Edmond Dulac

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Biography of Edmond Dulac ( 1882-1953 )

Dulac was born in 1882 in a bourgeois family from Toulouse. His father, a draper by profession, sometimes restored paintings and his uncle was importer of oriental works of art: Japanese prints, Persian and Indian miniatures.

In 1899, Dulac obtained his baccalaureate and entered to the University of Toulouse in law. He also attended the Toulouse School of Fine Arts where he received many awards during the year 1900. This success encouraged him to leave the university and to fully follow the academic teaching of the Fine Arts School of Toulouse.

In 1902, he won a small municipal painting prize with the « Marcus painting in the marshes of Minturne ». While perfecting his training, Edmond began illustrative work for programs or magazines such as "The Effort", "The Telegram" or "The Latin Soul". In 1903, he received the second prize of municipal painting, also said Suau price for his painting « Salammbo in the tent of Matho », after the novel by Gustave Flaubert. A scholarship accompanied this prize and allowed him to go to Paris where he entered the Julian Academy. In 1904 he exhibited the portrait of his grandmother at the Spring Salon, a painting he presented in Toulouse in 1903. But Dulac was disappointed by the style that was taught at the Julian Academy and only attended classes three weeks before moving to England.

He arrived in England at the age of 22, and got an illustrator contract. At that time the book industry flourished thanks to technical developments that increased productivity and reduced costs. Upon his arrival, Edmund Dulac was hired by "Pall Mall Magazine" but also by the publisher J. M. Dent for which he illustrated the entirety of the works of the Brontë sisters. His work then drew the attention of Leicester galleries in London who commissioned illustrations for the "Arabian Nights: Stories from the Arabian Nights". The editors Hodder & Stoughton, seduced by his work, saw him as another Arthur Rackham who was then an admired illustrator. In 1907, Dulac was contracted to Hodder & Stoughton, who then published works whose original illustrations, most of them watercolors, were exhibited at Leicester Galleries. Dulac followed a successful period when he joined the very famous London Sketch Club.

Dulac became a naturalized British Citizen on 17th February 1912, and during the First World War, he contributed to a number of relief books. As a great lover of Japanese prints and Persian miniatures, Dulac showed this taste in the illustrations for "Princess Badoura" (1913) and "Simbad the Sailor and other Tales from the Arabian Nights" (1914). In 1940, Dulac was introduced to General de Gaulle in London and then made the stamps of the colonies rallied to France.

Dulac’s work spread into a number of other areas, including newspaper caricatures, theatre costume and set design, medals, and even postage stamps – including those issued to celebrate the coronation of King George VI (1937) and the Summer Olympics (1948). He also designed the ‘1s 3d value stamp’ of the set issued to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Sadly, he passed-away just before it was issued.

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