Gustave Doré (1832–1883):
Master of Imagination

12 June – 14 September 2014
Gustave Doré, The Enigma, 1871. Oil on canvas, 130 × 195.5 cm. Musée d’Orsay, Paris (RF 1982-68). Photo: Patrice Schmidt / © RMN-Grand Palais

Gustave Doré, Dante and Virgil in the Ninth Circle of Hell, 1861. Oil on canvas, 315 × 450 cm. Musée du monastère royal de Brou, Bourg-en-Bresse (982.234). Photo: Hugo Maertens, Bruges

Explore Gustave Doré’s imaginative world through more than 100 striking works of art in which fantasy and reality overlap. Be amazed by the spectacular and familiar works that have inspired generations.


In the press

"Gustave Doré, it has always seemed to me, was a motion-picture art director born before his time . . . his influence on many directors was immense."

Gustave Doré: Master of Imagination is the first comprehensive retrospective devoted to this tremendous artist. To showcase Doré’s great artistic diversity, this exhibition includes prints, drawings, paintings and sculptures ranging from remarkable panoramas to intimate studies on paper.

Doré applied his talents to different genres, creating large-scale canvases and enormous Baroque sculptures, as well as insightful ink drawings and detailed engravings. Unswayed by new trends, Doré was guided principally by his own extraordinary imagination and has since become a fertile source of inspiration to many 20th- and 21st-century artists and filmmakers.  At just 15 years of age, Doré began his career as a caricaturist. He later became a professional illustrator, contributing to the birth of the comic strip and the graphic novel. Doré created well known illustrations for classics such as Perrault’s Fairy Tales, Cervantes’ Don Quixote and Dante’s Inferno, as well as his extraordinary edition of the Bible. Doré also revived history painting to depict the disasters of the Franco-Prussian War from 1870–1871 and the consequent loss of his native Alsace.

Discover the inventiveness of this ardent and prolific artist who captured the intensity of nature and created otherworldly realms of fantasy.  Enter the world of Gustave Doré: Master of Imagination.

Organized by the National Gallery of Canada in collaboration with the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

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