About This Artwork

Jules Adolphe Breton
French, 1827-1906

The Song of the Lark, 1884

Oil on canvas
43 1/2 x 33 3/4 in. (110.6 x 85.8 cm)
Inscribed at lower left: Jules Breton / Courrieres 1884

Henry Field Memorial Collection, 1894.1033

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Paris, Salon, 1885, cat. 369.

Chicago, Worlds Columbian Exhibition: Loan Collection: Foreign Masterpieces Owned in the United States, 1893, no. 3047.

Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum, An Exhibition of Literature and Poetry in Painting Since 1850, January-February, 1933, cat. 8 (ill.).

Los Angeles Art Association, The Song of the Lark by Jules Breton Lent by the Art Institute of Chicago, March 1935, no cat.

Dallas, Museum of Fine Arts, June 1935, no cat.

Denver Art Museum, Spring Quarterly Exhibition: Man at Work, March 2-April 27, 1952, no cat.

Los Angeles, Municipal Art Gallery, Old Favorites Revisited, October 6-November 8, 1959.

Muskegon, Hackley Art Gallery, November 1-30, 1955.

Washington, DC, National Collection of Fine Arts (Smithsonian Institution), American Art in the Barbizon Mood, January 23-April 20, 1975, cat. 1 (ill.).

Omaha, Joslyn Art Museum, Jules Breton and the French Rural Tradition, November 6, 1982-January 2, 1983, cat. 39 (ill.), traveled to Memphis, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, January 16-March 6, 1983 and Williamstown, Sterling and Francine Clark Institute, April 2-June 5, 1983.

Tokyo, Seibu Museum of Art, The Impressionist Tradition: Masterpieces from the Art Institute of Chicago, October 18-December 17, 1985 cat. 12 (ill.), traveled to Fukuoka Art Museum, January 5-February 2, 1986 and Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, March 4-April 13, 1986.

Norfolk, Va., Chrysler Museum, Paris 1889: American Artists at the Universal Exposition, September 29-December 17, 1989, no cat. no. (ill.), traveled to Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts, February 1-April 15, 1990; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, May 6-July 15; and New York Historical Society, September 5-November 15, 1990.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago’s Dream A World’s Treasure: The Art Institute of Chicago 1893-1993, November 1-January 9, 1994, no cat. no., figs. 10, 11, pl. 5.

Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Masterworks of Modern Art from The Art Institute of Chicago, April 20-May 29, 1994, cat. 10 (ill.), traveled to Nagoya, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, June 10-July 1994 and Yokohama Museum of Art, August 6-September 25, 1994.

Yamanahsi Prefectural Museum, Return to Nature: J.F. Millet, the Barbizon Artists, and the Renewal of the Rural Tradition, September 26-December 12, 1998, cat. VI-6 (ill.).

Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Arras, Jules Breton: La chanson des blés, March 16-June 2, 2002, cat. 95 (ill.), traveled to Quimper, France, Musée des Beaux-Arts, June 15-September 8, 2002 and Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland, September 23-December 15, 2002, fig. 175 (cat. 95).

Chicago, David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, Looking and Listening in Nineteenth-Century France, November 6, 2007—March 23, 2008, no. 4 (ill.), fig. 37.

Publication History

“Drift of the Dog Days,” The Collector 4, 16 (1893), p. 247.

“Art Institute of Chicago: II – Modern Paintings: The Henry Field Collection,” Art Amateur 21, 1 (1894), p. 19.

“The Henry Field Memorial Collection,” Art Amateur 31, 6 (1894), p. 115.

Roger Marx, “Le Salon de 1885,” Le Voltaire (May 1, 1885), p. 1.

J. Noulens, “Le Salon de 1885,” La Presse (May 1, 1885), p. 3.

"Pictures at the Salon," New York Times (May 18, 1885), p. 2.

Henry Havard, “Le Salon,” Le Siècle (May 19, 1885), p. 1.

