Renoir, Pierre Auguste
1841-1919
French painter who developed the broken color technique of Impressionism.

Renoir was one of the most prolific artists ever with about 6000 paintings completed during the 60 years he was active as an artist.

He apprenticed as a porcelain painter, but In 1862 he joined the art school of Charles Gleyre where he met Sisley, Monet and Bazille. Renoir's connection with these artists led him to meet Degas and Manet. The concepts of impressionism developed from the times this group spent together in the cafes of Paris. The pieces that are generally attributed to be the first impressionist paintings are those produced by Renoir and Monet during the summer of 1869. Renoir took part in the first impressionist exhibition in Paris and then travelled to Algeria, Spain, and Italy.

In the 1880's he became afflicted with severe arthrithis which - towards the end of his life - confined him to a wheelchair, but he continued to paint with his brushes tied to his hands.

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Rivera, Diego
1886-1957
Mexican painter who played a leading role in the birth of mural art in Mexico.

Rivera grew up in Mexico City and at age twenty he was already an established painter. In 1907 he travelled to Spain, France, and England.

In 1914 the First World War broke out in Europe, and in Mexico the revolutionary folk hero Zapata promoted returning the land to the people. Rivera returned to Mexico and became a revolutionary himself. He focused increasingly on murals depicting revolutionary themes. Frida Kahlo was Diego's great admirer, and she shared Diego's revolutionary feelings. She became Rivera's third wife and developed into an acknowledged artist in her own right.

In 1933 Diego started work on a mural in Radio City in the Rockefeller Center in New York. However, a conflict arose over a portrait of Lenin and the mural was chipped off the wall and destroyed. After Rivera left the US he did a new version of the mural, called 'Man, Controller of the Universe', in Mexico City.

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Rodin, Auguste
1840-1917
French sculptor whose realistic masterpieces showed his ability to catch the essence of a person in marble or bronze.

After a trip to Italy and firsthand knowledge of the sculptures of Michelangelo, Rodin completed his first masterwork, 'The Vanquished' - a young male nude.

In 1880 Rodin received a commission from the French government to design monumental doors for a proposed new museum, a work that preoccupied him for the rest of his life. His starting point was Dante's Inferno, but the many figures he created in plaster for his Gates of Hell - including models for 'The Thinker' and 'The Kiss' - came to represent the sculptor's own vision of humanity's anguished progress.

Rodin became one of the most successful French artists. He received many commissions for public monuments, including 'The Burghers of Calais', and the 'Monument to Balzac' - a dramatic portrayal of Balzac's spirit, which Rodin himself regarded as his greatest work.

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Mies van der Rohe
1886-1969
German architect famous for his clean, uncluttered design in brick, steel, and glass.

In his most famous early work, the German Pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona Exhibition, Mies van der Rohe created a long, low glass-walled building in which the interior was a series of free-flowing spaces with minimal walls. He also designed the familiar chrome and leather Barcelona chair for the pavilion.

He was director of the Bauhaus from 1930 until 1933. He moved to the United States in 1937, where he became director of architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Mies produced a number of famous buildings in the US, including the Seagram Building in New York, and the Farnsworth House.

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See: Great Buildings