Exhibition on Screen: The Impressionists
The Early Days
Jean Durand-Ruel (1831-1922), born to shopkeepers Jean Durand and Marie Ruel, was a staunch supporter and art dealer of the unappreciated and reviled French Impressionists. Jean Durand-Ruel gave the world the Impressionists and their paintings. It started by Jean Durand-Ruel “inheriting a successful picture gallery from his parents in 1865. He initially continued the shop’s traditional activities such as framing and conservation, renting pictures to amateur artists for copying, and buying and selling art. He soon began to assert his own taste, shifting the gallery’s focus toward more innovative artists, including Eugène Delacroix, Jean-François Millet, and Gustave Courbet. Sales of their work built the firm’s reputation and financed the dealer’s increasingly adventurous and risky enterprises.” (Philadelphia Museum of Art)
The New Style: Impressionism
Jean Durand-Ruel faced heavy criticism and derision for his support of the new emerging painters that he so strongly believed in. His young wife died at 30 years of age leaving him with five young children. By his sheer determination he raised his family and promoted the new style of art coined “Impressionism”; the reflection of light off objects and the relationship of light between one object and another. For 20 years, between 1981 and 1980 he purchased their works so that they did not face starvation and eviction even though this caused him near personal bankruptcy on numerous occasions. He spent hundreds of thousands of francs on pictures by the unknown and unpopular French Impressionists. Between 1890-1910 Durand-Ruel was the most well known art dealer of French Impressionism in the world. Thereafter, between 1891 and 1922, he spent millions on 12,000 paintings, including roughly 1,000 Monets, 1,500 Renoirs, 800 Pissarros, 400 each by Degas and Sisley, some 200 Manets and almost 400 Mary Cassatts. Due to Jean Durand-Ruel’s amazing foresight we can now all enjoy these wonderful pieces of art.
To fully appreciate this amazing entrepreneur and his gift to the world here’s some further reading, exhibition and movie information: visual-arts-corkul; philamuseum.org; francetoday; exhibitiononscreen; durand-ruel.
Are you a lover of the impressionists? Who is your favourite? Claude Monet perhaps? Au revoir… Annette xx