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Art and Music: Renoir & Grieg

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

(February 25, 1841 – December 3, 1919)

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born in Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France. As a boy, he worked in a porcelain factory where his drawing talents got him the job of painting designs on fine china. He also painted decorations on fans before he enrolled in art school. During those early years, he often visited the Louvre to study the French master painters.

In 1862 he began studying art under Charles Gleyre in Paris, where he met Alfred Sisley, Frederic Bazille, and Claude Monet. Renoir first exhibited paintings in 1864, but recognition did not come for another ten years. At times, he did not have enough money to buy paints. Renoir experienced his first acclaim in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874.

While living and working in Paris, Renoir met and married Aline Victorine Charigot. After his marriage Renoir painted many scenes of his wife and daily family life, especially of their children.

Around 1892, Renoir developed rheumatoid arthritis. In 1907, he moved to the warmer climate of "Les Collettes," a farm at Cagnes-sur-Mer, close to the Mediterranean coast. Renoir painted during the last twenty years of his life, even when arthritis severely limited his movement, and he was wheelchair-bound.

In 1919, Renoir visited the Louvre to see his paintings hanging with the old masters. Pierre-Auguste Renoir died in the village of Cagnes-sur-Mer in southern France, on December 3, 1919.

Edvard Grieg

(June 15, 1843 – September 4, 1907)

Edvard Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist who composed during the romantic period. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt, and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.

At the age of 15, Grieg enrolled in the Leipzig, Germany, Conservatory to study the piano. In 1862, he made his debut as a concert pianist, in Karlshamn, Sweden. That same year, he finished his studies in Leipzig and held his first concert in his home town of Bergen, Norway.

On 11 June 1867, Grieg married Nina Hagerup, and the next year their only child was born. The following summer, Grieg wrote his famous Piano Concerto in A minor while on holiday in Denmark. The concerto premiered in Copenhagen, Denmark, on April 13, 1869.

In 1876, Grieg created incidental music for the premiere of Peer Gynt, at the request of the Henrik Ibsen, the author of the play. Many of the pieces from this work became very popular in the form of orchestral suites or piano and piano-duet arrangements.

Edvard Grieg died in 1907 at the age of 64 after a long illness. At his funeral in his hometown of Bergen, Norway, nearly 40,000 people came out to honor him.

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