Impressionism according to Duret


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Impressionism: a historical reconstruction


according to Duret


Théodore Duret (1838-1927) was a journalist, art critic, owner of a cognac company and art-collector. In 1865 he met Manet in Madrid. He took part at meetings with the Impressionists in Café Guerbois and Nouvelles Athènes. In 1868 he started with Zola the Republican news paper. In his review of the Salon of 1870 he already spoke of ‘impressionists’. Spring 1871 he was loco-mayor of the Paris Commune. In 1872 he started to buy impressionist paintings and gives them financial support. He published books on Impressionism, but he didn’t review the ‘impressionist’ expositions. In 1874 he was opposed to an independent exposition and tried to convince Pissarro only to exhibit at the Salon. Duret called the 7th ‘impressionist’ exhibition in 1882 the best.
Duret also wrote prefaces to catalogues:
April 1883: for the catalogue of the Renoir solo exhibition at Durand-Ruel.
April 1886: for the catalogue of the Durand-Ruel exhibition in New York.


Duret as an art-collector:
Théodore Duret also was an art-collector. January 1872 he bought two works of Renoir for 400+1200 franc. In 1877 three works at the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition were loans by Duret; two of Monet (no.94 +110) and one of Sisley (no.219)↓. In 1879 three works of Monet (no. 139-141) at the 4th ‘impressionist’ exposition were loans by Duret. Duret also collected Post-Impressionists. In 1894 Duret had financial problems. 1894/03/19 part of his collection was auctioned at George Petit. 1900 onwards Duret gave his collection to French museums.
1894/03/19, Catalogue des tableaux et pastels composant la collection de Théodore Duret at the Gallerie Georges Petit, Paris. (online PDF version at


Les Peintres Impressionnistes (1878/05):
In 1878 Duret published a history about the lives and works of impressionist painters: ‘Les peintres impressionnistes; Claude Monet, Sisley, C. Pissarro, Renoir, Berthe Morisot‘. He restricted Impressionism to those artists that were devoted to landscape, colour and open air (painting). Stating that Cals, Degas and Rouart are not Impressionists. In a later edition he added Cézanne and Guillaumin as Impressionists.




Duret, Théodore: Les peintres Impressionnistes; Claude Monet, Sisley, C. Pissarro, Renoir, Berthe Morisot; Avec un dessin de Renoir. Paris, Mai 1878 (R5,p109; see document on = iR40 and on (R142)
Compare the later edition of 1922 = R261 and the German translation of 1923 = R7.

Duret, Théodore: Critique de l’avant garde. Paris, 1885, Februar. See PDF version on (R145)
(A collection of reviews and articles on art. R5,p142/5)

Duret, Théodore: Histoire de Édouard Manet et de son oeuvre. Paris, 1906. (online version: iR19//AEU-0635) (R260)

Duret, Théodore: Histoire des peintres impressionnistes: Pissarro, Claude Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Cézanne, Guillaumin. Paris, 1906 / 1919 / 1922. (online version: iR40/bpt6k856763viR40/bpt6k109479q; iR19//AFL-4121) (R261)
German translation:
Duret, Théodore: Die Impressionisten; Pissarro, Claude Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Cézanne, Guillaumin. 5e auflage, Berlin, 1923. (R7)

Duret, Théodore: Manet and the French Impressionists; Pissarro, Claude Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Cézanne, Guillaumin. Paris, 1910 (online version: iR19//AIW-5926) (R262)