He met his future wife Aline Charigot in 1880 when she posed for him as a model. Aline was born in 1854 and was a dressmaker by trade. She was in her twenties and Renoir nearly forty when they met. It was ten years before they married but they formed a relationship during those years. Their first son, Pierre was born in 1885. Aline posed for Renoir's Mother Nursing Her Child the next year.
Aline had dreams of settling down in a country village to raise their family, but Renoir was possessed with an artistic drive that sent him traveling in search of inspiration and fellowship. At one point Aline broke off their relationship but Renoir, after a tour of artistic havens throughout Europe was unable to forget his love. He returned to Paris to rejoin her. They married in 1990 and had two more children, Jean and Claude. Aline and their children served as models in many of his paintings.
Their son Jean Renoir, who became a well known filmmaker commented on their relationship, both artistic and emotional ,"I now come to the most important point in the meeting of these two beings; the mystery which is truly inexplicable to purely scientific minds, but is as clear as day to those with a touch of mysticism. I mean to say that from the moment he first took up brush to paint....., Renoir was painting the portrait of Aline Charigot. The figure of Venus...is a materialization of my mother ten years before she was born."
Renoir was stricken with rheumatism in later years but with the support of Aline and his friends was able to continue painting. He moved his family to the more hospitable south of France and built a beautiful home on the Riveira. His arthritis worsened and eventually he was confined to a wheelchair.
Son Jean Renoir in his biography of his father also credits his mother with saving his life. He had been injured in 1915 in the war and was told his leg was gangrenous and should be amputated. Aline vigorously opposed this, finding another doctor who tended Jean and saved his leg, saying later that he would surely have died if it had been amputated.
Shortly after returning home Aline died from heart failure. Renoir lived another four years and died in December 1919. He was buried next to his beloved Aline in Essoyes, France.