Jean Eugene Buland studied under the influential artist Alexandre Cabanel (1824-1889), who was a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts from 1864 and highly regarded by the Emperor Napoleon III. Buland was awarded the Prix de Rome, the highest accolade for any young artist. Buland’s early small-scale works show the marked influence of Jean Louis Ernest Messonier (1815-1891), also a favorite of Napoleon III, in their precision and eye for detail. By 1879, Buland had received an honorable mention at the Paris Salon. Although continuing to show at the Salon to widespread acclaim, Buland also exhibited his works at the somewhat more conservative Societé des Artistes Française.
In the early 1880s, Buland began to turn towards large scale works on canvas, like Le Tripot or gambling den, of 1883, and Marriage Innocent of 1884. In compositional terms, with the figures in the frontal plane, these works mirror the format of those of Jules Bastien Lepage (1848-1884), one of the most widely influential artists of the 19th century. The subject matter of Le Tripot is, however, in marked contrast to that of Marriage Innocent of the following year. The latter is redolent of childhood innocence and the beauty of the landscape of rural France. The precision and detail seen in his early works remains in these larger canvases, and it is these elements together with his commentary on contemporary French Society that affirmed his continuing popularity.
Buland’s anecdotal naturalism was of widespread appeal. He exhibited at the Salon in 1884, receiving a third class medal, and a second-class medal in 1887 and 1891. In 1900, he received a gold medal at the Exposition Universal. He also worked as an illustrator for Le Figaro, reflecting his popularity and significant contribution to painting and the development of Naturalism. Buland was appointed Chevalier de Legion d’Honneur.