The work of this very talented artist can be divided into three distinct stages of his life. A self- taught draftsman by the age of ten, he is known as one of the greatest and most prolific book illustrators of the nineteenth century, and it is this area that dominated the first part of his artistic career. However, he also had a burning desire to succeed in other areas and during the late 1860s he concentrated on becoming recognised as a painter. To this end, he exhibited at the Salon in 1851 and opened the Dore Gallery in Bond Street, charging the public a shilling to view his paintings. The third and last stage of his career was sculpture; an art form he embraced wholeheartedly and almost to the exclusion of all his other talents.
La Parque et l'Amour was the first sculpture that he ever exhibited publicly. The venue was the Paris Salon of 1877 and the critics received the piece well, although clearly surprised that Dore had decided to venture into yet another field. It was featured in 'Le Salon': a review by J Comte in L'Illustration, June 16 1877, no.1790, page 390, and in an article entitled 'La Sculpture au Salon' by C Timbal, page 544 in the Gazette des Beaux Arts of 1877. Dore exhibited again at the Salon with another sculpture called Glory in 1878. In the same year he exhibited an allegory of night at a show organised by the Cercle de l'Union Artistique, and a larger plaster, entitled Poem of the Vine at the Exposition Universelle. Cast after the exposition in bronze by the Thiebaut factory, The Vine was then exhibited at the Salon of 1882, the Columbian International Exhibition in Chicago in 1893, and the California Midwinter Exhibition in San Francisco in 1894 where it was purchased for the California Palace of the Legion of Honour. In 1880 Dore won a third class medal at the Salon for his Madonna and in 1882 he accepted a public commission for the monument to Alexandre Dumas Pere, free of charge so that he could leave behind a public work of sculpture.
Dore's dedication to his sculpture, the final and third part of his artistic career is summed up by his close friend and biographer, Blanche Jerrold: 'in his latter years sculpture was the delight of his life'.
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