Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting

Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Dance at Bougival, 1883. Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

July 1, 2015

Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting
June 24–September 13, 2015

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Dorrance Galleries
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr / YouTube / Instagram

This summer, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents a groundbreaking exhibition examining the early struggles and ultimate triumph of the artists who became known as the Impressionists and the role played by the visionary Parisian art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel in their success. Including masterworks by Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, and Mary Cassatt, Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting spans the period of 1865 through 1905. The exhibition begins when Durand-Ruel inherited his family’s art gallery and invested in the work of innovative painters such as Eugène Delacroix, Gustave Courbet, and Jean-François Millet. It then focuses on the decisive moment when he encountered the new and luminous paintings of the Impressionists that evoked a changing, modern world. It continues through the 1880s, when Durand-Ruel opened markets for the artists’ work in the United States, and the early 20th century, when the artistic genius of the Impressionists finally achieved international renown. It reunites for the first time key paintings from early Impressionist exhibitions, some of which have not been seen in the United States in decades, or ever before. The Philadelphia Museum of Art will be the exhibition’s only US venue. 

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “This landmark exhibition brings together a remarkable group of masterpieces from collections throughout the world to explore a chapter in the history of art that still captures our imagination. It tells the fascinating story of an enterprising art dealer who made an early and daring investment in these young artists, and essentially created the modern art market in the face of bankruptcy and public ridicule. Many great Impressionist collections today, including those of the Musée d’Orsay and the National Gallery, London—our partners in the development of this exhibition—were formed with works that passed through his hands.”

Over a period of forty years, Durand-Ruel purchased around 12,000 pictures, including, roughly, 1,000 by Monet, 1,500 by Renoir, 400 each by Degas and Sisley, 800 by Pissarro, 200 by Manet, and 400 by Cassatt. He became a powerful driving force behind Impressionism, making it a household name. As Monet would recall in 1924, about two years after the dealer’s death, “Without Durand, we would have died of hunger, all us Impressionists.”  

Jennifer Thompson, the Gloria and Jack Drosdick Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture before 1900 and the Rodin Museum, stated: “Durand-Ruel and the history of Impressionism are to a large degree inseparable. From brilliant landscapes to riveting portraits of French leisure, the exhibition will demonstrate his unceasing commitment to fostering an appreciation for the work of these artists.”

About Paul Durand-Ruel
In 1865, Paul Durand-Ruel (1831–1922) inherited a gallery founded by his parents. By the early 1870s, when he discovered the young artists who would become known as the Impressionists, he began to promote their work. His innovative strategies included acquiring the work of the artists he favored in depth; gaining exclusivity in selling their work by offering them monthly stipends; hosting monographic or solo exhibitions; and establishing branches in London, Brussels, and New York that drew him into contact with influential and daring collectors around the world. When he was 88 years old, the dealer declared: At last the Impressionist masters triumphed. My madness had been wisdom. To think that, had I passed away at 60, I would have died debt-ridden and bankrupt, surrounded by a wealth of underrated treasures.

The exhibition is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, by the National Gallery, London, and by the Réunion des musées nationaux–Grand Palais in collaboration with the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art isPhiladelphia’s art museum. We are a landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

For additional press information contact the press office at T +215 684 7860 or pressroom [​at​] For general information, call T +215 763 8100.

Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting
RSVP for Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the…
Philadelphia Museum of Art
July 1, 2015

Thank you for your RSVP.

Philadelphia Museum of Art will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.