Nothing Doing by Jules Bastien-Lepage was created in 1882 and the painting is in Scottish National Gallery Edinburgh. The size of the work is 133,4 x 89,6 cm and is made of oil on canvas.
A young boy looks directly out of the painting clad in raggedy clothes and large unlaced boots. His relaxed air fits the title which is an abbreviation of the French slang: ‘Il n’y a pas meche‘ meaning ‘There’s nothing doing’. The whip he holds and the horn slung on his back suggest that he was a barge boy who would have controlled the horses pulling the barge and alerted the lockmasters of its imminent arrival. The painting was made for the London art dealers Arthur Tooth and Sons and was included in the artist’s memorial exhibition held in Paris in 1885. Read more in Scottish National Gallery.
About the Artist: Jules Bastien-Lepage was a French painter closely associated with the beginning of naturalism, an artistic style that emerged from the later phase of the Realist movement. Bastien-Lepage was born in the village of Damvillers, Meuse, and spent his childhood there. His first teacher was his father, himself an artist. His first formal training was at Verdun. Prompted by a love of art, he went to Paris in 1867, where he was admitted to the École des Beaux-arts, working under Cabanel. He was awarded first place for drawing, but spent most of his time working alone, only occasionally appearing in class.
His initial success was confirmed in 1875 by the First Communion, a picture of a little girl minutely worked up in manner that was compared to Hans Holbein, and a Portrait of M. Hayern. In 1875, he took second place in the competition for the Prix de Rome with his Angels appearing to the Shepherds, exhibited again at the Exposition Universelle in 1878. Read more…