Born in 1864 in Brittany, Ferdinand du Puigaudeau belongs to a generation of artists who flourished after Impressionism, working at the same time as the Nabis and Neo Impressionists. His work, originally marked by post impressionistic attempts, gradually evolved towards a personal style, still showing some of the influences of Impressionism.
At this stage in his life, Puigaudeau visited Pont Aven, a natural choice for a Breton painter. The painters at the School of Pont-Aven were decisive in the development of Puigaudeau’s technique. Nevertheless his approach is highly personal. Ferdinand du Puigaudeau’s oeuvre is inspired by certain themes, especially luminous night scenes such as fireworks and merry-go-rounds, village feasts, peasants in moonlight, sailors at dawn, marshes, etc. These are surely art history’s preferred paintings of his.
The present work represents one of these favored subjects: a procession of young Bretonnes in a noctural setting. The work is inspired by the power and beauty of the night lights. Every element of the composition has a flowing, unstable quality, from the shifting masses of women to their swinging lanterns. This procession of frolicking young girls is painted with an overall blue cast flecked with warm dashes of light and color which give even the solid walls of the building a fluid, ethereal disposition. A critic commenting on a similar painting of a noctural procession of young women wrote:
"The Procession…is quite striking…one would believe that the girls and the women were pushing and bumping into each other having a great time… It is a real symphony of blues… For tackling such a difficult composition M. du Puigaudeau is due praise as he has captured movement, light and space within the confused and disorganised mass of bodies."