Art & Design Magazine

The Pre-Impressionists: Jules Bastien-Lepage

By Adventuresintheprinttrade
Jules Bastien-Lepage was born in Damvillers, Meuse in 1848. After studying under Cabanel at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, Bastien-Lepage became a ground-breaking plein-air painter of realistic rural scenes, influenced by Courbet and the Barbizon School. Essentially a painter, Jules Bastien-Lepage only made 5 etchings himself, under the tutelage of Léopold Flameng, one of which is Retour des champs. In works such as this, Bastien-Lepage updated Millet's spiritual admiration of the peasant class into an unflinching reportage.
The Pre-Impressionists: Jules Bastien-LepageJules Bastien-Lepage, Retour des champsEtching, 1878
Most etchings of the art of Bastien-Lepage are, like this portrait of Sarah Bernhardt, interpretative etchings by others after Bastien-Lepage paintings. In addition to his landscapes, Bastien-Lepage was a sought-after and very accomplished portraitist, though I feel his heart was in his rural scenes.
The Pre-Impressionists: Jules Bastien-LepageRicardo de Los Rios, Sarah BernhardtEtching after Jules Bastien-Lepage, 1879
Jules Bastien-Lepage influenced Manet and the Impressionists, and was especially important to the British plein-air painters who have become known as the British Impressionists, such as George Clausen, Henry Herbert La Thangue, Stanhope Forbes, and James Guthrie.
The Pre-Impressionists: Jules Bastien-LepageHenry Herbert La Thangue, A Study (Boy holding a calf)Lithograph, 1903
Jules Bastien-Lepage made an enormous contribution to art in his short lifetime. He died in 1884, at the age of just 36, a fact which may explain his relative obscurity today.

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