Painting : October Saison D'Octobre (1878) by Jules Bastien-Lepage (French), oil on canvas 180.7 x 196 cm • Location : NGV, Melbourne • Time : 8 minutes • Medium : Colour pencil on sketch book
Notes : Painted at the artist's native village of Damvillers in the Meuse Valley (northeast of Paris), October represents the annual potato harvest in a bleak autumnal landscape. Inspired by the examples of Jean-François Millet and Gustave Courbet, Jules Bastien-Lepage set out to paint rural life as he knew it, not only celebrating the dignity of the peasants but also depicting their hardships. Now considered a realist, Jean Bastien-Lepage despised city painters who sentimentalised country life. Like CamilleCorot, he combined elements of plein-air Impressionism with a controlled approach to technical finish, thus rendering the subject palatable to Salon audiences. A huge popular success, he was awarded the Légion d'Honneur as result.