Thursday, March 31, 2011


Carolus Duran playing the piano
Creator: unidentified photographer
Archives of American Art
Smithsonian Institution at

Carolus Duran
Charles Auguste Émile Durand, known as Carolus Duran (4 July 1837 – 17 February 1917), was a French painter and art instructor. He is noted for his stylish depictions of members of high society in Third Republic France. He was born in Lille. He studied at the Lille Academy and then at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1861, he traveled to Italy and Spain for further study, especially devoting himself to the pictures of Velázquez. His dramatic painting "Murdered, or The Assassination" (1866), was one of his first successes, and is now in the Lille museum.

The Convalescent
Oil on canvas, c 1860
Paris, Musée d'Orsay
RMN (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

This painting perpetuates the memory of the painting Carolus-Duran submitted to the Wicar de Lille competition, entitled Visiting the Convalescent. Jean Baptiste Wicar (1762-1834) was a Neo-Classical painter, collector and benefactor of the Musée de Lille, who started a competition for artists to demonstrate their skills in perspective, anatomy, painting and expression. Carolus Duran won the prize in 1861 with Visiting the Convalescent, enabling him to obtain a grant and travel to Italy. In spite of this success, he was unhappy with his painting and cut it up, keeping only two fragments: a white dog and this Convalescent. There is also a variant on this subject, The Sleeping Man, which the artist donated to the Musée de Lille in 1862.

Portrait of Zacharie Astruc
Oil on canvas c 1860
Jpg: Joconde Database
Musée d'Orsay

This work fits into the Realist movement, a style promoted by Zacharie Astruc, a friend of Carolus Duran, and also by the painters Fantin-Latour and Alphonse Legros who encouraged him in this direction. The influence of Courbet and his Wounded Man - which Carolus-Duran saw in 1855 in The Pavilion of Realism set up by Courbet within the Universal Exhibition - is striking. The way Carolus-Duran cut the painting, creating an unusual framing similar to that used by Degas, emphasises its modernity, and perhaps explains the artist's gesture. With its vigorous brushwork and striking colours The Convalescent is one of Carolus-Duran's most successful works.

Portrait du peintre espagnol Moreno, 1866
Author Guérin Nicolas
Musée des Augustins Toulouse

Lady with a Glove La dame au gant
Oil on canvas, 1869
Source ARC at
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Carolus Duran became best known as a portrait painter, and, as the head of one of the principal ateliers in Paris, a teacher of some of the most brilliant artists of the next generation who were his pupils. His painting "Lady with the Glove", a portrait of his own wife, was bought for the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris. (

Madame Ernest Feydeau
Source l'illustration Européenne 1871
Author l'ill

The Artist's Daughter, Marie-Anne
Oil on canvas, 1874
Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco

Portrait of Carolus Duran by John Singer Sargent
Oil on canvas, 1879
Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
Williamstown, Massachusetts

Carolus Duran was John Singer Sargent's teacher and would have a profound impact on him. When Sargent went to Paris in May of 1874, it was with the goal of gaining entrance of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. To achieve this, however, the family knew he needed to study at one of the independent ateliers and in a matter of only ten days they had searched, interviewed, and then finally accepted by Carolus Duran. In truth, it wouldn't be the Ecole, but Carolus-Duran who would have the most impact on the young artist.

Carolus Duran, c 1880
Source Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum

Portrait of Édouard Manet
Oil on canvas, 1880
Private Collection

Sketch of Édouard Manet
Middletown, CT Davison Art Center
Wesleyan University wiki
From petrus.agricola's photostream at

Artist in her workshop
Portrait of Carolus Duran's wife
La Salle University Art Museum, Philadelphie

Carolus-Duran reveled in the attention of his status as one of the leading portrait artists and teacher in the city. His flamboyance was almost unmatched. In an article dated June of 1885 in "Art Age" gives you a glimpse: Everybody familiar with the artistic haunts of Paris knows Carolus Duran, with his bushy black curls thickly streaked with gray, his costume always at the height of the mode, his hat always a little in advance of it, his flowing wristbands and gold bracelets soldered upon his wrists, and his general air of a Fortuny cavalier toned down to walk the Boulevards. . . . (as many) old Parisians ... were familiar with the sight of the young Carolus drawing his blouse tightly about his figure and writhing to see himself from all points of view in large restaurant mirrors as he exclaimed, 'The torso of an Apollo !'
(Art Age, June 1885, quoted in Barbara Weinberg, Uncanny Spectacle : The Public Career of the Young John Singer Sargent)

Portrait of Madame Sophie Croizette

l'homme endormi
From gaelle_kermen's photostream at

l'homme endormi

Portrait de Georges Feydeau
Auteur dramatique
Author Vassil
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lille

Painting King Chulalongkorm of Siam
San Remo, 1907
From Matt Davies,Kansas City at

Don Fernando del F. . ., 1908
Jpg: Friend of the JSS Gallery
From Matt Davies,Kansas City at

In 1889, Carolus Duran was made a commander of the Legion of Honour. In 1890, he participated in the creation of the National Society of French Art (Société Nationale des Beaux Arts). He became a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1904, and in the next year, was appointed director of the French Academy in Rome to succeed Eugène Guillaume. He died in Paris.

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