Théodore Duret


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(1838–1927). French critic and collector. Born into a wealthy family in Charente, Théodore Duret, Count de Brie, became a major champion of the Impressionists. He was also a traveller, art dealer, and collector who amassed two substantial collections of contemporary art. Despite his aristocratic background Duret was a keen republican who fled to London on the fall of the Commune in 1871 and visited America and the Far East before returning to France in 1873. His first book, Les Peintres impressionistes, accompanied the fourth Impressionist exhibition, held in Paris in 1878, and together with his collected reviews, Critique d'avant garde (1885), brought many artists into fashion. Among them were his friends Whistler and Manet whose portraits of Duret (respectively 1883; New York, Met. Mus.; 1868; Paris, Petit Palais) record their esteem; in 1889 he contributed 1,000 francs towards the purchase of Manet's Olympia for the Louvre. Like Whistler, he was an enthusiast for Japanese art and his essay L'Art japonais (1884) influenced van Gogh. Forced to sell his first collection after business losses, his second encompassed the Post-Impressionists.

From The Oxford Companion to Western Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.

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