I read this book for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge hosted over at My Reader’s Block from January 1 – December 31, 2015. The challenge is to read books that you already own.
Renoir, My Father – Jean Renoir
This is a pleasing memoir by the son of Auguste Renoir, a French painter who was a luminary in the movement (whose name he did not like) of Impressionism. That’s Jean, when you see a Renoir with a plump rosy-cheeked toddler. And the brunette with Jean is Gabrielle, nanny and model, who was an important part of the Renoir household.
Jean Renoir was wounded in the trenches. He went home to recover. He was able to spend time talking to his father about people, other artists, his times in age and the craft aspects of art before the artist died in 1919. Jean says, "Renoir was too modest to admit that he was ahead of his era." We learn the details of the daily life of the painter, his favorite food, his ideas of his profession and of this dogged fight against crippling rheumatoid arthritis which deformed his legs and dried out his skin. His last decade saw his life as a martyrdom, but he never stopped his creative work.
Anyway, this was a very enjoyable read, though pushing 500 pages, a bit long. Readers who are interested in art history, Paris, and French family life will enjoy this. So will readers who find pleasure in biographies of parents by their children.