José Júlio de Sousa Pinto, born in the Azores on 15 September 1856, died in France on 14 April 1939. In 1870, he began his studies at the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes, where he was a pupil of Thadeu Maria de Almeida Furtado, João António Correia and Soares dos Reis, and proved to be a brilliant student. With the Painting course completed in 1878 and excellent school grades, new horizons opened up for him.
In 1880, he applied for a scholarship to study abroad and, having won the competition, left for Paris that same year to study history or figure painting. He left at the same time as his colleague Henrique Pousão, a student in the Landscape discipline. In Paris, he enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts and was a pupil of Yvon and Cabanel. He would come to be influenced by Jules Breton and, above all, Bastien-Lepage. Right from the start, he proved his skills and ability to apply himself, working hard and winning awards.
Still a student, in 1884 he presented his work “Aprês L’Ouragan” (The Broken Apple Tree, now part of the Soares dos Reis National Museum) at the Salon exhibitions. In 1899, his painting “La récolte des pommes de terre” led him to the glory of being represented at the Musée du Luxembourg (now the Musée d’Orsay).
A renowned artist during his lifetime, in addition to the prizes he won in many of the exhibitions he entered, Sousa Pinto was decorated with the Orders of Santiago de Espada and Christ of Portugal, the Legion of Honour of France and was an Honorary Member of the Madrid Society of Artists. He is represented in several museums in France, Monte Carlo, the United States, Australia and Rio de Janeiro.
In Portugal his works are scattered among a large number of private collectors and in museums such as Grão Vasco, Casa-Museu dos Patudos, Casa-Museu Teixeira Lopes and Museu do Chiado.
The Soares dos Reis National Museum has works by Sousa Pinto from the Portuense Academy of Fine Arts, the former Municipal Museum, offers and bequests. The set of works by this artist at the Fernando de Castro House-Museum is significant, comprising portraits, genre scenes and landscapes, oils and pastels, with themes from Portugal and France.