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Synopsis: "On passe une vie à tourner autour de quelques êtres et ils finissent par nous habiter à notre insu. Paul Durand-Ruel fut la présence secrète de mes livres sur Kahnweiler, Camondo, Gallimard et Cartier-Bresson ; aussi ai-je choisi de lui rendre grâces à mon tour sous la forme d'un récit forcément impressionniste, aussi sensible à ce qui part du dedans qu'à ce qui arrive au-dehors. "Comment devient-on une légende ? Cette question pourrait résumer l'intention de ma biographie autant que l'existence de Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922). Une suite de drames, d'échecs, de coups du sort, de débâcles - comme ce 24 mars 1875 à Drouot, où un Renoir vaut à peine 180 francs -, qui tous ont renforcé une conviction comparable à la foi religieuse : être l'initiateur et le passeur d'une école de peinture. Cet homme d'ordre politique et moral agit comme mécène et marchand d'une révélation artistique ; il croit en son jugement esthétique et même la reconnaissance tardive de l'opinion, après 1900, ne l'entraîne pas aux accommodements. "Au fond, celui qui a "fait" Renoir, Monet, Sisley, Puvis de Chavannes et d'autres, et promu toute la peinture française du XIXe siècle aux Etats-Unis a toujours rêvé de vivre dans un paradis qui aurait "la sereine douceur d'un paysage de Corot ou de Camille Pissarro"." Pierre Assouline

About the Author: Pierre Assouline, Directeur de Lire, a publié de nombreuses biographies qui ont toutes fait date. Notamment Simenon, Hergé et Le Dernier des Camondo. Il est aussi romancier.

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