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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED JAPANESE COLLECTION

Rural landscape

Rural landscape
signed 'J.F.Millet' (lower right)
charcoal, pastel and traces of bodycolour on buff paper
15 1/2 x 20 1/2 in. (39.5 x 52 cm.)
Rindoko Museum, Tochigi, Japan.
Private Collection, Japan, 2020.
Special notice

This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Brought to you by

Alastair Plumb
Alastair Plumb Specialist, Head of Sale, European Art

Lot Essay

It was in Jean-François Millet’s later career that he turned to compositions of rural landscapes without figures. These views were sentimental and partly biographical, as they had formed the backdrop to his own life and his childhood growing up in Normandy. Images such as the present lot would have been a reminder to Parisian audiences that this heartland of rural-life existed, alongside the increasingly developing urban landscape.
Finished drawings became an important aspect of the artist’s practice during the mid-1850s, as Millet increasingly relied on the income to support his family. These drawings quickly caught the attention of private collectors and by 1865, an important patron, Émile Gavet began commissioning drawings, which would become a collection of ninety sheets.
The present lot, Rural Landscape, showcases the artist’s skill as a draughtsman. The accuracy of the anatomy of the animals, as well as the proportions of the landscape, are seemingly effortlessly sketched. What is particularly unusual are the variety of colours employed, such as the luscious greens and the warm tonalities of the animals' coats. The artist had turned away from the use of coloured pastels in the mid-1840s, in the pursuit of drawings in black crayon heightened with white. This return to full colour was perhaps due to the shift in subject matter from a focus on figures to a focus on the natural landscape, where colour is a necessity in providing the depth of field and the narrative.
We are grateful to Dr Alexandra Murphy for confirming the attribution to Millet in the basis of a photograph

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