Among painters associated with the Realists, several, including Constant Troyon, Rosa Bonheur, and Julien Dupre were noted for their ability to paint animals. These artists were also linked with the Barbizon School of painters. Underscoring a continuing dedication to the traditions of rustic life, even during the latter decades of the century, Dupre concentrated on field workers harvesting hay or tending their flocks of sheep.
Trained in the academic studios of Isidore, Laugee, and Henri Lehman, Dupre developed an impeccable draftsmanship which he maintained in his finished oil paintings and in independent drawings which he also exhibited at the Salons. First exhibiting an oil painting ('La Moisson en Picardie') at the 1876 Salon, Dupre submitted similar scenes to the Salons until his death. In 1880, Dupre received a third-class medal for his 'Fauchers de Luzerne' (now in a private office in the Senat, Paris) and in 1881 he obtained a second-class medal for his 'La Recolte des foins'. At the Paris Fair of 1889, Dupre was singularly honored with a gold medal for his dedication to field labor and rustic life.
In almost all of his paintings, Dupre's peasants loom large - whether milkmaids, girls feeding chickens or geese, harvesters, or women guarding flocks of sheep. While maintaining the Barbizon heritage initiated by Jean Francois Millet, Dupre achieved in his figures a presence usually associated only with Leon L'Hermitte or Jules Breton. He proved a most popular painter in other countries, and many of his works entered public and private collections in the United States.
Today Dupre's works can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boton; De Young Museum, San Francisco as well as many other museums around the world.