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Book Name: Renoir, My Father

Author: Jean Renoir

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Overall Rating: (5/5) View all reviews (total 5 reviews)
Description

Text: English (translation)Original Language: French--This text refers to thePaperbackedition.

Reviews

Therapy

by Buce
(5/5)

We adopted "Renoir, My Father" as bedside reading while my wife was recovering from hip surgery, and (aside, perhaps, from "Goodnight, Moon,") I can't imagine better therapy. This is odd, in a way: Claude was an old man (and in pain) when Jean got to know him, and Jean was an old man when he finally brought his recollectios together. You might expect cranky, but nothing of the sort: it's a book full of sunny afterglow. Every parent would hope to be rememnbered so well.The book might take a bit of getting used to: Jean has his own pace and his own way of telling his story. We did it in small doses and I'm not certain yet that I quite catch the rhythm. None of the rough edges have been smoothed off which, come to think of it, is just as Claude would have wanted: Jean speaks with his own voice. You have to listen well, but you know that the voice is nobody else's.I suppose it helps to know a bit about the Impressionists to enjoy it all, but I can't say I know all that much, and I didn't feel impaired. Anyway, God bless Google: more than once, when Jean talked about a painting or a subject, I key-clicked my way to an image and completed (as it were) the picture.Kudos also to NYRB (this time) for producing what it does not always produce: a finished physical specimen The paper feels like quality; the binding is sturdy, and there is a small but satisfying selection of pictures, both colored and black-and-white. There is even an index of sorts (I assume from the original translator) but it is patchy and incomplete. That last is a shortcoming, but forgivable in light of the book's other virtues. In the NYRB firmament, this is surely a star.


An affectionate rememberance!

by C Brunner "crbpe"
(5/5)

An affectionate remembrance of Renoir by his son, concentrating the years up to the turn of the century.Renoir considered himself an artisan rather than an artist, disliked anything artificial, from margarine to ready-to-wear clothes, had among his friends artists, and musicians who are household names today. "It is when you have lost your teeth that you can buy the best beefsteak" he would say, and considering that he became more infirm with age, this truism affected him no less than the rest of us.


A good book on Renoir; a good book too, about Paris

by Owen Hughes
(5/5)

Not only is this a book about Renoir, whose tableaux peer out of every other art store on every mall in North America (what a curious fate!), it is also a book about Paris. Born in 1841, Renoir was older than most of the other Impressionists with whom he grew friendly later. He also had the chance to see Paris as it was before the Commune and the war of 1870. He lived a good part of his life on the Butte in Montmartre and it is hard now to recapture the atmosphere up there among the hordes of tourists. Yet early on Sunday mornings with a light rain playing on the umbrellas of the artist's stands in the Place du Tertre, you can wander freely among the memories of the rue Lepic and elsewhere, and catch glimpses of Renoir (and others) as you pass through the old streets. Reading this book first will help.Jean Renoir is a very famous artist in his own right, having made numerous films and become one of the most acclaimed directors in French cinema history. Here he has taken great pains to paint a fine portrait of his renowned father, this time with a pen. He has succeeded admirably.


Vivid and Heartfelt Reminiscence

by R. J. Marsella
(5/5)

Jean Renoir's memoir of his father's life is a tender hearted hagiography more than it is a linear biography. it is a book that could only have been written by a loving son. It is intimate as one would expect from a book written by a family member and at times Jean Renoir strays off to explain some relationship or episode in language that suggested to me that he was being flooded with memories as he wrote. This gives the book in certain respects the aspect of a long and rambling recollection of the great artist that incorporates the France that he lived and worked in beautifully and results in a highly atmospheric read.Near the end Jean Renoir wrote in describing Renoir's final years in Cagne " like all stories about Renoir, it is devoid of anything sensational" . For me that captures the spirit of this book. It is as intimate a portrait of a famous artist as I am ever likely to read and for anyone who is interested in Renoir and his work it is pure joy from beginning to end. A fabulous book.


An intelligent, perceptive, humane memoir

by Shalom Freedman "Shalom Freedman"
(5/5)

The great film director Jean Renoir tells the story of the life of one of the great masters of modern painting, his father Auguste Pierre Renoir. He does this in an intelligent, perceptive and humane way. He was close to his father , had many long intimate conversations with him, and truly cared for, honored and admired him.The story begins in 1915 when the young Renoir who has been wounded in the leg is released from the Army and returns home. He has too received terrible news which has crushed his father. The mother of the family has died. Returning home he and his father develop a closer relationship than they have had before.Young Renoir traces the history of the family back to the time of his great- grandparents. He tells of the early years of his father , when he worked as craftsman doing portraits on porcelain. He tells of his father's understanding of his art and of the special joy in which he worked and lived.He describes his father's economical and non- romantic approach to Painting. And he also tells the story of how his father continued to paint also to the very last minutes of his life. And how the honors and wealth which came to Renoir in his last years did not effect his fundamental vision or way of working in life.What is apparent through this work is that a loving son truly seeks to understand and represent his father truly- and that one great artist has a capacity for understanding another great one.A wonderful book.


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