His entrepreneurial boldness did not end there.
In a highly unusual move, he chose not to wait for the Academy’s annual Salon to make the market for Monet and Pissarro (a wait that would probably have been in vain), and decided that he’d get on with it and do it himself.
He would, in effect, become the artists’ representative, freeing them from the dead hand of the Academy by providing a monthly stipend on which they could live (neither Monet nor Pissarro were independently wealthy).
Durand-Ruel committed not only to purchase outright much of their work but also to create a commercial demand for it, and in so doing to transform the way the art market operated.
His plan was gradually to add the new works to one of his regular exhibitions of Barbizon School landscapes, for which he had an established customer base.
The idea being that Monet and Pissarro’s paintings would, by association, be validated and understood to be the logical continuation of the much-admired work of Corot, Millet and Daubigny. Smart move.
The ever-alert Durand-Ruel could also see that the market for modern art was changing.
Revolution and mechanization had created a new social class known as the bourgeoisie.
He guessed that this nouveau riche middle class would want a different sort of art.
Much thanks to Will Gompertz’s book What Are You Looking At….some of the blog is directly taken from this fantastic book.