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Classic Art Feature : Paul Gustave Doré

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré was a French artist, as a printmaker, illustrator, painter, comics artist, caricaturist, and sculptor. He is best known for his prolific output of wood-engravings, especially those illustrating classic books, including 241 illustrating the Bible. Wikipedia

Born: January 6, 1832, Strasbourg, France

Died: January 23, 1883, Paris, France

Periods: Romanticism, Realism

Works written: Dore: History of Holy Russia

Parents: Alexandrine Doré, Jean-Philippe Doré

Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré was a prolific engraver, artist, illustrator, and sculptor, working primarily as a wood and steel engraver. He produced over 100,000 sketches in his lifetime, and lived to be 50 years old, averaging 6 sketches per day for each day he

lived. During his lifetime, he had earned over $2 million and had lived a life of affluence. Even though he was an untrained, self-taught artist who never used any live models and could not sketch from nature, his work was considered some of the most important engraving in the art world.

As a child, young Doré was an avid artist and earned his way as an illustrator in a Paris bookshop, publishing his first drawings when he was 15 years old. His young age and great talent drew much attention, which led to newspaper and journal articles written about the “child illustrator,” and generated further interest in the artist. As an illustrator, Doré created engravings for the books of Balzac, Rabelais, Milton, Dante, Edgar Allen Poe, and Lord Byron. He was commissioned to illustrate a version of the English Bible which was extremely popular, allowing for the foundation of his own gallery, the Doré Gallery. For his work on Dante’s Inferno, he was decorated with the Cross of the Legion of Honor.

Although he lived a life of affluence, received many commissions and continued to reap the rewards of commercial success, by the end of his life Doré's illustrations had begun to receive negative reviews. He rarely completed any works with colors, leading to the speculation that he was color blind, and his negative portrayal of subject matter made his works difficult to display. After the death of his mother, who had been his roommate and life-time companion, he lost the will to live and died at the age of fifty.

We've featured one of his most famous paintings called, "Family of Street Acrobats and The Injured Child" on some posters and cards on our store today. We know you'll love this painting. It's one of those paintings that make you catch your breath in awe because of its ability to transfer emotion to the viewer.

You can see his works on our store here:

You can read more about him here:

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