Inventing Impressionism: The National Gallery’s latest blockbuster is devoted …

The wall texts paint a picture of a man who was often forced to leverage his passion into a lucrative business. The son of a dealer himself he raised his children and grandchildren to join the business. Fortunate enough to run into Monet and Pissarro in London, Durand-Ruel placed them both on retainer and the rest is history. According to the premise of the exhibition, Impressionism was a hard act to sell and without the singular determination of the dealer our art history might be quite different. If I sound cynical it is sad because there are spectacular objects for the art lover to discover.

The first room sets the scene, with a portrait of Durand-Ruel painted by Renoir in 1910. Here the dealer and art lover is painted by one of his most loyal artists and long-time friend. The colours are more mellow and the mood and tone more introspective

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