Jean-Marie Villard

The Twilight , circa 1870
Oil on canvas
Signed lower right
Size: 95×75
With frame: 120 x 100 cm

For this painting, the large dimensions of the canvas give all its importance to landscape painting. The painter represents the nature of the humid twilight, when the colors of the day blend with those of the night. The manner of the painter shows that he is still in the tradition of landscape painting and already in the modernist touch of painting.

The academic character of the canvas is based on the choice to let the gaze escape with the help of a perspective in the background, or even on the fact of adding a narrative anecdote with figures, here cows and their shepherdess. The modernist touch is based on the way the painter paints the trees. If one approaches, one observes a raised touch, effects of movement in the foliage and a color palette close to the future trees of the Impressionists and later, of the Nabis.

Around 1850, the Breton Jean-Marie Villard went to Paris and studied with Charles Gleyre. He exhibited at the Salon from 1861 to 1878. After the siege of Paris in 1870, he returned to Finistère and became a drawing teacher in Quimper. Art history remembers him as a painter of portraits, animated landscapes and seascapes, who became the interpreter of the Brittany coast around Douardenez and Quimper. The painter liked to depict figures going about their rural occupations, in the poetic register of Jean-François Millet.


  • Jean Marie Villard 1838-1899, Town Hall of Douarnenez, 1993
  • Salon of French Artists, 1864

The Quimper museum preserves several works by the artist:

  • La Halte , Quimper Fine Arts Museum
  • Breton Interior , 1870, Quimper Museum of Fine Arts
  • The Railwayman , 1885, 70 cm x 95 cm
  • Woman on the way to the Plomarchs , 1890, 47 cm x 31 cm
  • The Rocks of Kerleguer , 1878, Quimper Fine Arts Museum