Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting
24.06.2015-13.09.2015
Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130, United States


Uncover the untold story of Monet, Renoir, Manet, Degas, Pissarro, and their visionary art dealer and champion, Paul Durand-Ruel.

Despite its popularity today, Impressionism was not immediately embraced by collectors, dealers, or the public. An important figure in the rise of the Impressionists is Paul Durand-Ruel, a visionary Parisian art dealer who enthusiastically championed their radical new style of painting. This exhibition examines the critical years from 1865 to 1905 when Durand-Ruel both inspired and sustained artists like Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, and Edgar Degas. World-famous masterpieces by these artists and others will be shown with historical photographs and documents to explore this vital period.This exhibition traces the development of Impressionism—its struggles, successes, and eventual recognition—and reveals Durand-Ruel’s role in the movement. The extraordinary quality of the Impressionist paintings that were once part of his gallery’s stock is a testament to the dealer’s deep personal relationships with the now-celebrated artists, his unwavering belief in contemporary painting, and his substantial business acumen.

The Visionary Art Dealer Paul Durand-Ruel

They will never destroy your true quality: your love of art and your defense of living artists. In the future it will be your claim to fame. —Renoir in a letter to Durand-Ruel, 1885

Paul Durand-Ruel (1831–1922) inherited 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.In the early 1870s, Durand-Ruel discovered a group of young, untested artists—later known as the Impressionists—and began to promote their work with absolute conviction. Over several decades, Durand-Ruel worked tirelessly to build an audience for their innovative style of painting and to create a modern art market. His strategies included acquiring in depth the work of the artists he favored, gaining exclusivity by offering stipends in return for first rights to artists’ most recent work, hosting single-artist exhibitions, and establishing branches in London, Brussels, and New York, which drew him into contact with influential collectors around the world.

Image: ©
1. Dance at Bougival, 1883, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Picture Fund), Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
2. The Dance Foyer at the Opera on the rue Le Peletier, 1872, by Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (Musée d’Orsay, Paris: Bequest of Count Isaac de Camondo, 1911)
3. The Artist’s Garden in Argenteuil (A Corner of the Garden with Dahlias), 1873, by Claude Monet (National Gallery of Art, Washington: Gift of Janice H. Levin, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art)
4. The Child’s Bath, 1893, by Mary Stevenson Cassatt (The Art Institute of Chicago- Robert A. Waller Fund)
5. Boy with a Sword, 1861, by Édouard Manet (Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Gift of Erwin Davis, 1889)

http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/813.html

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