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Jules Bastien-Lepage – Biography

The French painter, Jules Bastien-Lepage, was one of the main contributors to naturalism that had later led to the rise of the Realist movement.

Jules Bastien-Lepage
Jules Bastien-Lepage

He had blended the contemporary approach and brought out a subject matter based on everyday lives.

Jules Bastien-Lepage Paintings

The landscapes were painted en Plein air and characterized an Impressionist style. The figures would be painted with a clear and firm outline and had been modeled strongly. There was a traditional art practice

Jules Bastien-Lepage

The everyday life subject matter was treated by him in the same manner as the nobility and dignity as the serious history painting.

Early Life of Jules Bastien-Lepage

Jules had been born on the 1st of November, 1848 in Damvillers of Meuse, France. He was first taught by his father who was himself an artist. However, he had received his first formal training at Verdun. He was prompted by the love of art and went to Paris in 1867.

He got admitted under Cabanel to the Ecole des Beaux-arts. He would rarely attend classes and spent most of the time working alone.

Jules Bastien-Lepage

His parents had violently objected to the idea when he expressed his plan of becoming a professional artist. That is why he also worked as a postal clerk in Paris. He was accepted into Alexander Cabanel’s atelier in 1868.

Jules Bastien-Lepage: Beginning of Career

Bastein had to fight in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and was wounded. He returned home to paint the villagers and recover from his wounds after the war. The picture that he had created of his grandfather brought him his first success at the Paris Salon in 1874.

Though he had exhibited works in 1870 and 1872, they did not attract any attention. Another work that he had submitted was the Song of Spring.

Jules Bastien-Lepage
Portrait of my Grandfather, 1864

It was an academically oriented study of rural life. The picture represented a peasant girl who was shown to be seated on a knoll above a village and was surrounded by wood nymphs.

One of the most prominent initial success that was received by the artist was through the First Communion in 1875. He even stood second while participating in the Prix de Rome with the Angels appearing to the Shepherds.

Naturalism and Rise to Fame

Bastien-Lepage earned his recognition in France after the success that Haymaking brought him. He became the leader of the emerging Naturalist school. The fame started bringing him prominent commissions.

Jules Bastien-Lepage

He had won the Legion of Honour through the Portrait of Mlle Sarah Bernhardt in 1879. He was even commissioned to paint the Prince of Wales in 1879.

Jules Bastien-Lepage Joan of arc Analysis

He had even exhibited a small portrait of m. Andrieux and also Joan of Arc in 1880, which is now placed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The other famous paintings that he had produced are the Portrait of Albert Wolf and The Beggar in 1881, Love in a Village in 1885, Le Pere Jacques in 1882 and The Forge in 1884, which is also the last dated work.

Jules Bastien-Lepage

The health of the artist was failing and he could not recover it even after trying. He died in Paris on the 10th of December 1884 while he was trying to paint some more rural subjects.

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