Théodore Duret

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Edouard Manet:
Portrait of Theodore Duret
1868 Edouard Manet 051.jpg
Édouard Manet:
Portrait of Théodore Duret
Portrait of Theodore Duret by James McNeill Whistler (1883) Arrangement in Flesh Colour and Black- Portrait of Theodore Duret.jpg
Portrait of Theodore Duret by James McNeill Whistler (1883)

Théodore Duret (20 January 1838, Saintes – 16 January 1927, Paris) was a French journalist, author and art critic. He was one of the first advocates of Courbet, Manet, and the Impressionists. One of his best known works is Critique d'Avant Garde (Paris, 1885) [1] which was written in support of the Impressionist movement. He also served as collecting advisor and buying agent for American art collector Louisine Havemeyer. [2]



Theodore Duret was heir to a firm of Cognac dealers, was a collector, orientalist, and art critic. [3]

Travels in Asia

In September 1871, Duret traveled throughout Asia alongside the collector Henri Cernuschi. Together, the two men visited Japan, China, Mongolia, Java, and Indonesia in an effort to collect art objects and artworks. Duret was particularly interested in purchasing Japanese prints and illustrations. In collecting these objects, he sought to discover what he called "the real Japan." Upon his return to Paris, Duret published his Voyage en Asie in 1873, which documented the collector's travels and purchases throughout Asia. Although Duret recounts his personal travels inVoyage en Asie, he also comments on the family structures, languages, and religious practices of the countries he visited. [4]

Whistler painting

He was introduced to Whistler by Manet and posed for a portrait by Whistler in 1883 at Whistler's London studio at 13 Tite Street. At Duret's request, Whistler painted him in full evening dress, but Whistler suggested that he hold a pink domino, an addition necessary to the decorative arrangement of the composition. Whistler worked on the portrait over a long period of time, even though the finished work ultimately looks like a rapid sketch. Acclaimed when exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1885, it was ranked by many as the best portrait of Duret painted by any of the great Realist artists of the period. [3]


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Edouard Vuillard, Theodore Duret, 1912, oil on cardboard on wood, overall: 95.2 x 74.8 cm (37 1/2 x 29 7/16 in.), National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. Edouard Vuillard, Theodore Duret, 1912, NGA 46545.jpg
Édouard Vuillard, Théodore Duret, 1912, oil on cardboard on wood, overall: 95.2 x 74.8 cm (37 1/2 x 29 7/16 in.), National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Shigemi Inaga: Théodore Duret (1838–1927). Paris 1988