Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born in Limoges on February 25, 1841. His family moves to Paris in 1845. As of 1854 Renoir does an apprenticeship as a porcelain painter. From 1862 to 1864 he attends the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and studies under Charles Gleyre. He meets Frédéric Bazille, Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley. He exhibits at the salon in 1864.
Under the influence of Gustave Courbet and painters of the School of Barbizon he turns to En plein air painting. Besides Gustave Courbet, Eugène Delacroix is another model for Renoir.
Together with Claude Monet he develops the new painting style of Impressionism around 1870, he is regarded as one of its main representatives. Pierre-Auguste Renoir partakes in three group exhibitions of the impressionists, for financial reasons he then again shows works at the conventional salons. However, his situation improves as the art dealer Durand-Ruel is his reliable customer.
In 1881-82 Pierre-Auguste Renoir goes on three longer journeys to Algeria and Italy. His painting style slightly leaves the grounds of Impressionism as of the early 1880s, he begins to emphasize contours more and to model the physical features more plastically. Pierre-Auguste Renoir's oeuvre mainly comprises figures, mostly women, in characteristically soft and lovely features, his use of forms shows notions of rococo painting. In 1885 he marries Aline Charigot and his art turns to the depiction of the family, especially after the birth of his son, he makes paintings, pastels and drawings and later also sculptures. By 1890 he has become widely acknowledged and successful.
In 1898 Renoir begins to suffer from gout, which makes it hard for him to do artistic work. He spends more and more time in the dry climate of Southern France, as of 1905 he makes Cagnes his permanent place of residence. A first retrospective is shown at the Paris fall salon in 1904.
His sculptures are made as of 1907, together with Maillol's student Richard Guino, a co-operation that had been arranged by Ambroise Vollard. Pierre-Auguste Renoir dies in Cagnes-sur-Mer on December 3, 1919.