Walter Frederick Osborne, Irish, 1859-1903
Title: Apple Gathering, Quimperlé
Date: 1883
Medium: Oil on canvas
58 x 46 cm
Signed: lower left: Walter Osborne, Quimperle, 1883
Credit Line: Bequeathed, 1940
Object Number: NGI.1052
DescriptionWalter Osborne was a pupil at the Royal Hibernian Academy Schools from 1876, and went to Antwerp in 1881 to continue his studies. From 1883 to 1884 he was in Brittany. It was a short stay, but proved to be a most productive one. The painting of children apple-picking in Quimperlé is one of a number of Breton rural scenes executed during this visit.

In the foreground a young girl in peasant costume is shaking loose the apples from the tree with the aid of a long stick. Behind her, a second figure, bent low, picks the ripened fruit already scattered on the ground.
Dominating the background is the local church. Several artists in the district painted the church as seen from the entrance, but Osborne chooses the view facing the clock tower.

The picture, which quietly celebrates the dignity of rural labour, recalls the art of Millet. It is also influenced by the work of Bastien Lepage in terms of the predominantly grey-green palette and the suggestion of the 'square brush' technique in the middle-distance of the composition.

(National Gallery of Ireland: Essential Guide, 2008)
ProvenanceBequeathed, Patrick Sherlock, 1940
Exhibition HistoryRoyal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 1884

Autumn Exhibition, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1884

Ierse Schilders der 19e en 20e eeuw, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1951

Post-Impressionism, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1979-1980

The Peasant in French 19th Century Art, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, 1980

Walter Osborne, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; Ulster Museum, Belfast, 1983-1984

The Irish Impressionists: Irish Artists in France and Belgium 1850-1914, National
Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 9 October - 18 November 1984; Ulster Museum, Belfast, 1 February - 10 March 1985

Frank O'Meara, Hugh Lane Municipal Art Gallery, Dublin, 1989

Onlookers in France: Irish Realist and Impressionist Painters, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, 1 October - 22 November 1993

French 19th and 20th Century Paintings from the National Gallery of Ireland: Corot to Picasso, Daimaru Museum, Tokyo, 5 September - 17 September 1996; Daimaru Museum, Kyoto, 10 October - 22 October 1996; Kawaguchiko Museum of Art, Yamanashi, 26 October - 2 December 1996; Daimaru Museum, Umeda,Osaka, 22 January - 9 February 1997; Aomori Municpal Gallery of Art, Aomori, 2 April - 20 April 1997

Peintres Irlandais en Bretagne, Musée de Pont-Aven, 26 June - 27 September 1999

Irish Painters in Brittany, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, 15 May - 7 July 2001
Label TextQuimperlé was one of a select group of villages and towns in Brittany that provided accommodation and painting opportunities for cosmopolitan artists visiting in the late nineteenth century. Osborne worked in Quimperlé in autumn 1883, probably in the company of the English artist Blandford Fletcher. Clearly visible in the background of this painting is the belltower of the church of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption, itself a popular subject among artists. This charming scene of quiet activity in an orchard resembles many studies of streets, farmyards and kitchen gardens Osborne produced in France, England and Ireland.

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