Thursday, 9 April 2015

Art for Art’s sake, Selling for Creation's sake

All sorts of people sell, but often label their selling activity with different words.

Art market experts and dealers for example, might talk of the “joys and challenges of representing” or “championing” artists.
“If a patron  buys from an artist who needs money  (to buy tools, time, food ) the patron then makes himself equal to the artist; he is building art into the world he creates.”           - Ezra Pound

 Arguably the pioneer of modern art dealership, the modern selling of Art, was Paul Durand-Ruel. In some respects he could be credited with inventing the profession of modern art dealer. He set up an international network of  galleries. 
He introduced selling practises which the modern art market accepts as standard. These included:-

  • gallery lectures, 
  • illustrated art reviews 
  • and solo exhibitions.
There is an art show doing a world tour about the French art dealer and the works he bought, sold and championed. 

It has been shown in Paris , it is now in London at the National Gallery till the end of May and will move onto the USA afterwards. 

His passion , his product, his cause were the Impressionists - probably one of the best known  brands in art.

Art and money for some make uncomfortable bedfellows.

Ben Luke of the London Evening Standard opened his review of the National Gallery ‘s” Inventing Impressionism” show,  suggesting that many ( like himself)  prefer to distance their love of art from “the dirty cash that pays for it”.  

  Paul Durand-Ruel. “Gambling on Impressionism. Manet, Monet, Renoir...” was how Musee D’Orsay headlined the exhibition they held.

The expression “ Impressionism” was really invented by the artists themselves  yet, but for a salesperson by the name of Paul Durand-Ruel who both sold the concept of Impressionists and the products - Paul Durand-Ruel. 

It is questionable whether Impressionism would have taken off without the financial  support , and promotional skill of Paul Durand-Ruel. 

Huge photograph at the entrance to the exhibition of on of Paul Durand-Ruel's showrooms.

If you like the Impressionists I urge you to go. Many of the paintings are from Private Collections  and American Museums which I had not seen before. If you are in Selling yourself, you will also find out about an inspiring life.  It’s an antidote to the hackneyed saying “ a good product sells itself.”

Paul Durand-Ruel
There’s a lot about selling we can learn from the life of Paul Durand-Ruel as laid out in this exhibition.

“ I was in short, a bad dealer in paintings, because what I never liked sold, and what I liked I never managed to sell”

 Remember this is from a man who sold 1,000 Monets, 1,500 Renoirs and 400 Degas !

Show room: Note  the coverage  Paris  ,New York
“ Without America I would have been lost, ruined”   - Paul Durand -Ruel

“ You were the first to support us and the first to fight for us” 
-Camille Pissaro to Paul Durand-Ruel 1892

“Without him,” said Monet
we wouldn't  have survived.”

Standing beneath the master dealer
You are not allowed to take photos at the exhibition, so to see some glimpses of the pictures on show, here is the link to National Gallery’s You Tube Clip promoting / selling the show

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