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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 Barbara Ehrlich White, a renowned Renoir scholar, devoted more than twenty years to searching out unpublished letters and documents that reveal his life as an artist and as a man.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.
Barbara Ehrlich White, often called Mrs. Renoir,A" has been collecting letters by, to, and about Renoir since 1961. For this research, she has made numerous trips to France where she interviewed family members and friends of the artist and visited places where he lived and painted. White taught art history at Tufts University from 1965 through 2002 and now continues there as Adjunct Professor Emerita of Art History. Her book Renoir: His Life, Art, and Letters was first published by Abrams in 1984 and in French by Flammarion in 1985. White is also the author of Impressionists Side By Side: Their Friendships, Rivalries, and Artistic Exchanges, published in 1996 by Knopf and in German by Droemer/Knaur Verlag. She wrote two Renoir television scripts, one of which won an Emmy. She has lectured about Renoir throughout the United States and France. Currently, White is writing a book about Renoir and his family.