Chronological Background

Birth of Marius Antoine Breuil 19th of April at n° 11 rue Philonarde in Avignon. His father, Pierre Martin Breuil called Joseph aged 29, worked for a merchant as a clerk. His mother, Marie Madeleine Manson, aged 18, was a housewife. As an only son, he was cherished and raised in a cultivated and wealthy family with strict moral standards. Later his father became an important tradesman.

He began school relatively early for this period.

From an early age he showed a passion for painting. This year, his parents framed his first painting, to decorate their home.

He became a pupil at the catholic boarding school "Les Frères", rue des Ortolans in Avignon: "He goes to catholic fullboard of les Frères since March…"(letter from Joseph to his brother Ernest, Avignon 14th of May 1856).The young Marius was a brilliant student with the strong desire to satisfy his father and mother:"Dear Parents, I make every effort to study to the best of my ability in order to obtain scholars rewards which I hope will rejoice you and will give me the opportunity to gain an honorable place. Yours truly and faithful." (Avignon, 30th of November 1861). Anxious to become polyglot, he studied English, Italian, and German for which he shows a preference. During these years, he developed a strong interest in painting which becomes for him more than a hobby. His parents encouraged him by regularly sending him painting materials.

During his holidays, he stayed at the "Paradou" with his mother who inherited this private property from the Manson family. As time went by, he had many pleasant hikes which drew him close to the surrounding countryside. Painting became part of his daily activities encouraged by love and enthusiasm of his parents. A letter from her mother to his husband reveals:"I could have given anything that day on that picturesque hill to have had a painter with us who could depict that marvellous scenery with Marius riding that donkey with full baskets on both sides, and me dragging along the donkey." (Le Paradou, 29th of September 1860)

27th of July-10th of August 1867
First trip to Paris with his father. Two entires weeks were spent in cultural touring; together they attended different theatre representations, visited the main monuments (Invalides, Arc de Triomphe, etc..) went many times to the Universal Exhibition in Versailles. The most important and key event of his stay, was the day spent at the Louvre when he discovered with astonishment the content of the galleries. That following evening his father wrote to his wife: "We visited the Louvre and I have left Marius in order to write to you from the Café Rohand Place du Palais Royal"
(Paris 6th of August)

February 1867/ End 1869
He was employed part time by his uncle Pierre Breuil, a trader in wine and seeds in Avignon. His free time was spent painting and studying languages (He took private lessons in German).

At the beginning of the year he entered the working world; Clauseau & Palun, traders and main clients of his father, employed him as a clerk.

19th of July 1870
Declaration of the Franco-Prussian war.

17th of August 1870
Marius Breuil enlisted for the entire time of the conflict. This decision allowed him to choose his own military assignment. The 7th Cuirassier rank in the garrison town of Chartres where his uncle Ernest Breuil was captain. The 19th of August in transit in Paris, he spent the day visiting the Louvre and attended three plays at "La Comédie Française". (Les Précieuses ridicules, Les Femmes savantes, Le Médecin malgré lui). His army training was confined to the office, he did not take part in fighting and rarely attended drills or manoeuvres. On the 7th of February 1871, he was appointed corporal and second secretary to the treasurer. His parents saw that he lacked nothing and regularly large sums of money were sent to cover his expenses : "I have received your letter of 29th of October with a 50 francs receipt: I only have a reproach is that you shoud not have sent so much money without me asking for it".
(Niort, 2nd of November 1870)

11th of March 1871
Following the defeat, enlisted soldiers were sent back home.

April 1871
He was re-employed at Clauseau & Palun.

20th of August 1871
Marius Breuil was re-enlisted as part of the rank (data: 1870 military record) in the garrison town of Niort

1st of September 1871
He asked a solicitor in Niort to arrange his replacement in the ranks. This cost him 2700 francs. Back to Avignon 7th Sept. He took back his job at Clauseau & Palun and kept it until the 31st of May 1880 (Salary: approx.100 francs).