Mario Porth, “Voyage au pays des peintres,” Le Reveil (May 23, 1885), p. 2.

Henry Fouquier, “Le Salon de 1885,” Le Dix-neuvième siècle (May 26, 1885), p. 2.

Herni Chantavoine, “Le Salon de 1855,” La Nouvelle Revue 34 (May 1885), pp. 591-92.

André Michel, “Le Salon de 1885,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts ser. 2, 31 (June 1885), p. 490.

G. Dumas, Catalogue illustré du Salon (Paris, 1885), cat. 369.

Henry Havard, Salon de 1885 (Paris, 1885), p. 44.

Charles Ponsonaille, “Le Salon de 1885,” L’Artiste 1 (1885), pp. 347-8.

Théodore Véron, Dictionnaire Véron (Paris, 1885), p. 88.

William M. R. French, “The Permanent Collections in the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago,” Brush and Pencil 1, 4 (1898), pp. 81, 84 (ill.).

Brush and Pencil 3 (1898), p. 287 (ill.).

“Chicago, ILL.: The Art Institute of Chicago,” in American Art Annual 1898 (London, 1899), p. 140, no. 1.

Marius Vachon, Jules Breton (Paris, 1899), pp. 129, 145.

Frederick Clifton Pierce, Field Genealogy, vol. 2 (Chicago: Hammond Press, 1901), pp. 709, 711, no. 1 (ill.).

F. E. Cluit, “The Art of Jules Breton,” Brush and Pencil 18 (1906), p. 108 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Guide to the Paintings in the Permanent Collection (Chicago, 1925), p. 58 (ill.).

Vincent van Gogh, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh to His Brother vol. 2 (1927), p. 488.

Have You Seen America’s Best Loved Picture ‘The Song of the Lark’? (Chicago, 1934), n.p., ill.

Los Angeles Art Bulletin (March, 1935), ill.

Charles Fabens Kelley, “Chicago: Record Years,” The Art News 51, 4 (1952), p. 106.

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Brief Guide to the Collections (Chicago, 1956), p. 33.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Picture Collection (Chicago, 1961), p. 58.

Frederick A. Sweet, “Great Chicago Collectors,” Apollo 84 (September 1966), pp. 190-91, fig. 3.

John Maxon, The Art Institute of Chicago (New York, 1970), pp. 90-94.

Michael Quick, “Homer in Virginia,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art Bulletin 26 (1978), pp. 76, 78, 81, fig. 29.

Richard Brettell, French Salon Artists 1800-1900 (Chicago, 1987), pp. 106-109 (ill.), 117.

Linda Nochlin, “Women, Art, and Power,” in Visual Theory: Painting and Interpretation (New York, 1991), p. 30.

Maureen Ryan, “The Peasant’s Bonds to Gaul, God, Land and Nature: The Myth of the Rural and Jules Breton’s Le Chant de l’alouette,” RACAR Revue d’art canadienne/Canadian Art Review 19, 1-2 (1992), pp. 79-96, fig. 1.

Stephen Eskilson, “Contesting the Canon(s): ‘The Song of the Lark’ and the Art Institute of Chicago,” Journal of the History of Collections 15, 2 (2003), pp. 257-265, fig. 1.

Janis P. Stout, “‘The Nude Had Descended the Staircase’: Katherine Anne Porter Looks at Willa Cather Looking at Modern Art,” in Sarah Cheney Watson and Ann Moseley, eds., Willa Cather and Aestheticism: From Romanticism to Modernism (Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press and Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012), p. 160.

Ownership History

Bought from the artist by George A. Lucas, Paris, for Samuel P. Avery in 1885 [this and the following information according to Omaha 1982-83]; sold to Henry Field (died 1890), Chicago, 1885; by descent to his wife, Mrs. Florence Lathrop Field; transferred to the Art Institute in October 1894; given to the Art Institute, 1916.

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