French Impressionist Painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir ~ Short Film in Studio

Auguste Renoir

One must from time to time attempt things that are beyond one’s capacity.
~Auguste Renoir, painter 1841-1919

I discover so many fascinating things from the bloggers I follow in my reader. And from the ones they link to. Blogger “oawritingspoemspaintings” (a new blog to follow!) shared short films of the artists Renoir, Monet and Rodin, live in their studios. They are amazing. I plan to post each of them, beginning with Renoir. He is my favorite artist of the three and I’ve now watched it a dozen times.

French impressionist painter Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)  painted despite partial paralysis and cruel rheumatoid arthritis until the end of his life. Painting with his brushes taped to his crippled hand, especially moves me.  To the end of his life, Renoir’s  three sons helped their ill father, who was wheelchair-bound later in life. His children often helped him in his painting, posing for him from the time they were small and later as he grew more disabled, binding his brush to his arthritic hand and with his paints, brushes and palette. Renoir’s wife passed away a few years before his death.

From an NPR interview linked here:

“Renoir had crippling rheumatoid arthritis — at the LACMA exhibit{Los Angeles County Museum of Art}, there’s a flickering black and white film that shows Renoir painting in 1915, despite his afflictions. His hands look like stumps of old trees — you can barely see his fingers because they are so curled in on themselves. Fabric is tied across Renoir’s palms, to protect his skin.

“In the newsreel footage, he clamps a paintbrush between the thumb and fist of his right hand. Renoir leans into the canvas as he paints. He talks while he works. He’s lively, and his eyes are piercing.”

renoir arthritis+painting
Renoir crippled with arthritis, still paints

I am just learning how to paint,” Renoir said in 1913, six years before he died. The French master painted right up to the end of his life. He died in 1919 at age 78.

Renoir is filmed in his studio at home. He is seen painting a canvas. Also present is Renoir’s youngest son Claude, 14, who stands by to arrange the palette and place the brush in his father’s hand. This film was made in 1915 and I only wish I could hear their words.

Renoir family

~Auguste Renoir~


Explaining why he still painted when his hands were twisted with arthritis…
“The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”
~Pierre Auguste Renoir


34 thoughts on “French Impressionist Painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir ~ Short Film in Studio

  1. Fascinating and heartening. I can empathise although only two of my fingers are curled to that extent from LCSSc. The pain must have been unimaginable.

    1. I felt strongly to share this inspiring piece for those of us who continue to create thru and within our disabilities! I was hoping it was a gentle reminder that the joy of creating, whatever it’s form, is worth the fight it can be for some of us! xxx

      1. It is very inspiring and definitely worth the fight.

  2. Thanks for putting in my link, I appreciate the honesty, integrity & kindness of your blog 🙂

    1. You are too kind! I so appreciate your lovely comment and thank you for sharing these films! Also for reminding me of the original link! I’m happy so many were able to enjoy this as much as we did!

      1. Spreading it is indeed a wonderful feeling 🙂

  3. I forgot to mention that I, myself had gotten it from a very special blogger… … and there goes the chain of our blogging community 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing. Amazing. It shows when one loves something one doesn’t give up. I love Renoir.

    1. Welcome! I feel the same way and am thrilled you enjoyed my small offering.

  5. Good morning….a fascinating video and to see him work through the pain of crippling arthritis is indeed heartening. Thank you:)

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this as much as I did! I hope it serves as an inspiration to those with a fear of expressing themselves or allowing life’s obstacles to waylay us, as so often happens to me! I hold these treasures in my heart and Renoir is a very special treasure indeed!


  6. Beautiful way to start my day and week – he is an inspiration. Isn’t it interesting that the great artists enduring such hardships, Monet looses his eyesight and Renoir his hands, still managed to take their love of paint to extraordinary levels. Loved that you reposted this clip.

    1. Dear Mary, I’m so glad you liked this. I will post the Monet one in a day or three. 🙂 a bit busy on the farm right now and family is coming in a few weeks! Yikes! I’m never ready! Love to you. xxx

  7. Lovely and inspiring. I too have RA but there are very effective drug solutions today. My hand used to fall asleep after about 5 min of painting so I would stop and massage it and then go another 5 min. It made me appreciate that I could still paint. Painting for me is the great healer. I can surely understand why Renoir perservered.

    1. I’m glad you liked this, Gretchen. Yes there are and I wasn’t able to use what was given me. I had a terrible psych reaction. Not going there!

