Inventing Impressionism – Paul Durand-Ruel and the Modern Art Market

Visited the above exhibition at the National Gallery last Sunday (12 April 2014).  The theme was around the story of how the art dealer Durand-Ruel passionately and persistently promoted the paintings and supported a number of artists including Monet, Degas, Manet, Renoir, Pissarro and Sisley whom were rejected by then main stream art establishment in France in the early 1870s.  For many years, Durand-Ruel was the only buyer buying impressionists’ painting.

The exhibition was very well put together and I particular appreciate some early works that I have not seen previously.  Following are my favourite.

French Door panels of Durand-Ruel’s very own Grand Salon painted by Monet.  They reminded me some early masters of the Lingnan School in early to mid- 1880s.  The following are two painting from a book Christina Chu (1983). Early Masters of The Lingnam School. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Museum of Art. 33, 65.

Chinese painting 1 Chinese painting

Arab Horses Fighting in a Stable, 1860, Eugene Delacroix  The actual painting is a bit darker than the digital picture.  I was particular impressed by the light. (assessed 17 Apr 2015)

Green Park, London 1980/1, Claude Monet (assessed 17 Apr 2015)

At the first glance. I thought this painting was nothing special with very loosely painted figures.  However, more I looked at it more I admired the masterly skill.  The far background was very atmospheric.  I particular like the middle ground with all shades of grey.  The buildings in the middle ground were surprisingly well defined.

The Artist’s Garden in Argenteuil, 1873, Claude Monet (assessed 17 Apr 2015)

Love the beautiful sky.  The red flowers were almost 3D popped out in the air.

Hanging the Laundry out to Dry, 1875, Berthe Morisot (assessed 17 Apr 2015)

Morisot was one of very few woman professional painter at her time.  The main subject, laundry was very loosely painted.  The nearby house was beautifully illustrated.  The background was loose but still well formed.  The painting was at its best when you were moving a few feet away to the right.  It gave an impression of real life.

La Pointe de la Heve, Sainte-Adresse, 1864, Claude Monet (assessed 17 Apr 2015)

This was one of Monet’s early works included in the 1883 retrospective.  The cliff and shingle beach were very realistically painted.  The sky was beautiful almost light shined through near the horizon.  The water near the boat was transparent.


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