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A Peasant Girl Knitting

Jules Breton (French, Courrières 1827–1906 Paris)

Date:
ca. 1870
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
22 5/8 x 18 1/2 in. (57.5 x 47 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Bequest of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, 1887
Accession Number:
87.15.21
  • Gallery Label

    Breton often drew inspiration for his paintings from scenes of peasants and rural life observed in the area around his native village of Courrières. The setting and treatment of the subject here are typical of his artistic approach, which lies between the idealized academicism of Bouguereau and the social realism of Daumier.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed (lower right): Jules Breton

  • Provenance

    Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, New York (until d. 1887)

  • Exhibition History

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Van Gogh as Critic and Self-Critic," October 30, 1973–January 6, 1974, no. 23.

    Omaha. Joslyn Art Museum. "Jules Breton and the French Rural Tradition," November 6, 1982–January 2, 1983, no. 36.

    Memphis, Tenn. Dixon Gallery and Gardens. "Jules Breton and the French Rural Tradition," January 16–March 6, 1983, no. 36.

    Williamstown, Mass. Sterling and Francine Clark Institute. "Jules Breton and the French Rural Tradition," April 2–June 5, 1983, no. 36.

  • References

    The Art Treasures of America. reprint, 1977. New York, 1879, vol. 1, pp. 123–24, 134, calls it "Peasant Girl".

    "The Fine Arts: Recent Gifts to the Metropolitan Museum." Critic (April 16, 1887), p. 194.

    Mrs. Schuyler van Rensselaer. "The Wolfe Collection at the Metropolitan Museum. II." Independent 39 (November 24, 1887), p. 9.

    Walter Rowlands. "The Miss Wolfe Collection." Art Journal, n.s., (January 1889), p. 14.

    Arthur Hoeber. The Treasures of The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York. New York, 1899, p. 79, as "Girl Knitting".

    Frank Fowler. "The Field of Art: Modern Foreign Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum, Some Examples of the French School." Scribner's Magazine 44 (September 1908), p. 382, characterizes the painting as "heavy and dark in color, but honest in sentiment and feeling".

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX Century." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, 1966, pp. 180–81, ill.

    Madeleine Fidell-Beaufort in Hollister Sturges. Jules Breton and the French Rural Tradition. Exh. cat., Joslyn Art Museum. Omaha, 1982, p. 57.

    Gabriel P. Weisberg. "Jules Breton, Jules Bastien-Lepage, and Camille Pissarro in the Context of Nineteenth-Century Peasant Painting and the Salon." Arts Magazine 56 (February 1982), pp. 115–16, fig. 2.

    Gabriel P. Weisberg in Hollister Sturges. Jules Breton and the French Rural Tradition. Exh. cat., Joslyn Art Museum. Omaha, 1982, pp. 90, 135, no. 36, ill. p. 93 (reversed), states that it was one of the first Bretons to enter an American collection and that it is a preliminary study for a larger painting (private collection, Cleveland); remarks that the figure was apparently painted from life since "her facial features are more specific and her pose slightly more ungainly than in the final version".

    Annette Bourrut-Lacouture. Jules Breton: Painter of Peasant Life. Exh. cat., Musée des beaux-arts, Arras. New Haven, 2002, pp. 151, 172 n. 57, fig. 118 (color), calls it "Seated Woman Knitting Under a Tree" and dates it about 1868–70; compares it to the later painting [see Ref. Weisberg 1982, Jules Breton and the French Rural Tradition].



  • Notes

    This painting is a study for a larger canvas (1870; private collection, Cleveland, in 1982) [see Ref. Weisberg 1982, Jules Breton and the French Rural Tradition].

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