      Painting and gardening are my saving graces. I paint in fits and starts, probably obvious! 🙂

  8. What a wonderful find, my friend! It was amazing to see him at work while suffering pain I can only imagine. The quote you posted ‘the pain passes, but the beauty remains’ brought a little hitch to my throat.

    I hope you are well.

    1. Dear Susan,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed this offering. I thought it the best of the three but am sharing Monet this week sometime, I think. Isn’t that a beautiful quote. His gentle spirit seems to shine thru and thru the words.

      We’re busy getting ready for family in August and it’s a busy time of year anyway… Things are moving fast in the vineyard this year, oddly. We had a spectacular sunset tonight with the strange humid weather including a rainbow in the shape of a ball! A rain ball! Lovely! XXXOOO

  9. Wow… about perseverance. The man was determined to pursue his passion. I can learn from him. I wonder if he sat around and felt bad for himself. *sigh* I don’t see that happening. Kinda puts things in perspective for me with this annoying set of circumstances. Maybe that’s what the secret is, keeping the circumstances ‘right sized’.
    Man…..I need some help in getting that mastered! (no foolin’!…..darn circumstances either define me or *I* do, right?)

    Thanks for posting the clip–it’s amazing. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. that it’s still around to watch…..amazing that someone thought to KEEP it around.

    1. I don’t think he did. It’s nice he was able to pursue his passion throughout life. He seems such a gentle spirit of a man, he is one of my favorites so I was thrilled to find this gem! Yes, I feel defined by health challenges often… I try not to be because I get tired but mostly I try diversions and am thankful to have the time I have to follow my passions when up to it. Much love & talk care of you! (((mel)))

  10. There are times when you know that you have awakened from a sleep. And one of those moments for me was when I was viewing one of Pierre Auguste Renoir at the Musee d-Orsay. It was as if a light switch had been turned on….

    A lovely post!

    1. How lovely you’ve seen such magical art up close, in person! How fortunate. I so enjoyed this little snapshot of him at work and deeply moved how he persevered in the face of terrible pain. X

      1. I have been reading about mythology lately and came across this quote that speaks to perseverance in the midst of pain. I thought you would like it.

        “Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” Joseph Campbell

        1. Even tho I’m a week behind with this response, I wanted you to know how much I and others have enjoyed that Campbell quote. Thank you so much, my dear Rebecca. Hoping you are having a wonderful summer!

          1. Thank you!! I’ve been away from blogging for a couple of weeks on family and work projects. So happy to read your comments! Hugs! 🙂

            1. I had wondered where you had gone to but know you are a travelin’ woman. I posted something in the middle of the night and “no Rebecca?” 🙂

              Have a lovely weekend. I’m about to step away for the month so will catch you in September. xox

  11. Linda I feel related and understand why I wake up for it as without it I doubt I would… Thanks for presenting it in such a way… Love the comment here above me by Joseph Campbell it often turn true, wish it could last little longer.. Xxxxziziziziz ❤

    1. Thanks my dear. Running behind here lately. I’m glad you liked this, as I did. I agree… The Campbell quote is so true! xxx

  12. What a beautiful , inspiring!
    Real artist passion never give up in any occasion❤️That is what they created masterpieces.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed my little Renoir piece. I loved the video and he’s such an inspiration to me. I have nothing as severe as he did, I certainly complain enough nor do I paint nearly so well–hahah. Perfectly said, dear Violet. ♥

  13. Oh, what a wonderful post! (And how did I not see it earlier?) I just love the video, too. I have many favorite artists, but Renoir is my all time favorite. He was such an incredible artist.
    When I was in art school we had an assignment to do an “Homage to a Great Master” painting. I chose ‘Madame Charpentier with her Children’ by Renoir for my painting. I painted it at 50% on a 30″ canvas and it is the largest painting in our house. A few years after I painted it, I got to visit the MET and saw the original. It was absolutely fabulous, huge and amazing! I did not do it justice, at all. But I still love my painting, as it hangs in our living room, so I think of him every single day and he inspires me keep learning to paint.
    It seems every art museum I visit, I spend a bit of time locating the gallery with his paintings as I just have to see them. And it is always worth the effort. A few months ago, I was at the Getty and fell in love all over again with his painting “LaPromenade.”
    I also love the Renoir film from 2012.
    Thanks again for sharing! 🙂

    1. Janell, I’m so glad you enjoyed this! You have a special connection it seems. I’ve one on Monet and also Rodin I hope to post while I am on a break. I hope you enjoy them too! 💙

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