In October 1868 he came first in the competition for admission to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and went on to become a major figure of the Salon after receiving the third-class medal in 1874. His portraits and figure paintings were always eagerly awaited by the critics, and regularly reviewed. They brought him much recognition, and several paintings were bought by the State.
Bastien-Lepage owed his success to the originality of his works which reflect a remarkable synthesis of the influence of his training and the most innovatory movements of the time. From the 1870s on, he brought together, above all, the realism of rural life and grand tradition, whilst also using lighter colours and dynamic compositions in the style of the new Impressionism.
This retrospective is an opportunity to see a significant series of his creative works, and to recognise today the fundamental role which his contemporaries had already attributed to him.
Serge Lemoine, President of the Musée d'Orsay
Dominique Lobstein, archivist, Musée d'Orsay.
Exhibition organised with the Conseil Général de la Meuse