Durand was born in Düsseldorf to French parents. He trained in Paris under the painter Léon Cogniet, and then worked in Paris in the 1860s for many of the leading French illustrated newspapers of the time, including L'Univers Illustré, L'Illustration, Le Monde Illustré and Le Journal Illustré. He also had work published in the Illustrated News of the World in 1859. He moved permanently to London in 1869 to take up full-time illustrative work for the newly established illustrated weekly newspaper The Graphic, where he became a "special artist." The obituary by his former employer noted how he had been with the British newspaper "from its inception" on 4 December 1869 for several decades until the 1890s. He exhibited Un Coup de Canon (1870) at the Suffolk Street Gallery, London in a mixed 'Exhibition for the Benefit of the Distressed Peasantry of France' held to raise funds for those affected by the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. His watercolour Siege of Paris, 1871 Montmartre during the sortie of January 19th was shown at the Royal Society of British Artists in London in 1873. One of his Franco-Prussian War illustrations was republished in the newly launched Belgian weekly newspaper L'Illustration Européenne in 1870. He died in Paris in 1896.
Drawings by Durand are held by the Royal Collection and the William Morris Gallery, London.
- 'At Home and Abroad: The Late M. G. Durand', The Graphic, 3 October 1896, p.422; 'Art Notes', Pall Mall Gazette, 3 October 1896, p.3.
- For example, French troops encamped at Toulon before embarking for Genoa; 14 May 1859, p.300.
- The Graphic, 14 January 1871, p.39.
- Blessés Français rentrant dans Paris, 31 December 1870, p. 53.
- Archives de Paris, acte de décès n°2122 dressé le 28/09/1896, vue 3 / 28[permanent dead link]
- Rodney K. Engen, Dictionary of Victorian Wood Engravers (1985), p. 78.
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