DURANTY Louis-Émile
( 1833-1880). This little-known novelist of the French realist school was one of the most ardent supporters of Impressionism right from the start. In his impassioned articles in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts he traced the relationship between the Impressionist and the Venetians and Constable. In 1876 he published his book The New Painting: Concerning a group of artists exhibiting at the Durand-Ruel Gallery, in which he developed some very accurate views in a lively polemical style. Taking to task the very official École National des Beaux-Arts for inspiring in its young pupils 'a strange system of painting bounded in the South by Algeria, in the East by mythology, in the West by history, and the North by archaeology', he hailed the works of the Impressionists, all of them inspired (so he wrote) by things of their time. After paying tribute to Courbet, Corot, Boudin, and, in particular, Manet, whom he regarded as the initiators of the new painting, he extolled the great work begun by Monet, Degas, Pissarro, Sisley and Berthe Morisot. He expressed the hope that the wall separating the studio from everyday life had at last been broken down, and that the picture would be a window opened out onto Nature and modern life, seized in their dynamism and the inexhaustible diversity of their character. He was the friend of many painters and writers, and was included by FantinLatour in his painting Homage to Delacroix, together with Manet and Baudelaire. There is a well-known portrait of him painted in tempera by Degas.
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