Julien Dupré (French, 1851-1910)
Julien Dupré (French, 1851-1910)

Au retour de la moisson

Details
Julien Dupré (French, 1851-1910)
Au retour de la moisson
signed and dated 'Julien Dupre _ 1880' (lower right)
oil on canvas
36½ x 51 in. (92.8 x 129.5 cm.)
Painted in 1880
Provenance
Possibly Ch. Leroun.
Exhibited
Possibly Paris, Salon, no. 1297 as Glaneuses.

Lot Essay

Born in Paris in 1851, Julien Dupré received his artistic training the academic studios of Isidore Pils, Desire-Francois Laugée and Henri Lehman. He exhibited his first painting, La moisson, en Picardie, (no. 731) in the Paris Salon of 1876 and exhibited regularly at the Salon until his death in 1910. Dupré was critically acclaimed during his lifetime and was awarded a gold medal at the Paris World Fair of 1889. His fame spread throughout Europe and he also found a strong market in the United States. In 1891, Marion H. Speilman described Dupré as "one of the most rising artists of the French School. He is individual in his work, accurate as an observer, earnest as a painter, healthy in his instincts and intensely artistic in his impressions and translations of them. He is always one of the attractions at the Salon". (M. H. Speilman, "The White Cow", The Magazine of Art, 1891, vol. 14, p. 415).

Dupré is now regarded as the leading exponent of the second-generation Realist painters, whose depictions of the toils of the French peasants were true to the ideals of Jean-François Millet and Jules Breton. The Social Realists were academically trained painters who nostalgically turned to the life of the French rural field laborers and farm workers for subjects untainted by the progress of the industrial age. For the Social Realist painters, the peasant was the embodiment of the most fundamental and consistent element in human society. Dupré's career was spent depicting the essence of rural life.

Au retour de la moisson is a classic example of Dupré's own artistic vision. Unlike Millet and Breton, Dupré paints his figures in action, enhanced by varied landscapes and dynamic skies. The main figures in the present painting are brought up close to the picture plane, emphasizing their majestic quality. Three women are depicted in various stages of lifting their sheaves of wheat, echoed and framed by the struggles of the two smaller figures in the background. A winding path cuts through the landscape, leading to the gathering clouds in the overcast skies. The dynamic force of nature, shown in the much freer handling of the sky, is further enhanced by the tighter handling of the three main figures.

Howard L. Rehs will include this work in his forthcoming Dupré catalogue raisonné.
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