During these years he regularly accompanied Pierre Grivolas and Paul Saïn in their outdoor hikes and claimed with them to be a plein air artist (meaning: a on site landscape painter). At the end of every Spring, as from 1875, he regularly stayed two weeks in the capital to visit the Salon des Artistes francais: "I arrived yesterday in Paris... and will spend my days visiting museums, the Exibition and in the evening go to the theatre with my acquaintances". (Paris, 11th of May 1877) His parents continued to send him regularly 5 francs pocket money per week (their house cleaning lady is paid a monthly salary of 6 francs). Their also regularly paid for his Fine Arts painting materials.

20th of August 1877
Departure of Marius for 21 days as a reservist at the 15th squadron in Orange.

1st of November 1880
He was employed by Vernet Jeune & Gilles, traders in wine and spirits in Avignon (monthly salary:125 francs).

31st of July 1882
The town of Avignon invited him to become a Member of the Jury of its Art School. He was then regularly asked to assess students art work. Obviously, this task honored him and reinforced his artistic reputation even though he still refused to exhibit his work publicly in the papal city and neglected to show his collection at the Salon in Paris.

June 1885
Yearly visit at the Salon: "I arrived here safely and I saw Victor Hugo's funeral which lasted all day." (Paris, 1st of June 1885)

May 1887
Took part in the "Saïn's Saturdays" in La Petite Chaise, restaurant rue Grenelle in Paris. These meetings were organised by his friend Paul Saïn in order to bring together Vaucluse painters passing through Paris: "I saw Grivolas coming here on Tuesday... I am dining with Saïn this evening. Last nigth, The Opera Comique Theatre caught fire, but I wasn't there..." (Paris, 26th of May 1887).

Summer 1888
He finally decided to organise himself a selling exhibition of his worsk. Typical attitude of a painter rebelling against the promiscuous and autoritarian behavior imposed by Salons. At the age of 38, his skillfull technique gave him serenity and the desire to submit his work to amateur and curious critics. As in his business and enterprise, he proceeded with care and methodology. Careful selection of frames, invitations to the press in order to inform the event widely. His parents wrote him: "We can see with pleasure... that you organise the framing of your painting. In last night edition LE PETIT MARSEILLAIS mentioned that the exhibition and sale of 27 of your paintings has made news in Avignon. We wish you the best in this enterprise. But for this you have to impose your success, as you know, in this period of time how difficult it is to get fame and recognition. Do not forget to send information and invitations to all that you think are worthy of interest and do not hesitate to consult the directory of Avignon and its surrounding area... And if it does not work out the way you want, don't worry too much, you will get over as we. In the case of you not having enough money to cover your expenses, write to us, we will send whatever you need as you know we can easily provide. Do not hesitate to tell us the approximate day of the sale and the final result when everything is finished."
(Le Paradou, 25th of October 1888)
This successful sale amazed the painter, his friends and relatives. His father received from his friend Henri Espieux the following letter: "It is never too late for him to be recognised. You should not renounce now after his stubborness in not being discovered. This should bring him a high and well deserved reputation, as it is said here: he is a far superior painter than those in Avignon who exhibit in newsagents or make the front page in the papers." (Avignon, 31st of October 1888)
The painter Emile Avon, mentioned in a letter like this: "I have received a note for the 8th to come, regarding the sale of your paintings... and wish you success for every effort you have made. I hope that the people of Avignon will show a strong interest for this special event" (Aramon, 4th of November 1888).

Thursday 8th of November 1888
The auctioneer Mr. Gois went ahead with the auction of 27 paintings after their display on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th (Salle des Ventes Place Portail Matheron). All his work were bought by collectors who belonged to the upper class in Avignon: " My exhibition of paintings has taken place this very day and has been very much appreciated by artists and the public... The main buyers were Chabrier, Ducommun, Verdet and de Seynes..."
(Avignon, 8th of November 1888)

