Julien Dupré was one of the leading artists in the influential school of late nineteenth century French landscape painters. Born in Paris, he made his debut at the Salon in 1876, and until 1881 painted solely landscape. After this date he adopted the rustic genre with which he was to become identified. The popularity of this genre, the portrayal of rural life, peasants working in the fields, reflects the growing interest, following the industrial revolution, in life on the land, an interest predominantly found amongst the growing tide of town and city dwellers.
The peasant subjects of Jean Francois Millet (1814-1875) are treated with the same grandeur and monumentality as would be a classical or historical scene while the works of the influential Jules Bastien Lepage (1848-1884) promote the theme of social realism and the art of painting ‘en plein air’. With the work of Julien Dupré this genre becomes more approachable, a melting pot of romanticism and social realism portraying the peasant way of life as being close to nature, a life of honest labour being a worthy existence, and not forgetting the food with which this way of life supplies the patron and city dweller. Julien Dupré and his softer ‘plein air’ style was influential to succeeding generations of European artists. He exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon being awarded medals in 1880, 1881 and 1889 and was created a Legion d’Honneur in 1892.
His works can be found in museums in: Carcassone; Grenoble; Le Mans; Paris; New York; St. Louis and Prague.
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Bibliography: E. Bénézit “Dictionnaire des Peintres”