Eugène Druet (1868-1916)
With a merchant’s background, Druet used to run a family café and engaged in photography as an amateur. One of his clients, the sculptor Auguste Rodin, who was very interested in photography, initiated him in the reproduction of artworks.
Starting in 1896, Druet assumed the role of official photographer for Rodin, producing many pictures of his sculptures.
On Rodin’s recommendation he became an art dealer, opening a gallery in 1903 where he sold both the works on display and their photographic reproductions.
In 1904 he organised the first major one-man exhibition of Maurice Denis. Druet’s photographs were renowned among art lovers and photographers as well as the artists themselves. Thanks to the research he carried out into orthochromatic negatives with silver bromide gelatin, he developed a process of his own. Eugène Druet also used Lumière Autochrome plates as soon as they came on the market in 1907.
He is also known for a set of photographs of the dancer Vaslav Nijinski.
He died prematurely at the age of 49 but his gallery survived him, run by his wife until 1938. The following year, François Antoine Vizzavona, also a publisher, photographer and painter, bought Druet’s photographic archives.