In 1901–1902, Breuil was one of the main protagonists of the debate regarding the recognition of parietal art, a debate that was concluded during the AFAS conference in Montauban. As a result, the study of decorated caves became one of the major subjects of prehistoric archaeology in the 20th century. It was thus that Breuil, as the undisputed French expert on cave art, was invited to examine the Lascaux cave on 21 September 1940. At the time, he was staying in Brive with the Bouyssonie brothers, prior to leaving on a trip that would take him, over several years, to Portugal and then to South Africa. For this reason, Breuil worked very little on Lascaux. Although, on the day after his first visit, he took tracings in the Chamber of the Felines, he entrusted his colleagues with the task of drawing and photographing the cave. Breuil nevertheless considered Lascaux to be a major discovery, which he described in his Four Hundred Centuries of Cave Art, published in 1952, the same year he handed over the study of Lascaux to André Glory.
COYE (Noël) dir. – Sur les chemins de la préhistoire, l’abbé Breuil du Périgord à l’Afrique du Sud, Paris, Somogy Éditions d’Art, 2006, 224 p., 201 ill.