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Status, price and estimation of the artist Jules BRETON

Price of a painting by J. Breton at auction: 5,000 – 1,000,000 €.

Estimate for a drawing or watercolour: €1,500 – €15,000

If you wish to have a Jules Breton painting appraised, our painting experts are at your disposal for a free valuation.

From academic to artistic

Unlike most artists, Jules Breton began his studies with a purely academic background, attending the Collège Saint-Bertin and then the Lycée Impérial in Douai before moving to Belgium to further his education. It was only on his return to France, in Paris, that Breton turned to the artistic sector, opting for an education with the masters Vernet and Ingres.

Very quickly, the young Jules turned to painting, finding there a greater freedom than in other media to represent the world that would mark so many of his works: the peasant world.

The year 1865 marked a major artistic turning point for Breton: he discovered the town of Douarnanez in Brittany, to which he would return every summer for five years and then more irregularly. The depth of the landscapes he found there would forever permeate his paintings, particularly those exhibited at the Paris Salon.

Breton’s idealism

Breton wrote in an era of rising industrialisation and political and philosophical upheaval. With these phenomena, the rural exodus exploded and the peasant population increasingly occupied the cities. Intellectuals and the artistic world, unable to remain indefinitely out of touch with social realities, were therefore led, by choice or by the order of things, to take hold of this mass that was so representative of the French people.

For Breton, far from resigning himself to depicting the harshness of working conditions and systematically associating peasantry with ugliness, realism takes the form of morality, which tends to construct an idealized agricultural world in its everydayness. The Bretonian project was therefore characterised by its absolute modernity in that it easily combined a pre-existing movement – realism – with a very personal perspective aimed at inserting a humanist dimension into his works.

 Classical art, universality and Breton

Breton’s art might appear to many as militant art. But what is astonishing is that he became famous quite early on, as he was elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and won a number of medals and other awards. His art, using traditional techniques and emphasising the beauty of the body, appealed to all circles, both academic and public.

Even today, his works are internationally recognised and appreciated for their elegance and commitment. This is evidenced by the record price of a painting by Jules Breton at 1,113,600 euros for Les communiantes, sold in 1884 (Sotheby’s, NY).

Appraise and sell a painting by Jules Breton

If you own a Jules Breton painting or any other sculpture, ask for a free estimate via our online form.

You will then be contacted by a member of our team of experts and auctioneers to give you an independent view of the market price of your painting. In the event of a sale, our specialists will also advise you on the various options available to sell your work at the best price.