Artist Alexandre Renoir recalls fond memories of spending time in his family’s summer home in Essoyes, France. Now, those very same halls are filled with the footsteps of curious visitors eager to learn about the life of Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
“There are many reasons why my great-grandfather chose Essoyes, but my favorite, which I experienced, is that on some afternoons going into evening, the quality of the light bathes everything in a pink light, it’s truly la vie en rose(life in pink),” Alexandre says.
The summer home of the famous French Impressionist re-opened to the public in early June as a museum. Sophie Renoir, great-granddaughter of the legendary painter, sold the home in 2012 to the Essoyes city council for $670,971 (€600,000). A total of $1.2 million (€1 million) in restorations were made over a four-year period, including elevator access, structural reinforcements, and general aesthetic restorations.
Pierre-Auguste originally purchased the home in 1896 with his wife, Aline Charigot, who was born in Essoyes. The artist and his family used the home during the summer. Alexandre, the great-grandson of Pierre-Auguste, stayed in the family home a few times, saying it is filled with “beauty and history.” He admits he experiences a wide range of emotions knowing the family home is now a museum.
“It’s both happy and sad—happy because it was such a marvelous place and to share it is a good thing, sad because I will never be able to stay there again,” Alexandre says.
This is not the first time a Renoir home has been transformed into a museum celebrating Pierre-Auguste. The French Impressionist’s home in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France is the Musée Renoir. The property was Pierre-Auguste’s home until his death in 1919. Alexandre grew up in Cagnes-sur-Mer until his family moved to Canada when he was 4 years old.
Alexandre, an artist in his own right, paints nature-inspired scenery in his Impressionist paintings. He credits both the Cagnes-sur-Mer and Essoyes homes as inspiration for his work since becoming a professional artist in 2004.
“The grounds at the Cagnes-sur-Mer home are stunning. Where both homes are located is picturesque and well worth going to,” Alexandre says.
With his knowledge of his family’s history, Alexandre says he has led tours of the Cagnes-sur-Mer museum. He currently has no plans to give tours of the new museum, but is glad yet another venue is now available for people to enjoy history and art.
“Art in general is important. Surrounding yourself with something that brings you a sense of joy in a day and age where so many things take it away, I believe is a good thing,” Alexandre says.
For information on how to collect artwork by Pierre-Auguste and Alexandre, contact Park West Gallery at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 during business hours or email@example.com after hours.