French artist, print-maker, illustrator and sculptor Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré was born in Strasbourg, France, on 6 January, 1832. At the age of 12, Gustave Doré began carving in cement. Three years later, at the age of 15, Doré began his career working as a caricaturist for the French paper Le Journal pour rire. Although Doré worked primarily with woodcuts and engravings, it is his paintings which have become world-renowned, such as Andromeda (1869) see above.
In 1853, Doré was commissioned to illustrate the works of Lord Byron. This was followed by additional work for British publishers. Three years later, he produced twelve folio-size illustrations of Pierre-Jean de Ranger’s The Legend of The Wandering Jew (1856).
- Doré won many commissions to depict scenes from books from Rabelais and Dante, to Balzac and Milton. In the 1860s he illustrated a French edition of Cervantes’s Don Quixote. Doré’s work also appeared in the weekly newspaper The Illustrated London News. His illustrations for the English Bible (1866) were a great success; and in 1867 Doré had a major exhibition of his work in London. This exhibition led to the foundation of the Doré Gallery in Bond Street, London.
Doré’s later work included illustrations for John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1866), Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy (1867), new editions of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1875), and Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s The Idylls of the King (1875) (The Legend of King Arthur). Two images from this appear above – “Merlin and Vivien repose” and “Uther discovers the two brothers“.
- Doré also illustrated an oversized edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven“, an endeavor that earned him 30,000 francs from publisher Harper & Brothers in 1883.
Doré never married; and following the death of his father in 1849, he continued to live with his mother, illustrating books until his death in Paris on 23 January 1883, following a short illness. The city’s Père Lachaise Cemetery contains his grave.
“Is It Art?”