Jules Breton.

Jules Breton The Wounded Seagull

Artists We Admire.

Jules Breton was born on May 1, 1827 in rural France.His father was a land manager for a wealthy landowner in and near the small village called Courrieres. Bretons mother died whilst ne was 4 years old so he was brought up by his father and other family members who lived in the same house. Two people who were a great influence upon him lived there also these were his maternal grandmother and his uncle Boniface Breton. A respect for the tradition agrarian lifestyle, a love of the land in his native region and a deep understanding of the dignity of labor remained central to his art throughout his life and provided the artist with many scenes for his successful and popular salon compositions in his later career.

Breton’s paintings were very popular especially in the USA where at the turn of the century they had a particular resonance and nostalgic romance to a society in flux from a rural society to an industrial one.

In 1886, Breton was elected as member of the Institut de France on the death of Baudry. In 1889 he was made commander of the Legion of Honour, and in 1899 foreign member of the Royal Academy of London. He also wrote several books.

Breton was the consummate painter of rustic French life, drawn mainly from his time in the province of Artois. However he moved his studio three times for short periods: in 1864 he moved to Provence, and in 1865 and 1873 to the rock shores of Brittany, from where he derived some of his finest studies of religious scenes. His numerous subjects may be divided generally into four distinct categories: labor and the dignity of such, rest and the rural idyll, agrarian traditions and festivals and religious ceremonies.

Breton’s work sadly became eclipsed by the avant-garde movements of the 20th century, and he was, sadly forgotten in the rush to embrace the new wave of impressionism. He was not the first or last of the realist painters to be swept aside but fortunately in the first part of the 20th century there has been a reassessment of the work of most of these painters and Kings Galleries has been a strong defender and instigator of this enlightenment.