(b. 1848, Damvillers, Meuse, d. 1884, Paris)


French painter, printmaker, and sculptor. Bastien-Lepage grew up on a farm. Although his earliest efforts in drawing were encouraged, his parents violently objected when he decided to become a professional artist. To mollify them he worked for a time as a postal clerk in Paris while studying at the École des Beaux-Arts. In 1868 he left the civil service and was accepted into Alexandre Cabanel's atelier. During this apprenticeship, Bastien-Lepage won two prizes in drawing, and in 1870 he made his début at the Salon with a Portrait of a Young Man (untraced).

In the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) he joined a regiment of sharpshooters and was severely wounded in the chest. When he recovered he attempted unsuccessfully to find work as an illustrator. A pastiche of Watteau was accepted at the Salon in 1873, and two further canvases in 1874.

In 1875 he won second place in the competition for the Prix de Rome. He was a close friend of Zola and painted in a naturalist style, comparable to that of Courbet and Millet. He was notably successful at the Salon of 1878.

Between 1879 and 1882 he traveled annually to London where he met Burne-Jones and Clausen. In 1881 he traveled to Venice and in 1884 to Algier. He died of cancer in 1884.

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