Inventing Impressionism

“Without him”, said Monet, “We wouldn’t have survived.”

Photograph of Paul Durand-Ruel in his gallery, taken by Dornac, about 1910

Photograph of Paul Durand-Ruel in his gallery, taken by Dornac, about 1910

This spring, the National Gallery presents the UK’s first major exhibition devoted to the man who invented Impressionism, Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922). An entrepreneurial art dealer, Durand-Ruel discovered and unwaveringly supported the Impressionist painters and is now considered a founding father of the international art market as we know it today.

This ground-breaking exhibition lifts the veil on the pivotal figure that discovered Monet, Pissarro, Degas and Renoir in the early 1870s, immediately buying their works when they were still largely ignored or ridiculed. The dealer became the most courageous backer during its early decades of struggle, dedicating his entire life to making the creative journey of the Impressionists a success story.

With great artistic flair and extraordinary commercial insight, Durand-Ruel developed revolutionary business strategies, such as exclusivity, and one-man shows of ‘his’ artists. He turned his Paris-based business into a global firm, staging countless exhibitions around the world and reversing the fortunes of the Impressionists. Beyond his work as a dealer and gallery owner, Durand-Ruel also assembled a personal collection of paintings which he exhibited in his apartment where he often welcomed visitors, as it allowed him to showcase the work of the Impressionists in a more domestic and intimate setting.

Inventing Impressionism follows the key events of Paul Durand-Ruel’s career in a broadly chronological order; these are intrinsically linked with the rise to fame of the Impressionist painters. The exhibition will present a series of rarely-seen portraits of the dealer and his children painted by Renoir and exhibited in the UK for the first time. Other highlight paintings will include no less than five paintings from Monet’s ‘Poplars’ series and all three of Renoir’s famous ‘Dances’.

Paul Durand-Ruel was 89-years old when he declared: “At last the Impressionist masters triumphed … My madness had been wisdom. To think that, had I passed away at sixty, I would have died debt-ridden and bankrupt, surrounded by a wealth of underrated treasures…”

春至,一位印象派的傳奇人物將造訪英國國家美術館。他既不是流派創始人也非印象派大師,而是一位特立獨行的藝術經紀人。他是推動印象派發展的中堅力量,更被視為當今國際藝術市場的開創者——保羅•杜朗-盧埃爾(Paul Durand-Ruel)(1831-1922)。





Tips 小貼士

展覽場地:National Gallery英國國家美術館
展覽時間:04.03.2015 – 31.05.2015


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