La douleur passe, la beauté reste

Pierre Auguste Renoir was born on February 25, 1841. It’s not particularly original to claim him as one of my favorite artists, since so many people love the work of this prolific Impressionist, but I can live with that. He was born in Limoges, France, home to all those tacky tourist trinkets made of porcelain, but also where some rather exquisite dinnerware is born.  Renoir worked as a decorative painter and studied great works at the Louvre in his spare time.

Self-portrait, (1910)

Self-portrait, (1910)

In 1862, he enrolled in art school in Paris, where he made friends with artists such as Albert Sisley and Claude Monet. Together, they created a new style of painting based on being outside or en plein air and using much looser brush strokes. The idea was not to slavishly reproduce reality, but to create an “impression” of the original.

Over a long career, he painted about 1,000 canvases: nudes, still lifes, and portraits. Crippled by arthritis and confined to a wheelchair, he continued to create, although he needed help from others to realize his visions. If the Chicago Museum of Art would like, I’d be glad to look after Sur la terrace for them. (The English title is Two Sisters, On the terrace.) Perhaps they need to redecorate.

Today’s expression, la douleur passe, la beauté reste, (lah doolur pass, la bowtay rest) is a quotation attributed to Renoir at the end of his life as his response when he was asked why he continued to paint when it was so physically difficult for him. It means “pain passes, beauty remains.” Well said.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1841-1919: A Dream of Harmony

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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17 Responses to La douleur passe, la beauté reste

  1. Pingback: Un portrait criant de vérité | One quality, the finest.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I recently purchased 3 dinnerplates of this pattern and would love to purchase more but cannot find it anywhere, any chance you would be able to advise? Love this painting, my dishes did not portray the basket in her lap. How true his saying is——————would love the painting too

    • pgilbert says:

      I didn’t know there WAS china with this pattern. Does the back of your plates have a manufacturer listed? There is a company called Replacements ( or you could search on every useful E-bay. I’d love to know more about this pattern myself!

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you —————-couldn’t find at SAkura is the name on the back of the plate. Its called Two Sisters on the Terrace

      • pgilbert says:

        Well if I ever see it, I’ll send you word (if I don’t snap it all up first!) I did get a scarf with the painting on EBay a couple of years ago. That was a fun discovery.

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