Pierre-Auguste Renoir was initially trained in the decorative arts and began studying painting in the early 1860s. As a student Renoir met several other painters interested in plein-air painting and the effects of light. When these Impressionists began to exhibit together a decade later, Renoir suffered some of the most severe criticism aimed at the group. While controversial at first, Renoir eventually established himself comfortably with the public and even participated in the official Salons. By 1880, he began concentrating on painting the female figure, starting a long trend of capturing women in a variety of guises. Widely known for his paintings of voluptuous nudes adorned with
jewels and trinkets, Renoir also painted more understated and subtle portraits of women.
By 1912, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was enjoying tremendous success as an artist. He had been awarded the rank of officer of the Legion of Honor and sales of his works were flourishing. Although in failing health, Renoir continued to work ceaselessly and exhibit worldwide, with no less than four solo shows and seven group shows that year. So great was Renoir’s success that Guillaume Apollinaire is noted as referring to him in his 1912 review in Le Petit Bleu as “the greatest painter of our time and one of the greatest painters of all times…”(as cited in Barbara Ehrlich White, Renoir; His Life, Art, and Letters, New York. 1984, p. 254).