The 7th of November, The Journalist Emile Niel published in LE COURRIER DU MIDI the following article: "All over the last few days, all our artists have been exited regarding an artistic factor which has rarely been seen between us. A Landscape painter from Avignon, Marius Breuil, whose reputation of hard labour, passion for his art and dedication for certain artschools is well established. But who until now, refused to exhibit his work. M. Breuil with a "showing off" attitude who nobody would dare to contredict, defies the public... This "showing off attitude", I repeat his words, is not to deceive us. Here we have an artist who has worked for 20 years quietly in his studio, in the middle of the southern France, who has made every effort to impregnate the beauty of his surrounding so as to bring it back to us. All who know him, have asked him for a long time to reveal his work and to expose himself to judgement and criticism. He never changed his mind, jealous of his paintings like a father for his children, he did not accept any outsiders in his studio, exept a very few close friends, until one day without any advice he finally decided to exhibit his work whether or not it would be appreciated and agreed to accept criticism and judgement. We warmly welcome his recent courageous initiative. We do not want to bring fame to Mr Breuil, he certainly does not need it but we would advise our readers, who are keen on this type of lansdcape painter, to visit his exhibition and discuss his work."

Marius Breuil stayed more and more at the Paradou. He often met up with the provençal poet Charloun Rieu, a hermit whose taste for literature and mythology be shared. His father mentioned in a letter: "I saw Charloun and told me that M.Paul Mariéton is going to print in Lyon his songs and extract of poetic patois verses and that it would send you a copy." (Le Paradou, October 1890) The famous provençal poet Frédéric Mistral was also one of his literary acquaintance.

July 1892
Breuil's family left Avignon definitively to live in their private property, located in Paradou: "Tomorrow, we are starting to remove the furniture which we will be loading on Wednesday. Two carts will be there on Thursday. Mother will do her best to be here on Wednesday evening..."(Avignon, 17th of July 1892)

10th of April 1893
Death of his father. Marius left his job at the Vernet, and took over the family business and finance, stockmarket managements, investments, house buying etc... and of course his paintings.

Visited the Universal and International Exhibition of Lyon in which his acquaintances from Avignon, Brunel, Firmin, Flour, Antoine Grivolas, Paul Saïn participated.

March 1900
First involvement in a group exhibition. M. Breuil presented two paintings at the Société Vauclusienne des Amis des Arts.

2nd of June 1904
During his annual stay in Paris for the Salon des Artistes Français, Marius Breuil visited the Claude Monet exhibition at the Galerie Durand-Ruel. Even though he did not exactly rejoined for the impressionist movement, which gained enormous popularity at this period of time, he nevertheless manifested a real interest for this new trend.

Rarely painted because of rheumatism which affected his articulations. He went many times to Lamalou-les Bains and Saint-Laurent-les-Bains for cures and treatment. The precise dates at the back of his paintings reveal clearly this long inactive period. However, it might be possible that a small production of paintings might exist from this period.
The painter Léo Lelée wrote him; "My wife and I send you our best wishes for this new year and hope that you will recover the vigour of your legs as before." (Arles, 7th of January 1909).
As he had an inquiring mind, during all these years he broadened his interest, with subjects such as electricity, geography, history, etc.. A dedicated royalist, he had a particular interest to study about events which took place at Les Beaux-de-Provence during the French Revolution.

7th of June 1911
Death of his mother at the Paradou. Now on his own, he lived a frugal and organised existence, rarely inviting anyone. His native town brought him no more interest. He travelled once or twice a month to Arles when he felt particularly lonely.

June 1924
He left his retreat for the last time to exhibit a painting at the 1st Salon in Arles. Marius Breuil returned to his former vocation as a on site landscape painter. But unfortunately, his age forced him to reduce his favorite outdoor activities: painting outstanding sceneries and poetic landscapes offered by the surrounding area of Provence.

30th of March 1932
Death of Marius Breuil in his house at the Paradou. In the declaration made by the Town Hall Officer, his two professions were mentioned. Painter and Owner. He was buried in the family vault at the Paradou graveyard where a war memorial was erected from his own design. Very close to the Roux family who had been in his service from 1890, He left them, as a gratitude for loyalty and good service, the Mas in "Le Paradou", named by himself as "L'ARC DE SEDO" = L'ARC EN CIEL (meaning: The Rainbow) as well as a meadow nearby.

As he had voluntarily cut ties with the artistic world, his passing went unnoticed.