Jules Breton (French, 1827-1906),
Two Young Women Picking Grapes (Study for The Vintage at Château Lagrange)
oil on canvas,
Museum purchase, 2012.1
Joslyn recently acquired an important oil study by Jules Breton, Two Women Picking Grapes, 1862, which relates to one of our best-known paintings, The Vintage at Château Lagrange, 1864. Born in the agriculturally-rich Artois region of northern France, Breton never lost his affection for the land and people of his childhood, drawing inspiration from rural traditions throughout his career. The Vintage at Château Lagrange depicts a harvest festival at a vineyard in Southern France. Breton made numerous drawings and oil sketches in the field like Two Women Picking Grapes, which became a study for the central figures of the finished canvas. In his final version, however, Breton added a classical formality that ennobled his subjects and their labor. The Vintage at Château Lagrange was painted as a pendant to Breton's 1860 canvas The Weeders, also a part of Joslyn's remarkable collection of nineteenth-century academic painting.