The Wood Gatherer by Léon-Jean-Basile Perrault

  • This charming oil on canvas was composed by the famed French Academic painter Léon Perrault
  • The artist specialized in domestic subjects, particularly the innocence of children
  • This monumental work of a girl with her bundle of firewood is typical of the master
  • One of the most celebrated and exhibited artists of his generation, his works are highly prized
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-5659

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Léon-Jean-Basile Perrault
1832-1908 | French

The Wood Gatherer

Signed and dated "L-Perrault 1880" (lower right)
Oil on canvas

This monumental oil on canvas is the work of French Academic master Léon-Jean-Basile Perrault. Appealing both in its subject matter and its masterful execution, it exemplifies a favorite subject of Academic artists such as Perrault and William-Adolphe Bouguereau – the peasant girl. Perrault specialized in portraying children in realistically composed scenes of innocence and domesticity, and this work of a girl with her bundle of firewood is typical of the Academic master. The composition in its entirety boasts exceptionally luminous coloration, a distinctive hallmark of Perrault’s work and of the French Academy.

Perrault’s training began under the tutelage of academic painter François-Édouard Picot, and he later became a student of his close friend William-Adolphe Bouguereau, the artist who epitomized 19th-century Academic art. Perrault made his public debut at the Paris Salon of 1861 with his work Le Vieillard et les Trois Jeunes Hommes (The Old Man and the Three Young Men), for which he received an honorable mention.

His sentimental and idealized works were immensely popular among the Parisian bourgeoisie, and Perrault enjoyed a successful career during a time when Academic art was at its height, dominating the Salons and widely collected by the upper classes. Following tumultuous political and social uprising in the 1840s, the French public sought refuge in artistic works that returned to classical subjects and depictions of beauty. Perrault’s images, often showing domestic scenes of childhood innocence, satisfied the public’s craving for delicate and traditional compositions. 

Earning medals and honors from not only the Salon, but also Expositions Universelles and exhibitions in Vienna, London, Boston and Philadelphia, Perrault enjoyed great success in his lifetime. He was named Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 1887, and was appointed as Diplômât d'honneur to Vienna, Philadelphia and London.

Dated 1880

Canvas: 45 3/4" high x 35 1/4" wide
Frame: 60 1/2" high x 48" wide
The Wood Gatherer by Léon-Jean-Basile Perrault
Maker: Perrault, Léon-Jean-Basile
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: France
Type: Paintings
Depth: 5.0 Inches
Width: 48.0 Inches
Height: 60.5 Inches
Style: Academic
Canvas Width: 35.25 Inches
Canvas Height: 45.75 Inches
The Wood Gatherer by Léon-Jean-Basile Perrault
The History of Academic Art and the Salon

Art of the 19th century was ruled by the academic tradition. The term “Academic art” is used to refer to art sanctioned by the established institutions of Europe, particularly the French Academy and the 19th-century Salons. Usu...

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