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Durand-Ruel, Paul-Louis

French, 1831 - 1922


Art dealer and friend of the Impressionists, Paul Durand-Ruel was the head of the family firm in Paris, and later New York, for most of his life. The art firm of Durand-Ruel began as a stationer's shop, located at 174, rue Saint-Jacques in Paris, which had been a gift to Marie-Fernande Ruel [d. 1856] upon her marriage to Jean-Marie-Fortuné Durand [6 October 1800-1865]. Finding the business in good order, Jean renamed the shop "Durand-Ruel," and legally changed the family name as well. Jean approached various artists and offered to sell their water-colours, oils or prints in his shop in return for colours, canvases or brushes they bought from him, a practice common in Great Britain. The pictures sold unexpectedly well and the shop was never empty. In 1833 Durand-Ruel moved from the rue Saint-Jacques to rue des Petits-Champs and rue de la Paix. In 1846 Jean rented a shop on the boulevard des Italiens; in that same year his son Paul entered the business. In 1856, the year of his wife's death, Jean Durand-Ruel again moved to rue de la Paix. When Jean Durand-Ruel died in 1865, Paul, married three years earlier to Jeanne-Marie-Eva Lafon, took over the business. During the Franco-Prussian war, Paul left Paris for London, where he met Monet and Pissarro, who introduced him, at the end of the war, to Sisley and Renoir. Durand-Ruel became both Sisley's and Renoir's dealer, and was an ardent promoter and defender of the Impressionists. At the invitation of the New York American Art Association, Durand-Ruel organized an exhibition of Impressionist painters in New York which opened 10 April 1886; a second exhibition in New York opened 25 May 1887. In 1888, Paul opened a gallery of his own in New York in a building owned by H.O. Havemeyer; Havemeyer bought forty Impressionist pictures from Durand-Ruel--the nucleus of what would be one of the world's largest collections. Paul turned over the management of the New York branch of the firm to his sons, Charles [1865-1892], Joseph [1862-1928], and Georges [1866-1931], and returned to Paris. Paul and Jeanne-Marie-Eva Durand-Ruel also had two daughters, Marie-Thérèse [1868-1937] and Jeanne [1870-1913]. [Compiled from sources and references recorded on CMS]


"Paul Durand-Ruel dies in 92nd year." American Art News 20, no. 18 (11 February 1922): 1
Venturi, Lionello. Les Archives de L'Impressionnisme 2 vols. Paris, 1939
Daulte, François. "Le marchand des Impressionistes." L'Oeil 66 (1960):54-63
Cabanne, Pierre. The Great Collectors. New York, 1961: 63ff.
Cabanne, Pierre. The Great Collectors. New York, 1963:63-82
Elias, Julius. "Aus dem Leben eines Kunsthandlers. Paul Durand-Ruel -- ein Klassiker seines Metier." Der Kunsthandel 63, no. 12 (1971):27-28
Miramus, André. "Paul Durand-Ruel et l'Impressionisme." L'Amateur d'art 25 (1972):9
Assouline, Pierre. Grâce lui soient rendues: Paul Durant-Rueld, le marchand des impressionistes. Paris, 2002

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