The J. Paul Getty Museum

Shepherdess and Her Flock

Object Details


Shepherdess and Her Flock


Jean-François Millet (French, 1814 - 1875)






Black chalk and pastel

Object Number:



36.4 × 47.5 cm (14 5/16 × 18 11/16 in.)

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Object Description

The gay side of life never shows itself to me. . . . The gayest thing I know is the calm, the silence, which is so sweet, either in the forest or in the cultivated land.

Thus wrote Jean-François Millet. He conveyed calm and silence in this peaceful composition, which is anchored by a monumental peasant figure. A cloud has blotted out the sun, and the muted daylight conceals details while emphasizing the shepherdess, sheepdog, and flock as archetypes. The shepherdess and dog stand silhouetted against the sky and field, waiting patiently and with dignity in the timeless world of the peasant, which Millet sought to ennoble in his work.

This pastel, possibly the earliest of at least four on this theme, relates to Millet's painting of the same name. He exhibited the painting, now in Paris's Musée d'Orsay, to great acclaim at the Salon of 1864.


Eugène Secrétan, 1836 - 1899

July 1, 1889

Galerie Charles Sedelmeyer, [Secrétan sale, lot 101]


Private Collection (Newport, Rhode Island)


Art Market (New York)

Peintures, aquarelles, pastels, dessins rehaussés, croquis et eaux-fortes de J.-F. Millet (1887)
  • École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (Paris), 1887
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (May 24 to August 8, 1993)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), May 24 to August 8, 1993
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994
The Compositional Drawing from the 16th to the 19th Century (April 16 to June 30, 1996)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), April 16 to June 30, 1996
Color in Drawing (March 10 to May 24, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 10 to May 24, 1998
Defining Modernity: European Drawings 1800-1900 (June 5 to September 9, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 5 to September 9, 2007
Capturing Nature's Beauty: Three Centuries of French Landscapes (July 28 to November 1, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 28 to November 1, 2009