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Jules Bastien-Lepage

(1848 Damvillers - 1884 Paris)

Faucheurs à Damvillers. Etching with drypoint on Chine appliqué. 19.6 x 26 cm. Signed. 1879. Inventaire du Fonds Français 1.

Jules Bastien-Lepage, a painter from Damvillers near Verdun, was raised in a family of affluent farmers, studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and then worked in the studio of Alexandre Cabanel. From the 1870s onwards he exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon; he was also awarded several medals and won the second prize in the Prix de Rome competition. A posthumous exhibition held in the École des Beaux-Arts immediately after his premature death provides a survey of the young painter and etcher’s oeuvre, which also includes a number of bronze sculptures. The surviving early works by Bastien-Lepage consist of rural scenes from the area where he was born and of sensitive portraits, which are clearly influenced by the style of his teacher, Alexandre Cabanel. The present etching showing two reapers illustrates the arduous labour performed by the peasants from his native region. An early, contrasting impression with strong an inky plate tone and wiping marks. With a dedication to Hector Giacomelli in the artist’s own hand and with Giacomelli’s collector stamp (L.1311). Rare.

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