His Life, Art, and Letters


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ISBN: 9780810996076 Category:

Barbara Ehrlich White


During the seventy-eight years of his life, Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted thousands of paintings and made uncounted drawings, watercolors, and sketches. Behind this prodigious output, rivaling even Picasso’s, is a lifetime of struggle and anguish seldom hinted at in the work of this “happy painter.” His efforts to find a new art to match his vision of the world created by light and warmth are vividly and intimately chronicled here through his letters and those of his friends and patrons.

Barbara Ehrlich White, a renowned Renoir scholar, devoted more than twenty years to searching out unpublished letters and documents that reveal his life as an artist and as a man. First published in 1984, her book was praised for its comprehensive yet intimate history of Renoir’s life and work. Now back in print, White’s classic book brilliantly contrasts the story of Renoir’s personal battle against crippling arthritis – – as well as his loss of favor with old patrons dissatisfied when he developed a new style – – with the joyous gratification of the senses that flows from his canvases. She captures both the underlying traditionalism of his training and his audacious breakthrough in style, subject, and technique.

This uniquely documented tribute to Renoir, with its lavish illustrations, including three gatefolds­­, is the essential Renoir.

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Books of the Times, November 28, 1984, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt: “One of the two most impressive art books of the year …. Barbara White’s documentary life of Renoir serves to integrate the joyful oeuvre with the not always so happy times of the artist.”

TIME MAGAZINE: “A thorough and commendably lucid biography of the great French painter.”

BOSTON GLOBE, Art critic Robert Taylor: “RENOIR. . . is a remarkable task of scholarship accomplished by a Tufts scholar who has sifted through hundreds of letters and basic source materials concerning the artist. But it is also a highly readable account, which ought to change the way we look at Renoir.”

Additional information

Weight 2304 g
Dimensions 26.9 x 35.6 cm
Publisher name ABRAMS
Publication date 25 March 2010
Number of pages 312
Format Hardback
Contributors Text by Michela Bassu, Contributions by Juliane Betz and Fabienne Ruppen
Dimensions 26.9 x 35.6 cm
Weight 2304 g


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Barbara Ehrlich White was a member of the Tufts University faculty from 1965-2002, where she lectured on art history. In addition to Renoir: His Life, Art, and Letters, first published in 1984, White is the author of Abrams's Impressionists Side By Side and numerous journal articles. In the course of her career, she won numerous grants and awards, and wrote several television scripts on Renoir, one of which won an Emmy.