Durand-Ruel Senior had helped support the careers of the Barbizon group by building a network of appreciative customers to buy their work.
His son Paul wanted to do the same for the artists of his generation, but realized that in order to maintain the business and satisfy its existing clients he had to ensure that any new talent he brought on board had an aesthetic connection with the work of those artists already on the gallery’s books.
He was looking out for young, ambitious artists who were taking forward the innovations of the Barbizon group.
He had combed France and much of Europe to find such painters, but was yet to discover what he was looking for. Until, that is, he ran into Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro, two young French artists who, like him, were in London avoiding the Franco-Prussian war.
Monet, who had started his artistic life as a caricaturist, changed his creative aspirations when he met Eugène Boudin (1824–98). Boudin had encouraged him to paint outside, saying that ‘three brushstrokes from nature are worth more than two days’ studio work at the easel’.
Monet shared his new approach with the friends he had met at, or through, art college. Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Paul Cézanne looked and listened and then followed the same path.
Monet went to the suburbs of Paris to paint in this manner with Pissarro in 1869, and later in the same year went to La Grenouillère, a leisure resort to the west of Paris, with Renoir.
Together they painted the bourgeoisie en vacance, boating and bathing in the summer sun.
Much thanks to Will Gompertz’s book What Are You Looking At….some of the blog is directly taken from this fantastic book.