Gustave Doré  

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Gargantua eating six pilgrims from Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais, as illustrated by Gustave Doré
Gargantua eating six pilgrims from Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais, as illustrated by Gustave Doré

"Gustave Doré (1833-1883) must be noted as a most brilliant interpreter of fantastical poetry and legend, decidedly his best creations being imaginative subjects and landscape, such as his illustrations to Dante's Inferno and "Don Quixote" ; also the grotesque but powerful designs for the Legend of the Wandering Jew and Balzac's Contes Drolatiques; while, on the contrary — as in his fairy-tales and Bible illustrations — he becomes almost unbearably vapid, and devoid of style."--Grundriß der Kunstgeschichte (c. 1860) by Wilhelm Lübke

Don Quixote by Gustave Doré
Don Quixote by Gustave Doré
Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

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Gustave Doré (1832 – 1883) was a French artist, engraver, and illustrator. Doré's commissions include works by Lord Byron, Rabelais, Balzac, Perrault, Milton, Dante and Edgar Allan Poe. Doré was internationally known during his lifetime and authors such as H. P. Lovecraft have praised his work. Even today, Doré's legacy continues to assert itself in the realm of comic books and graphic novels, especially the "proto-graphic novels" he wrote at the beginning of his career. He was briefly romantically linked to Sarah Bernhardt.

Similar artists includes Grandville, Daumier, Méryon, Victor Hugo’s drawings, Redon and more recently Paul Rumsey.



Doré was born in Strasbourg and his first illustrated story was published at the age of fifteen. Doré began work as a literary illustrator in Paris. Dore's commissions include works by Rabelais, Balzac, Milton and Dante. 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 English Bible. Doré also illustrated an oversized edition of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. The Doré illustrated edition of The Raven is the first edition of Poe's most recognized poem.

Doré's English Bible (1866) was 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 New Bond Street.

In 1869, Blanchard Jerrold, the son of Douglas William Jerrold, suggested that they work together to produce a comprehensive portrait of London. Jerrold had gotten the idea from The Microcosm of London produced by Rudolph Ackermann, William Pyne, and Thomas Rowlandson in 1808.

Doré signed a five-year project with the publishers Grant & Co that involved his staying in London for three months a year. He was paid the vast sum of £10,000 a year for his work. The book, London: A Pilgrimage, with 180 engravings, was published in 1872.

London: A Pilgrimage enjoyed commercial success, but the work was disliked by many contemporary critics. Some critics were concerned with the fact that Doré appeared to focus on poverty that existed in 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."

London: A Pilgrimage was a financial success, and Doré received commissions from other British publishers. Doré's later works included Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Milton's Paradise Lost, Tennyson's The Idylls of the King, The Works of Thomas Hood, and The Divine Comedy. His work also appeared in the Illustrated London News. Doré continued to illustrate books until his death in Paris in 1883. He is buried in the city's Père Lachaise Cemetery.


Gustave Doré was a prolific artist; thus the following list of works, though extensive, is by no means comprehensive (e.g. it does not include his sculptures, paintings, nor many of his journal illustrations):

