Initially a porcelain painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir met Claude Monet (1840-1926), Alfred Sisley (1839-1899) and Frédéric Bazille (1841-1870) at the studio of painter Charles Gleyre (1806-1874), and painted outdoors with them in the suburbs of Paris. Then began “the years of combat” for these artists who struggled to establish themselves at the official painting Salon. Renoir finally exhibited there in 1864, and subsequently took part in the first two Impressionist exhibitions in 1874 and 1876, with subjects taken from contemporary life. He finally achieved success at the 1879 Salon, gradually moving away from the Impressionist movement. In 1881, he travelled around Italy, where he discovered the frescoes in Pompeii and the art of the Renaissance, and experimented with more traditional methods and subjects.
The 1890s brought Renoir fame and success. He came into contact with new art collectors while being supported by influential dealers. Renoir now painted in his three residences: in Paris, in his village home in Essoyes in the Aube, and then, in the early 1900s, in the south of France where he bought a property called Les Collettes. Renoir henceforth produced portraits of his family, and painted opulent, sculptural images of women in lush landscapes, establishing a close relationship between line and colour.
Paul Guillaume was very enthusiastic about his painting, and conducted many sales during the 1920s and 1930s. Renoir’s paintings had pride of place in both his and Domenica’s successive apartments.