimentary colors in short strokes, the artist has elegantly captured the shimmering skin and active bodies of these little creatures. This study, a fragment from a larger composition on canvas, is said to have been cut for the artist to sell his studies in parts at a time of financial struggle in the early days of his career as a painter.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) studied at the École des Beaux-Arts before meeting Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley with whom he would go on to form the Impressionist movement. He participated in the first and second Impressionist exhibitions in 1874 and 1876, which, despite initially receiving harsh reviews, achieved the goal of providing a legitimate challenge to the dominance of the Salon exhibitions. Over the next decade, Renoir distanced himself from the group, painting tighter, more finished compositions inspired by the Classical Art he saw on a trip to Italy. Towards the end of his life he suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and was forced to paint many of his last works with a brush tied to his hand. Today, the artist’s works are held in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and the National Gallery in London, among many others and Renoir has been commonly recognized for more than a century as one of the Fathers of French Modernism.
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