DateAuthorWorkVolumes / FormatIllustrationsPublisherRef
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
1854Rabelais Oeuvres contenant la vie de Gargantua et celle de Pantagruel ...1 vol. 4to. Frontis. & 15 J.Bry Ainé, Paris
1855Honoré de BalzacLes Contes Drôlatiques 425Société Générale de la Libraire, and in Le Journal pour Tous
1856 Fierabras d'Alexandrie, Légende Nationale traduite par Mary Lafon1 vol in 8vo123Librairie Nouvelle
1856 Mémoires d'un Jeune Cadet, par Victor Percival 48
1856 La Légende du Juif Errant1 vol. grand in folio12Michel Lévy
1857 Dante AlighieriL'Enfer 70
1857 autumnEd. de La BédollièreNouveau Paris, Histoire de ses 20 Arrondissements1 vol in 4to150Barba
1857 autumnValéry VernierAline, Journal d'un Jeune Homme, one large pageDentu
1860–1862Thomas Mayne ReidL'Habitation du Désert,1 vol. in 16mo60Hachette
1860–1862Ann S. StevensLa Fille du Grand Chieftain1 vol.15
1860–1862M. V. VictorFlêche d'Or1 vol.13
1860–1862E. S. EllisL'Ange des Frontières1 vol.10
1860–1862N. W. BuxtedLes Vierges de la Forêt1 vol.10
1860William ShakespeareThe Tempest1 vol. in 4to (London)
1861 Les Figures du Temps,1 vol. in 12mo (Paris)
1861Plouvier and VincentLes Chansons d'Autrefoisin 12mo Coulon and Pineau, Paris
1861Edmond About Le Roi des Montagnes1 vol. in 8vo157Hachette and Co., Paris
1862SaintineLes Mythologies du Rhin1 vol. in 8vo165Hachette and Co., Paris
1862L'Abbé Léon GodardL'Espagne, Mœurs et Paysages,2 vols in 8vo4, Tours or Paris
1862Malte-BrunLes États Unis et le Mexique1 vol. in 4to Brun, Paris
1862 Histoire aussi intéressante qu'invraisemblable de l'intrépide Capitaine Castagnette, neveu de l'Homme à la Tête de Bois1 vol. in 4to43Hachette
1866 Aventures du Baron de Münchausen, traduction nouvelle par Théophile Gautier fils1 vol. (London)
1863M. ÉpinéLégende de Croquemitaine1 vol. in 4to177Hachette
1863GastineauLa Chasse au Lion et à la Panthère1 vol. in 8vo Hachette and Co.
1863Miguel de CervantesDon Quixote de la Mancha translation by Louis Viardot2 vols. folio370Hachette and Co., Paris, and Cassell and Co., London
1863 Les Contes de Perrault or in Spanish Los Cuentos de Perrault 100+Hetzels. in Spanish by Ledouse
1865GastineauDe Paris en Afrique1 vol. in 12mo (Paris)
1865A. MasseL'Histoire d'un Minute1 vol., 12mo (Paris)
1866Victor HugoTravailleurs de la Mer Sampson Low and Co., London
1865E. EdgarCressy and Poictiers1 vol. in 8vo50+(London)
1865Thomas MooreL'Épicurien (French translation)in 8vo (Paris)
1865Tom HoodFairy Realmin folio (London: Ward, Lock, and Tyler)
1865QuatrellesLe Chevalier Beautempsgrand in 8vo (Paris)
1865ChateaubriandAtala2 vols, grand folio80Hachette Edition
1866Théophile GautierLe Capitaine Fracasse1 vol. grand in 8vo60Charpentier
1866G. La BédollièreHistoire de la Guerre en Mexiquein 4to (Paris)
1866Dante AlighieriThe Vision of Hell London, Cassell, Petter, and Galpin
1867Dante AlighieriIl Purgatorio ed il Paradiso Hachette and Co.
1866X. B. SaintineLe Chemin des Écoliers1 vol. in 8vo450 Image:Le chemin des ecoliers title page.jpg(not all by Doré)Hachette and Co.
1866 La Sainte Bible, according to the Vulgate, new translation2 vols. grand in folio200+Mame, Tours; Cassell and Co., England
1866John MiltonParadise Lost Cassell and Co.
1867La BédollièreLa France et la Russie (Paris)
1867 Les Fables de Lafontaine2 vols. in folio8 large and 250 small platesHachette and Co.
1867 Les Pays-bas et la Belgiquein 8vo (Paris)
1870Thomas Hood(Poems)2 vols. in folio Ward and Lock, London
1870Samuel Taylor ColeridgeThe Rime of the Ancient Marinergrand in 4to40 large and 3 small drawings
1873 New edition of Rabelais2 vols. in folio Paris : Garnier; London: Chatto and Windus
1876Louis ÉnaultLondon1 vol. in 4to174 wood engravingsHachette and Co.
1874Baron Ch. DavilliersL'Espagnein 4to309 wood-engravingsHachette and Co.; London: Sampson Low and Co.
1875MichaudHistoire des Croisades2 vol. medium folio100 grand compositionsParis: Hachette and Co.
Alfred TennysonIdylls of the King
1877AriostoOrlando Furioso 36 drawingsHachette and Co. (London: Ward and Lock)
1884Edgar Allan PoeThe Raven 26 steel engravingsLondon: Sampson Low and Co., New York: Harper and Co.


See also

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