(b Courrières, Pas-de-Calais, 1 May 1827; d Paris, 5 July 1906). French painter, the leading successor to Millet in the vogue for pictures of peasant life. His many admirers included van Gogh, who at the outset of his career walked about 80 km (50 miles) from the Borinage region of Belgium to Breton's home at Courrières in northern France to meet him; however, he was dismayed by the discrepancy between the hard work portrayed in Breton's pictures and the comfortable life the painter himself led. At the time Breton was considered a realist, but his peasants now look very well scrubbed and almost Raphaelesque compared with van Gogh's.
From The Oxford Dictionary of Art in Oxford Reference.