Jean-François Millet (Gruchy 1814-1875 Barbizon)
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Jean-François Millet (Gruchy 1814-1875 Barbizon)

A woman shearing a sheep

Details
Jean-François Millet (Gruchy 1814-1875 Barbizon)
A woman shearing a sheep
charcoal
9 1/8 x 6 3/8 in. (23.1 x 16.3 cm)
Provenance
The artist's studio stamp (L. 1815).
Madame Veuve Millet; Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 24-25 April 1894, lot 159.
Anonymous sale; Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 8 April 1987, lot 14.
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Lot Essay

A study for the famous painting of the same subject from early 1860 (Galerie Millet, Toyama, Japan; see R. Cotentin et al., Millet, exhib. cat., Lille, Palais des Beaux-Arts, 2018, p. 34, fig. 1), this drawing is striking for its contrast between the dark background at upper left and the sheep barely outlined in the opposite corner. The man present in the completed picture is not included in this sketch. Although criticized when first exhibited at the Brussels Salon in 1860, the painting’s reputation grew, especially when it was shown at the Salon in Bordeaux in 1865. Two more finished drawings, which situate the scene outdoors, are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. 40.12.3, 50.130.143b).
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