Paul Durand-Ruel


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(b Paris, 31 Oct. 1831; d Paris, 5 Feb. 1922).

The best-known member of a family of French picture dealers, renowned as the first dealer to give consistent support to the Impressionists. He took over the family firm in 1865 and established himself as the main dealer of the Barbizon School painters. It was one of these—Daubigny—who introduced him to Monet and Pissarro when all four had taken refuge in England from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1. Durand-Ruel's championship of the Impressionists often brought him near to bankruptcy, but in 1886 he achieved a breakthrough with an exhibition of their work in New York, the success of which encouraged him to open a branch of his firm there. This played a major role in building up some of the great American collections of Impressionists. After Durand-Ruel's death, Monet wrote to the dealer's son: ‘I shall never forget all that my friends and I owe to your father, in a very special way.’

Subjects: Art.

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