Forest of Fontainebleau, Cluster of Tall Trees Overlooking the Plain of Clair-Bois at the Edge of Bas-Bréau

Object Details

Title:

Forest of Fontainebleau, Cluster of Tall Trees Overlooking the Plain of Clair-Bois at the Edge of Bas-Bréau

Artist/Maker(s):

Théodore Rousseau (French, 1812 - 1867)

Culture:

French

Date:

about 1849 - 1855

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

90.8 x 116.8 cm (35 3/4 x 46 in.)

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A live oak dominates this late afternoon landscape. Diffuse light from the overcast sky reflects off the pond and up into the branches. The boulders, grass and broken branches in the foreground are barely suggested and the single figure making his way around the pond followed by a herd of cows is thinly sketched.

Landscape painter Théodore Rousseau lived in the nearby village of Barbizon, returning often to the forest of Fontainebleau to paint. When commercial exploitation threatened the forest, Rousseau wrote to the Duke of Morny, an influential politician close to Napoleon III, to urge the preservation of the forest.

During the summer Rousseau made use of a special easel and lean-to to facilitate painting outdoors. This painting belongs to a category known as dessin-peinture in which the artist notes the composition on site in chalk and thin layers of paint, and then returns to the studio to enhance particular elements and unite the composition.

Provenance
1866/67 - 1869

Paul Durand-Ruel, French, 1831 - 1922, sold to M. Goldschmidt, May 1869.

1869 -

M. Goldschmidt, French

- 1891

Alfred Feydeau, French, 1823 - 1891, by inheritance to his heirs, 1891.

1891 - 1902

Heirs of Alfred Feydeau, French, 1823 - 1891 [sold, Feydeau sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 22, 1902, lot 11, to Bernheim-Jeune & Fils.]

1902

Bernheim-Jeune & Fils, French, sold to M. Henri Gallice, 1902.

1902 - 1930

Henri Gallice d'Épernay, French, 1853 - 1930 (Epernay), by inheritance to his daughter Rosy Gallice.

1930 -

Rosy Gallice, French, who married Andre de Chastellus.

and Andre de Chastellus, French, by inheritance within the de Chastellus family.

- 2007

Heirs of Andre de Chastellus, French, sold through Richard Feigen & Co. (New York, NY) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007.

Exhibitions
Études peintes par M. Théodore Rousseau (June 1867) (Cat. 58)
  • Cercle des Arts, (Paris), June to June, 1867
La peinture française au XIXe siècle (1939) (Cat. 102)
  • Musee du Prince Paul, (Belgrade), 1939
La pintura francesa, de David a nuestros días (September 1939) (Cat. 22)
  • Salón Nacional de Bellas Artes, (Montevideo), September to September, 1939
La pintura francesa, de David a nuestros días (October to December, 1939) (Cat. 121)
  • Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Buenos Aires, October to December, 1939
La pintura francesa, de David a nuestros días (April 1940) (Cat. 94)
  • Salón Nacional de Bellas Artes, (Montevideo), April to April, 1940
Exposição de pintura francesa, seculos XIX e XX (June to July, 1940) (Cat. 93)
  • Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, (Rio de Janeiro), June to July, 1940
The Painting of France since the French Revolution (December, 1940 to January, 1941) (Cat. 97)
  • M. H. De Young Memorial Museum, (San Francisco), December, 1940 to January, 1941
French Painting from David to Toulouse-Lautrec. Loans from French and American Museums and Collections (February 6 to March 26, 1941) (Cat. 106)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), February 6 to March 26, 1941
Masterpieces of French Art (April 10 to May 20, 1941) (Cat. 142)
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, April 10 to May 20, 1941
The Painting of France since the French Revolution (June to July, 1941) (Cat. 121)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (Los Angeles), June to July, 1941
Masterpieces of French Painting from the French Revolution to the Present Day (September 3 to October 5, 1941) (Cat. 99)
  • Portland Art Museum, (Portland), September 3 to October 5, 1941
Bibliography

Burty, Philippe. Notice des études peintes par M. Théodore Rousseau, exposées au Cercle des arts, exh. cat. (1867). Repr. in Theodore Reff, ed. Modern Art in Paris. Vol. 37, Exhibitions of Barbizon and Landscape Art (New York and London: Garland, 1981), p. 32, no. 58.

Hôtel Drouot, Paris. Catalogue des tableaux modernes [...] composant la collection Alfred Feydeau [...]. May 22, 1902, pp. 6, 24-25, lot 11, ill., preface by Léon Roger-Milès.

La peinture française au XIXe siècle, exh. cat. (Belgrade: Musée du Prince Paul, 1939), p. 44, no. 102, ill.

Prométhée: L'amour de l'art, special no., Cent ans de peinture française: exposition de Buenos-Aires (May 1939), p. 26, ill.

La pintura francesa, de David a nuestros días, exh. cat. (Buenos Aires: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1939), p. 105, no. 121.

La pintura francesa, de David a nuestros días, exh. cat. (Montevideo: Salón Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1939), p. 44, no. 22.

The Painting of France since the French Revolution, exh. cat. (San Francisco: M. H. De Young Memorial Museum, 1940), pp. 31, 64, no. 97, ill.

La pintura francesa, de David a nuestros días, exh. cat. (Montevideo: Salón Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1940), p. 74, no. 94, ill.

Exposição de pintura francesa, seculos XIX e XX, exh. cat. (Rio de Janeiro: Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, 1940), p. 46, no. 93.

French Painting from David to Toulouse-Lautrec. Loans from French and American Museums and Collections, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1941), p. 34, no. 106.

Masterpieces of French Painting from the French Revolution to the Present Day, exh. cat. (Portland: Portland Art Museum, 1941), unpaginated, no. 99.

Masterpieces of French Art, exh. cat. (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1941), p. 38, no. 142, pl. 18.

Schulman, Michel. Théodore Rousseau, 1812-1867. Vol. 2, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint (Paris: Les Éditions de l'Amateur, 1999), p. 227, no. 384, ill.

Morton, Mary. "New Discoveries: Théodore Rousseau's 'Forest of Fountainebleau.'" Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 7, no. 1 (Spring 2008), http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/index.php/spring08/107-new-discoveries-theodore-rousseaus-forest-of-fontainebleau (accessed April 27, 2011).