"For me, a painting must be something kind, joyful and pretty," said Auguste Renoir. With a career spanning more than fifty years and a few thousand paintings, the painter, who believed that painting was made "to decorate the walls", revealed the grace of his characters in impressionist light. At first little-known and often refused at official salons, but supported by a small circle of friends and admirers, he knew the consecration when he entered the Louvre during his lifetime, without ever losing his immense modesty.
"I think I'm beginning to understand something about it," he whispered to his warden, returning his brushes shortly before his death.
Anne Distel shows how Renoir, through the strokes of his dazzling palette, was able to transfigure banality.