The Weeders

Jules Breton French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 802

This is a smaller variant of a composition Breton painted in 1860 (Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha) and exhibited to wide acclaim at the Salon of 1861 and the World’s Fair of 1867 in Paris. In his autobiography, Breton described this twilight scene of peasants pulling up thistles and weeds—"their faces haloed by the pink transparency of their violet hoods, as if to venerate a fecundating star"—noting that he had discovered the subject as a "finished picture" near his native village, Courrières, in northern France.

The Weeders, Jules Breton (French, Courrières 1827–1906 Paris), Oil on canvas

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