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Paul Gustave Doré
Doré by Nadar 1867 cropped.jpg
Photograph by Nadar, 1867
Born (1832-01-06)6 January 1832
Strasbourg, France
Died 23 January 1883(1883-01-23) (aged 51)
Paris, France
Known for Painting, etching, illustrations

Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré (UK /ˈdɔːr/ DOR-ay, US /dɔːˈr/ DOR-ay, French: [ɡystav dɔʁe]; 6 January 1832 – 23 January 1883) 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. These achieved great international success, and he is the best-known artist in this printmaking technique, although his role was normally as the designer only; at the height of his career some 40 block-cutters were employed to cut his drawings onto the wooden printing blocks, usually also signing the image.

In all he created some 10,000 illustrations, the most important of which were "duplicated in electrotype shells that were printed ... on cylinder presses", allowing very large print runs as steel engravings, "hypnotizing the widest public ever captured by a major illustrator", and being published simultaneously in many countries. The drawings given to the block-cutters were often surprisingly sketch-like and free.


Carolus-Duran, Portrait de Gustave Doré, StrasbourgMAMCS (2)
Doré by Carolus-Duran (1877)

Doré was born in Strasbourg on 6 January 1832. By age 5 he was a prodigy artist, creating drawings that were mature beyond his years. Seven years later, he began carving in stone. At the age of 15, Doré began his career working as a caricaturist for the French paper Le journal pour rire. The illustrations of J. J. Grandville have been noted as an influence on his work. Wood-engraving was his primary method at this time. In the late 1840s and early 1850s, he made several text comics, like Les Travaux d'Hercule (1847), Trois artistes incompris et mécontents (1851), Les Dés-agréments d'un voyage d'agrément (1851) and L'Histoire de la Sainte Russie (1854). Doré subsequently went on to win commissions to depict scenes from books by Cervantes, Rabelais, Balzac, Milton, and Dante. He also illustrated "Gargantua et Pantagruel" in 1854.

In 1853 Doré was asked to illustrate the works of Lord Byron. This commission was followed by additional work for British publishers, including a new illustrated Bible. In 1856 he produced 12 folio-size illustrations of The Legend of The Wandering Jew, which propagated longstanding antisemitic views of the time, for a short poem which Pierre-Jean de Béranger had derived from a novel of Eugène Sue of 1845.

One of The Three Musketeers, on his monument to Alexandre Dumas the Elder in Paris

In the 1860s he illustrated a French edition of Cervantes's Don Quixote, and his depictions of the knight and his squire, Sancho Panza, became so famous that they influenced subsequent readers, artists, and stage and film directors' ideas of the physical "look" of the two characters. 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.

The government of France made him a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 1861.

Doré's illustrations for the 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. In 1869, Blanchard Jerrold, the son of Douglas William Jerrold, suggested that they work together to produce a comprehensive portrait of London. Jerrold had obtained the idea from The Microcosm of London produced by Rudolph Ackermann, William Pyne, and Thomas Rowlandson (published in three volumes from 1808 to 1810). Doré signed a five-year contract with the publishers Grant & Co that involved his staying in London for three months a year, and he received the vast sum of £10,000 a year for the project. Doré was celebrated for his paintings in his day, but his woodcuts and engravings, like those he did for Jerrold, are where he excelled as an artist with an individual vision.

The completed book London: A Pilgrimage, with 180 wood engravings, was published in 1872. It enjoyed commercial and popular success, but the work was disliked by some contemporary British critics, as it appeared to focus on the poverty that existed in parts of London. Doré was accused by The Art Journal of "inventing rather than copying". The Westminster Review claimed that "Doré gives us sketches in which the commonest, the vulgarest external features are set down". But they impressed Vincent van Gogh, who painted a version of the Prisoners' Round in 1890, the year of his death. The book was a financial success, however, and Doré received commissions from other British publishers.

Doré's later work included illustrations for new editions of Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Milton's Paradise Lost, Tennyson's Idylls of the King, The Works of Thomas Hood, and The Divine Comedy. Doré's work also appeared in the weekly newspaper The Illustrated London News.


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 January 23, 1883, following a short illness. At the time of his death, he was working on illustrations for an edition of Shakespeare's plays.


Doré was a prolific artist; thus the following list of works is not complete and it does not include his paintings, sculptures, and many of his journal illustrations:

