Jules

Breton

Artistic period 1851 to 1900

Nationality

French

Birth

1827 (Courrières)

Death

1906 (Paris)

Biography

Jules Adolphe Aimé Louis Breton (* May 1, 1827 in Courrières, Département Pas-de-Calais; † July 5, 1906 in Paris) was a French painter.

Breton was a pupil of Felix de Vigne together with Lievin de Winne. Later he moved to the studio of Michel-Martin Drolling. Inspired by his teachers, Breton borrowed the fabrics of his first paintings from the rural circles around him. He painted the citizens and peasants of the old province of Artois (Département Pas-de-Calais) in their everyday lives, mostly in the great outdoors; but these simple motifs, through delicate inspiration and harmonious fusion of figures and landscape, he knew how to give a great charm, sometimes even a high nobility and a grandeur of style.

His colouring is atmospheric and strong, his modelling sharp and plastic. He did not gain full recognition until 1857 with his painting The Blessing of the Fields, now in the Palais de Luxembourg; his ear-readers of 1859 are also there. In the same year he completed his planting of a Calvary and a humorous painting The Blue Monday, depicting women fetching their husbands from the tavern.

In 1858 he married a daughter of his former teacher Felix de Vigne in Paris. Virginie Demont-Breton (1859-1935) was his daughter and pupil.

In 1861 he exhibited the works Weed weederinnen und Raps durchsiebenendes Mädchen, 1864 Weinlese und Weidende Truthennen hütendes Mädchen. His main work is the painting Reapers looking at the setting sun from 1865. At the 1867 World Fair there were reapers sharpening their scythes and springs by the sea, women and children.

His awards include election as a member of the Académie des beaux-arts in Paris in 1886 and election as an honorary member (Hon. RA) of the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 1899.

At the age of over 79, Jules Breton died on 5 July 1906 in Paris and found his final resting place on the Cimetière Montparnasse next to his friend Charles Leconte de Lisle.