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 upon her marriage to Jean-Marie-Fortuné Durand (born 6 October 1800). 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 Durand-Ruel [1831-1922], 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, 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, Charles [1865-1892], Joseph [1862-1928] and Georges [1866-1931], and returned to Paris. Paul Durand-Ruel also had two daughters, Marie-Thérèse [1868-1937] and Jeanne [1870-1913].
"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.
Cabanne, Pierre. The Great Collectors. New York, 1963:63-82
Turner, Jane, ed. The Dictionary of Art. 34 vols. New York and London, 1996: 9:423-425.