Jules Adolphe Aimé Louis Breton (1827- ), French painter, was born on the 1st of May 1827, at Courrières, Pas de Calais, France. His artistic gifts being manifest at an early age, he was sent in 1843 to Ghent, to study under the historical painter de Vigne, and in 1846 to Baron Wappers at Antwerp. Finally he worked in Paris under Drolling. His first efforts were in historical subjects: "Saint Piat preaching in Gaul"; then, under the influence of the revolution of 1848, he represented "Misery and Despair." But Breton soon discovered that he was not born to be a historical painter, and he returned to the memories of nature and of the country which were impressed on him in early youth. In 1853 he exhibited the "Return of the Harvesters" at the Paris Salon, and the "Little Gleaner" at Brussels. Thenceforward he was essentially a painter of rustic life, especially in the province of Artois, which he quitted only three times for short excursions: in 1864 to Provence, and in 1865 and 1873 to Brittany, whence he derived some of his happiest studies of religious scenes. His numerous subjects may be divided generally into four classes: labour, rest, rural festivals and religious festivals.

Among his more important works may be named "Women Gleaning," and "The Day after St Sebastian's Day" (1855), which gained him a third-class medal; "Blessing the Fields" (1857), a second-class medal; "Erecting a Calvary" (1859), now in the Lille gallery; "The Return of the Gleaners" (1859), now in the Luxembourg; "Evening" and "Women Weeding" (1861), a first-class medal; "Grandfather's Birthday" (1862); "The Close of Day" (1865); "Harvest" (1867); "Potato Gatherers" (1868); "A Pardon, Brittany" (1869); "The Fountain" (1872), medal of honour; "The Bonfires of St John" (1875); "Women mending Nets" (1876), in the Douai museum; "A Gleaner" (1877), Luxembourg; "Evening, Finistère" (1881); "The Song of the Lark" (1884); "The Last Sunbeam" (1885); "The Shepherd's Star" (1888); "The Call Home" (1889); "The Last Gleanings" (1895); "Gathering Poppies" (1897); "The Alarm Cry" (1899); "Twilight Glory" (1900). Breton was elected to the Institut in 1886 on the death of Baudry. In 1889 he was made commander of the Legion of Honour, and in 1899 foreign member of the Royal Academy of London. He also wrote several books, among them Les Champs et la mer (1876), Nos peintres du siècle (1900), "Jeanne," a poem, Delphine Bernard (1902), and La Peinture (1904).

See Jules Breton, Vie d'un artiste, art et nature (autobiographical), (Paris, 1890); Marius Vachon, Jules Breton (1899).