As a young man, Dupre would begin to work at a lace shop, expecting a future position in the family’s jewelry business. Upon the eclosion Franco-Prussian War, followed by the Siege of Paris, his family was forced to close their shop.
Dupre began to take night classes at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs. Through these courses, the artist was granted admission to the distinguished Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. During his time at the Ecole, Dupre studied under painter Henri Lehmann and Isidore Pils.
Julien Dupre went to the region of Picardy during the mid-1870s when he was apprenticed by Desire Francois Laugee, a French painter who became a rural genre painter. At the end of his career, he was an essential influence on Dupre’s career since it was by that time he would begin to create genre paintings depicting peasant women.
Dupre would marry Marie Eleonore Francoise, Laugee’s daughter, in 1876. In the same year, the artist exhibited for the first time at the Paris Salon. In 1880, he was awarded a third-class medal. Next year, he was granted a second-class medal. In 1889, the artist was awarded the gold medal at the Paris Fair.
In 1892, the artist received the Legion of Honor, which the highest honor possible to obtain from the French Government, both civil and military.
Dupre created dozens of striking compositions of the day-to-day peasant life. They were always idyllic, pleasant, and peaceful representations, as well as mastery with the craft of shadows and sunlight.
Some of his most renowned artworks are Haymaking, A Shepherd and His Flock, Returning From The Fields, A Milk Maid With Cows and Sheep, and A Milkmaid With Her Cows on a Summer Day, to name only a few. Dupre’s artwork became quite popular in the United States, and several of his artwork is now at many museums throughout the country, such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, and the Worcester Art Museum.