(b Strasbourg, 6 Jan. 1832; d Paris, 23 Jan. 1883). French illustrator, painter, and sculptor. He was the most celebrated book illustrator of the mid-19th century and was so prolific that at one time he employed more than forty wood engravers. His best-known works are lavishly illustrated editions of literary classics, including Dante's Inferno (1861), Don Quixote (1862), and the Bible (1866)—works that helped to give European currency to the illustrated book of large format.
Characteristically his style was rich and exuberant, with a strong vein of grotesque fantasy, but he worked in a more sombre and realistic manner in his illustrations for London: A Pilgrimage (1872). In these images he presented the grim life of the poor in a way that was admired by van Gogh among others. Doré had an amazing appetite for work, and in addition to his huge output of illustrations he produced numerous paintings, including some very large religious compositions that became a popular attraction at the Doré Gallery in New Bond Street, London, open from 1868 to 1892 (examples are in the Petit Palais, Paris). In the 1870s he also took up sculpture, his best-known work in this medium being the monument to the dramatist and novelist Alexandre Dumas in the Place Malesherbes in Paris, erected in 1883.
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)