Jules Dupré was born in Nantes on April 15, 1811. His father was an artist who decorated porcelain and held the position of director at several porcelain manufactories. In 1822, Dupré worked for his father as an apprentice porcelain decorator. His early training as an artist was in the industrial arts, as it was for many of his contemporaries. While working with his father, he also executed drawings and paintings from nature.
Dupré was influenced by his close association with DeMarne and Bertin and in 1829 he went to Paris where he further developed as an artist through his friendship with Cabat. Associations with the artists Decamps, Jeanron, and Huet were also formed at this time.
Traveling to Great Britain in 1831, Dupré made a study of the paintings by English landscape artists. He also sketched and returned to France with a portfolio of imagery. His travels did not stop there though and the French provinces also provided great inspiration for the young artist. Early success came when he began exhibiting in the 1830’s and especially in 1833 when four of his works were accepted into the Salon. Official recognition came in 1835 when he exhibited four landscapes at the Salon and received a third-class medal. He also included works in regional exhibitions, which were becoming increasingly important as they supported and promoted local painters and upcoming Parisian artists.
It was at this time that Dupré became a key figure in the Barbizon group. He developed close ties with other Barbizon painters and began to promote relations with independent art dealers. When Dupré showed seven paintings at the 1839 Salon, it was to be his last exhibition, until 1852, and a turning point in his career. This was due to the insensitivity of the jury and the lack of understanding of many of his colleagues. Together with Cabat, Huet, Isabey, Corot, and Rousseau, Dupré organized a petition to change the jury system.
After the 1848 Revolution Dupré became a member the commission created to reorganize the Salon. In 1849, he received the Legion d’honneur and continued to achieve financial success. At this time he reentered the Salon as an exhibitor. In 1867 he exhibited at the Exposition Centennale.
Jules Dupré had fully developed as an artist by the 1870’s and was considered one of the leading landscapists of his time. He continued to paint until his death in 1889.
Selected Museum Collections:
Baltimore, Walters Art Museum; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, McMullen Museum of Art; Chicago, DePaul University Museum; Cincinnati, Art Museum; Cleveland, Museum of Art; London, National Gallery, Wallace Collection; Minneapolis, Institute of Art; New York, Frick Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Paris, Louvre, Mobilier National, Musée d’Orsay; Pasadena, CA, Norton Simon Museum; Rennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts; Saint Petersburg, Hermitage; San Francisco, Fine Arts Museums; Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario; Vic-sur-Seille, Musée Départemental Georges de la Tour; Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art; West Palm Beach, FL, Norton Museum of Art;