Skip Navigation

Fin du travail (The End of the Working Day)

Jules Breton

European Art

Jules Breton portrayed rural laborers, frequently young women, as dignified, majestic, and, above all, poetic. Here, bathed in the glow of the setting sun, three women cross flowering fields, their postures evoking those of ancient classical sculpture. Breton’s rosy sentimentalism and his visions of earthly and female fecundity—produced for the urban gaze—earned him both critical praise and commercial success.

Many critics contrasted what they perceived as Breton’s optimism with Jean-François Millet’s savagery. As one described in 1868, “M. Breton never forgets that he is an artist. . . . He achieves results that are more sympathetic and seductive to the public of the city. He is little smitten with reality and generally horrified by the peasantry. M. Millet, on the other hand, has consistently taken the part of brutal reality.”
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1886–1887
    DIMENSIONS 33 1/16 x 47 1/4in. (84 x 120cm) frame: 45 1/2 x 59 3/8 x 4 3/4 in. (115.6 x 150.8 x 12.1 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed and dated lower right: "Jules Breton/Courrières 1887"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mrs. Edward S. Harkness
    PROVENANCE Circa 1887, acquired from the artist by Bulla Freres et Jouy, Paris, France; September 26, 1887 purchased in Paris from Bulla Freres et Jouy by Knoedler Gallery, London, United Kingdom; February 6, 1889, purchased from Knoedler Gallery by Latham Avery Fish of Brooklyn, NY; September 21, 1909, inherited from Latham Avery Fish by Anna Elizabeth Wood Fish of Brooklyn, NY; between 1911 and 1919, provenance not yet documented; by 1919, acquired by Knoedler Gallery, New York, NY; 1919, purchased from Knoedler Gallery by Edward Harkness of New York; March 8, 1935, gift of Mary Stillman Harkness (Mrs. Edward S. Harkness) to the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Jules Breton (Courrieres, France 1827 – 1806, Paris, France). Fin du travail (The End of the Working Day), 1886–1887. Oil on canvas, 33 1/16 x 47 1/4in. (84 x 120cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Edward S. Harkness, 35.867 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 35.867_PS9.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 35.867_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
    This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement. You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.