Jules Bastien Lepage France

11-1-1848 Damvillers, FRA - 12-10-1884 Paris, FRA

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Lepage, Jules Bastien

Jules Bastien-Lepage took an early liking to drawing, and his parents fostered his creativity by buying prints of paintings for him to copy.

Jules Bastien-Lepage's first teacher was his father, himself an artist. His first formal training was at Verdun, and prompted by a love of art he went to Paris in 1867, where he was admitted to the École des Beaux-arts, working under Cabanel. He was awarded first place for drawing but spent most of his time working alone, only occasionally appearing in class. Nevertheless, he completed three years at the école. During the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, Bastien fought and was wounded. After the war, he returned home to paint the villagers and recover from his wound. In 1873 he painted his grandfather in the garden, a work that would bring the artist his first success at the Paris Salon.

After exhibiting works in the Salons of 1870 and 1872 which attracted no attention, in 1874 his Portrait of my Grandfather garnered critical acclaim and received a third-class medal. He also showed Song of Spring, an academically-oriented study of rural life.

Jules Bastien-Lepage initial success was confirmed in 1875 by the First Communion, a picture of a little girl minutely worked up in manner that was compared to Hans Holbein, and a Portrait of M. Hayern. In 1875 he took second place in the competition for the Prix de Rome with his Angels appearing to the Shepherds. To the Salon of 1877 he sent a full-length Portrait of Lady L. and My Parents; and in 1878 a Portrait of M. Theuriet and Haymaking (Les Foins). The last picture, now in the Musée d'Orsay, was widely praised by critics and the public alike. It secured his status as one of the first painters in the Naturalist school.

This fame brought him prominent commissions. Jules Bastien-Lepage Portrait of Mlle Sarah Bernhardt (1879), painted in a light key, won him the cross of the Legion of Honor. In 1879 he was commissioned to paint the Prince of Wales. In 1880 he exhibited a small portrait of M. Andrieux and Joan of Arc listening to the Voices now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Between 1880 and 1883 he traveled in Italy. The artist, long ailing, had tried in vain to re-establish his health in Algiers.

Art Movement: Naturalism
Influences: Bastien-Lepage, Alexandre Cabanel
Traveled: Italy, Algeria
Influenced: Claude Monet
From Wikipedia

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