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Durand-Ruel, Georges

French, 1866 - 1931


Third son of art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel [1831-1922] and his wife Jeanne-Marie-Eva Lafon, Georges assumed the control of the firm with his brothers Joseph [1862-1928] and Charles [1865-1892] when their father retired to Paris. Georges married Margaret Tierney in 1918. When not travelling to the US on business, he preferred to live in the small village of Brantôme, in Dordogne. A close friend of Renoir, Georges was godfather to the artist's second son, Jean.

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. Jean Durand-Ruel died in 1865, and 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 exhibit 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, 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
Cabanne, Pierre. The Great Collectors. New York, 1961: 63ff.
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