John Leslie Breck (1860-1899)
Apple Trees
signed 'John. L. Breck' (lower right)
oil on canvas
18 x 21¾ in. (45.7 x 55.2 cm.)
Painted circa 1889.
Vance Jordan Fine Art, Inc., New York.
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1999.
(Probably) Boston, Massachusetts, St. Botolph Club, Paintings by John Leslie Breck, November 1890, no. 26.
New York, Society of American Artists, Fifteenth Annual Exhibition, April 17-May 13, 1893, no. 140.

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Lot Essay

John Leslie Breck's earliest Impressionist paintings were produced in Giverny, France, where he was among the first Americans to discover the charms of this village on the River Epte. In 1887 Breck promoted the village among his fellow American students at the Académie Julian in Paris, many of whom also settled there, including artists Theodore Butler, Willard Metcalf, Theodore Robinson and Theodore Wendel, among others. Notice of this vanguard group of American Impressionists appeared swiftly in the press. The same year, in October 1887, a critic for The Art Amateur suggested that the development of an Impressionist expatriate style was immediate and profound: "Quite an American colony has gathered, I am told, at Givernay [sic], seventy miles from Paris, on the Seine, the home of Claude Monet, including Louis Ritter, W. L. Metcalf, Theodore Wendell [sic], John Breck, and Theodore Robinson of New York. A few pictures just received from these young men show that they have got the blue-green color of Monet's impressionism and 'got it bad.'" (Anonymous, "Boston Art and Artists." The Art Amateur, 17, no. 5, (October 1887), p. 93, as quoted in R.H. Love, Theodore Earl Butler: Emergence from Monet's Shadow, Chicago, Illinois, 1985, p. 59)

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