Lot 4
  • 4

Jules Breton

40,000 - 60,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Jules Breton
  • La récolte
  • signed Jules Breton (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 11 7/8 by 19 1/4 in.
  • 30 by 49 cm


Private Collection (acquired directly from the artist according to family memory)
Thence by descent

Catalogue Note

La récolte, like so many of Jules Breton’s oil sketches, is remarkable in its vitality, the artist's signature suggesting his own satisfaction with the preparatory work. In a composition divided by a wide band of golden field and pale sky, the shadowed fieldworkers stand out; the quick brushwork defines the athletic work of the harvesters, who bend low to the ground, opening their arms wide to gather dried stalks and bracing the body as tall stacks of grain are formed. Given the subject, the present work may have been painted during Breton's second visit to the farmlands of Cernay-la-Ville from July to August 1865 (in particular the young boy at the left seems related to a figure in other pencil sketches made during this trip). Breton observed the local harvesters at his leisure, explaining “it was superb. Strong, energetic peasants… in the most interesting of attitudes” (Jules Breton writing to his wife Élodie, July 28, 1865, as quoted in Annette Bourrut Lacouture, Jules Breton, Painter of Peasant Life, New Haven, 2002, p. 126). While Breton captured the harvest in a number of finished oils, it has yet to be determined if the present sketch informed a specific work. However, it is possible La récolte may have been used toward the painting of Breton's Moisson exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1867 (the painting's current location is unknown and no visual and few written accounts remain of it).