Date Author Work Volumes / Format Illustrations Publisher Ref
1854 Gustave Doré Histoire pittoresque dramatique et caricaturale de la Sainte Russie, d'après les chroniqueurs et historiens Nestor Nikan Sylvestre Karamsin Ségur etc. 1 vol. 500 Paris: de Bry
1854 Rabelais Oeuvres contenant la vie de Gargantua et celle de Pantagruel ... 1 vol. 4to. Frontis. & 15 J.Bry Ainé, Paris
1855 Honoré de Balzac Les Contes Drôlatiques 425 Société Générale de la Libraire, and in Le Journal pour Tous
1855 Jules Gérard La Chasse au Lion 1 vol. 12mo. 11 Librairie Nouvelle
1856 Fierabras d'Alexandrie, Légende Nationale traduite par Mary Lafon 1 vol in 8vo 123 Librairie Nouvelle
1856 Victor Percival Mémoires d'un Jeune Cadet, par Victor Percival 48
1856 La Légende du Juif Errant 1 vol. grand in folio 12 Image:Wandering jew title page.jpg Michel Lévy
1857 Dante Alighieri L'Enfer 75
1857 autumn Ed. de La Bédollière Nouveau Paris, Histoire de ses 20 Arrondissements 1 vol in 4to 150 Barba
1857 autumn Valéry Vernier Aline, Journal d'un Jeune Homme one large page Dentu
1860–1862 Thomas Mayne Reid L'Habitation du Désert 1 vol. in 16mo 60 Hachette
1860–1862 Ann S. Stevens La Fille du Grand Chieftain 1 vol. 15
1860–1862 M. V. Victor Flêche d'Or 1 vol. 13
1860–1862 E. S. Ellis L'Ange des Frontières 1 vol. 10
1860–1862 N. W. Buxted Les Vierges de la Forêt 1 vol. 10
1860 William Shakespeare The Tempest 1 vol. in 4to (London)
1861 Les Figures du Temps 1 vol. in 12mo (Paris)
1861 Plouvier and Vincent Les Chansons d'Autrefois in 12mo Coulon and Pineau, Paris
1861 Edmond About Le Roi des Montagnes 1 vol. in 8vo 157 Hachette and Co., Paris
1862 Saintine Les Mythologies du Rhin 1 vol. in 8vo 165 Hachette and Co., Paris
1862 L'Abbé Léon Godard L'Espagne, Mœurs et Paysages 2 vols in 8vo 4 Image:Moeurs et paysages title page.jpg Alfred Mame et Fils, Tours Image:Moeurs et paysages title page.jpg or Paris
1862 Malte-Brun Les États Unis et le Mexique 1 vol. in 4to Brun, Paris
1862 Histoire aussi intéressante qu'invraisemblable de l'intrépide Capitaine Castagnette, neveu de l'Homme à la Tête de Bois 1 vol. in 4to 43 Hachette
1862 Charles Perrault Les Contes de Perrault 11
1862 Aventures du Baron de Münchausen, traduction nouvelle par Théophile Gautier fils 1 vol. (Paris, Charles Furne)
1863 M. Épiné Légende de Croquemitaine 1 vol. in 4to 177 Hachette
1863 Gastineau La Chasse au Lion et à la Panthère 1 vol. in 8vo Hachette and Co.
1863 Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote de la Mancha translation by Louis Viardot 2 vols. folio 370 Hachette and Co., Paris, and Cassell and Co., London
1863 Charles Perrault Les Contes de Perrault or in Spanish Los Cuentos de Perrault 100+ Hetzels. in Spanish by Ledouse
1865 Gastineau De Paris en Afrique 1 vol. in 12mo (Paris)
1865 A. Masse L'Histoire d'un Minute 1 vol., 12mo (Paris)
1866 Victor Hugo Travailleurs de la Mer Sampson Low and Co., London
1865 E. Edgar Cressy and Poictiers 1 vol. in 8vo 50+ (London)
1865 Thomas Moore L'Épicurien (French translation) in 8vo (Paris)
1865 Tom Hood Fairy Realm in folio (London: Ward, Lock, and Tyler)
1865 Quatrelles Le Chevalier Beautemps grand in 8vo (Paris)
1865 Chateaubriand Atala 2 vols, grand folio 80 Hachette Edition
1866 Théophile Gautier Le Capitaine Fracasse 1 vol. grand in 8vo 60 Charpentier
1866 G. La Bédollière Histoire de la Guerre en Mexique in 4to (Paris)
1866 Dante Alighieri The Vision of Hell London, Cassell, Petter, and Galpin
1867 Dante Alighieri Il Purgatorio ed il Paradiso Hachette and Co.
1866 X. B. Saintine Le Chemin des Écoliers 1 vol. in 8vo 450 Image:Le chemin des ecoliers title page.jpg (not all by Doré) Hachette and Co.
1866 La Grande Bible de Tours, according to the Vulgate, new translation 2 vols. grand in folio 241 Mame, Tours; Cassell and Co., England
1866 John Milton Paradise Lost 50 Plates Cassell and Co.
1867 La Bédollière La France et la Russie (Paris)
1867 Les Fables de Lafontaine 2 vols. in folio 8 large and 250 small plates Hachette and Co.
1867 Les Pays-bas et la Belgique in 8vo (Paris)
1870 Thomas Hood (Poems) 2 vols. in folio 9 Plates Ward and Lock, London
1873 Rabelais New edition of Rabelais 2 vols. in folio Paris : Garnier; London: Chatto and Windus
1876 Louis Énault London 1 vol. in 4to 174 wood-engravings Hachette and Co.
1874 Baron Ch. Davilliers L'Espagne in 4to 309 wood-engravings Hachette and Co.; London: Sampson Low and Co.
1875 Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in folio 39 engraved plates and 3 vignettes London: Doré Gallery
1875 Michaud Histoire des Croisades 2 vol. medium folio 100 grand compositions Paris: Hachette and Co.
Alfred Tennyson Idylls of the King
1877 Ariosto Orlando Furioso 36 drawings Hachette and Co. (London: Ward and Lock)
1884 Edgar Allan Poe The Raven 26 steel engravings London: Sampson Low and Co., New York: Harper and Co.
1890 Gustave Doré The Doré Bible Gallery Illustrated by Gustave Doré Philadelphia


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