Alexandre Dumas, <i>père</i>

Alexandre Dumas, père

A carte-de-visite portrait of the French author Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), called père to distinguish him from his son of the same name.

Best known for his numerous historical novels of high adventure, Alexandre Dumas, père, is one of the most widely read French authors in the world. Many of his novels, including The Three Muskateers (1844), The Man in the Iron Mask (properly only the last third of a longer novel written in 1847), and The Count of Monte Cristo (1845-46) were serialized, and he also wrote plays, magazine articles, and was a prolific correspondent.

Dumas made extensive use of the aid of a ‘fiction factory’, numerous collaborators of which Auguste Maquet was the best known. It was Maquet who outlined the plot of The Count of Monte Cristo and made substantial contributions to The Three Musketeers and its sequels, as well as several of Dumas’s other novels. When working together, Maquet proposed plots and wrote drafts, while Dumas added the details, dialogues, and the final chapters.

Alexandre Dumas’s paternal grandparents were a Marquis serving the French government in the colony of Saint-Dominique (now part of Haiti) and a black slave, Marie-Césette Dumas, which in the language of his time made him a ‘quadroon’.

Dumas fils was his illegitimate son.

Photographed by Gustave Le Gray of Paris. The portrait is mentioned in the BNF catalogue (p. 372, cat. no. 172). Another pose (from the same sitting?) is published in the Getty catalogue of the 2002 exhibition.


Code: 124336
© Paul Frecker 2022