Paul Durand-Ruel: the man who saved Impressionism

The collection of works on display – all of which passed through Durand-Ruel’s hands – includes some of the best-loved pieces of the movement. It amounts to a spectacular tribute to the man who dedicated his entire life to supporting and defending the Impressionists long before their talent was recognised. “We would have died of hunger without him, all we Impressionists,” said Monet. “We owe him everything.”

Renoir’s 1910 portrait of art dealer Oaul Durand-Ruel

Durand-Ruel didn’t intend to become an art dealer. As a young boy, he dreamt of being a missionary or a soldier, but when his father’s health failed he took over the family business. A visitor to his gallery would later describe his demeanour as “much irony; few words, no long sentences. On the other hand, there is every mark of uncommon obstinacy, of an unyielding yet

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