Miners on strike in the Nord-Pas de Calais coalfield in 1880, a painting which may well have inspired Émile Zola to write his most popular novel, ‘Germinal’.
His masterpiece is a prime example of Naturalism, but he was a close friend of Degas and Renoir, and a major patron and collector of Impressionism.
After a series of major paintings in the 1890s, he devoted himself to print-making. An aviation enthusiast, he painted ballooning, and an early air ambulance.
Trained in the same studio as Bastien-Lepage and Gervex, he emerged a bitter critic of academic painting. He painted several masterpieces of Naturalism.
1882 was a remarkably productive year for him, with a succession of major works, including landscapes, and Naturalist paintings which were dominant long after his death.
A detailed look at his paintings of the rural poor which led up to Naturalism, and how he used a compositional formula so successfully.
His paintings of markets, including Paris’s famous Les Halles, are superb, as are his pastels.
Little-known now, and only for his paintings of harvesters and gleaners, in his day he was at the leading edge of the Naturalist revolution, painting scientists.
From 1880, artists concentrated on social aspects of work. They questioned whether young children should be at work, and the role of the worker in society.
With the Industrial Revolution, painters started to depict the furnaces and factories which grew rapidly across Europe and North America. This selection runs to 1879.