In 1873, Doré visited England and was welcomed as a conquering hero. The Prince of Wales and the nobility generally paid him every honor. He was presented to the Queen, and Victoria thanked him for the great work he had done, and asked him to inscribe for her a copy of the “Doré Bible”.More than this, the Queen directed that several Doré pictures be purchased and placed in Windsor Castle. Of course, all Paris knew of Doré’s success in England. Paris laughed. “What did I tell you?” said Berand. And Paris reasoned that what England and America gushed over must necessarily be very bad. The directors of the Salon made excuses for not hanging his pictures.
Doré had become rich, but his own Paris—the Paris that had been a foster mother to him, refused to accredit him the honor which he felt was his due.
In 1878, smarting under the continued jibes and jeers of artistic France, he modelled a statue which he entitled Glory. It represents a woman holding fast in affectionate embrace a beautiful youth, whose name we are informed is Genius. The woman has in one hand a laurel wreath; hidden in the leaves of this wreath is a dagger with which she is about to deal the victim a fatal blow.
Doré grew dispirited, and in vain did his mother and near friends seek to rally him out of the despondency that was settling down upon him. They said, “You are only a little over forty, and many a good man has never been recognized at all until after that—see Millet!”
But he shook his head.
When his mother died in 1881 it seemed to snap his last earthly tie. Of course he exaggerated the indifference there was towards him—he had many friends who loved him as a man and respected him as an artist.
But after the death of his mother he had nothing to live for, and thinking thus, he soon followed her.
He died in 1883, aged fifty years.
Image source: Spitalfields Life.
This article was taken from Little Journey to the Homes of Eminent Painters, by Elbert Hubbard, Published by Putnam’s Sons, New York and London, 1899.