Paul Durand-Ruel, Mémoires du marchand des impressionnistes
Edited by Paul-Louis and Flavie Durand-Ruel
What do La Femme au perroquet by Courbet, Le Déjeuner des canotiers by Renoir, Delacroix’s La Mort de Sardanapale and Monet’s Impression, soleil levant have in common? They all went through his galleries and in one of the nearly 330 exhibitions (of which 130 in New York), he organized throughout his long life (1831-1922). He is Paul Durand-Ruel, the son of a paper maker who became an art dealer. "We owe him everything", as Claude Monet wrote gratefully. It is indeed as the dealer of the Impressionists, which he defended hook, line and sinker, that he is known. But the school of Barbizon, Manet or Puvis de Chavannes also owe him a lot. His memoirs are honest and passionate for he does not avoid the financial aspect, and gives an extraordinary panorama of the art market. As an example, Durand-Ruel bought in 1872, for 1500 francs, Manet’s le Fifre, which had been rejected by the Salon in 1866. When he wrote his memoirs at the beginning of the 20th century, the painting was hanging at the Louvre and was estimated at more than 200,000 francs… Beautifully edited by his descendants, the book includes a complete index, the list of galleries and principal works that went through the hands of Durand-Ruel. We will get a glimpse of it when the exhibition opens at the musée du Luxembourg on 9 October 2014.
Review published in the newsletter #358 - from 2 October 2014 to 8 October 2014