Man with a Hoe

Object Details

Title:

Man with a Hoe

Artist/Maker(s):

Jean-François Millet (French, 1814 - 1875)

Culture:

French

Date:

1860 - 1862

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

81.9 x 100.3 cm (32 1/4 x 39 1/2 in.)

See more

See less

"[A]s I have never seen anything but fields since I was born, I try to say as best I can what I saw and felt when I was at work," wrote Jean-François Millet. At the Salon of 1863, Man with a Hoe caused a storm of controversy. The man in the picture was considered brutish and frightening by Parisian bourgeoisie. The Industrial Revolution had caused a steady exodus from French farms, and Man with a Hoe was interpreted as a socialist protest about the peasant's plight. Though his paintings were judged in political terms, Millet declared that he was neither a socialist nor an agitator.

A religious fatalist, Millet believed that man was condemned to bear his burdens. This farmer is Everyman. His face is lit, yet composed of blots of color that give him no individuality. He is big and dirty and utterly exhausted by the backbreaking work of turning this rocky, thistle-ridden earth into a productive field like the one being worked in the distance. A tribute to dignity and courage in the face of a life of unremitting exertion, Man with a Hoe was long considered a symbol of the laboring class.

Provenance
1863

Ennemond Blanc (Paris, France)

1863

Alfred Stevens, 1823 - 1906 (Paris, France), possibly to Gustave Robert, 1863.

1863 -

Gustave Robert (Paris, France)

by 1881 -

Sénateur Prosper Crabbe (Brussels, Belgium)

Eugène Secrétan, 1836 - 1899 (Paris, France)

by 1883 - 1886

Defoer (Paris, France) [sold, Defoer sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 22, 1886, lot 27, to Hector Brame.]

1886 -

Hector Brame (Paris, France)

by 1887 -

Mr. L.

by 1889 -

C. van den Eynde (Brussels, Belgium)

by 1893 - 1937

William H. Crocker, American, 1861 - 1937 (San Francisco, California), by inheritance to his heirs, 1937.

1937 - 1985

Heirs of William H. Crocker, American, 1861 - 1937 (San Francisco, California), sold through Judith Landrigan (New York, New York) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.

Exhibitions
Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, gravure, lithographie et architecture des artistes vivants, exposés au Palais des Champs-Élysées le 1er mai 1863 (1863) (Cat. 1327)
  • Palais des Champs-Elysées, (Paris), 1863
Cent chefs-d'oeuvre des collections parisiennes (1883) (Cat. 71)
  • Galerie Georges Petit, (Paris), 1883
Peintures, aquarelles, pastels, dessins rehaussés, croquis et eaux-fortes de J.-F. Millet (1887) (Cat. 38)
  • École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, (Paris), 1887
Exposition centennale de l'art français (1789-1889) (1889) (Cat. 523)
  • Exposition universelle internationale de 1889, (Paris), 1889
World's Columbian Exposition (Fine Arts section) (1893) (Cat. 2951)
  • World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago), 1893
Exposition d'art français de São-Paulo (1913) (Cat. 719)
Exhibition of French Art, 1200-1900 (January to March, 1932) (Cat. 442)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), January to March, 1932
Exhibition of French Painting from the Fifteenth Century to the Present Day (June 8 to July 8, 1934) (Cat. 122)
  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor, (San Francisco), June 8 to July 8, 1934
Loan Exhibition of Modern French Painting (1935) (Cat. 19)
  • San Francisco Museum of Art, (San Francisco), 1935
Survey of Landscape Painting (June 2 to June 30, 1936) (Cat. 66)
  • San Francisco Museum of Art, (San Francisco), June 2 to June 30, 1936
Loan Exhibition of International Art (November 15 to December 15, 1937) (Cat. 129)
  • Art Association (Los Angeles), November 15 to December 15, 1937
Masterworks of Five Centuries (1939) (Cat. 152)
  • Golden Gate International Exposition, (San Francisco), 1939
Art (Golden Gate International Exposition) (1940) (Cat. 281)
  • Palace of Fine Arts, (San Francisco), 1940
Modern Masters in West Coast Collections (October 18 to November 27, 1960) (no cat. no.)
  • San Franscisco Museum of Art, (San Francisco), October 18 to November 27, 1960
Barbizon Revisited (September 27, 1962 to April 28, 1963) (Cat. 70)
  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor, (San Francisco), September 27 to November 4, 1962
  • Toledo Museum of Art, (Toledo), November 20 to December 27, 1962
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art, (Cleveland), January 15 to February 24, 1963
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, March 14 to April 28, 1963
Romantics and Realists (April 7 to May 7, 1966) (Cat. 61)
  • Wildenstein & Company, (New York), April 7 to May 7, 1966
Jean-François Millet (October 17, 1975 to March 7, 1976) (Cat. 161 / 85)
  • Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, (Paris), October 17, 1975 to January 5, 1976
  • The Hayward Gallery, (London), January 22 to March 7, 1976
Millet, Corot and the School of Barbizon (March 15 to August 10, 1980) (Cat. T.13)
  • The Seibu Museum, (Tokyo), March 15 to April 14, 1980
  • Hyogo Prefecture Museum of Modern Art (Kobe), April 19 to May 18, 1980
  • The Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, (Sapporo), May 24 to June 15, 1980
  • Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art, June 21 to July 13, 1980
  • The Kitakyushu Municipal Museum, (Kitakyushu), July 19 to August 10, 1980
Jean-François Millet (August 10 to December 8, 1991) (Cat. 36)
  • The Bunkamura Museum of Art, (Tokyo), August 10 to September 23, 1991
  • Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, (Kyoto), October 3 to October 27, 1991
  • Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, (Kofu-shi), November 3 to December 8, 1991
Corot, Courbet und die Maler von Barbizon: 'Les amis de la nature' (February 4 to April 21, 1996) (Cat. B115)
  • Haus der Kunst (Munich), February 4 to April 21, 1996
Millet / Van Gogh (September 14, 1998 to January 3, 1999) (Cat. 18)
  • Musée d'Orsay, (Paris), September 14, 1998 to January 3, 1999
Jean-François Millet: Drawn into the Light (June 18, 1999 to April 23, 2000) (Cat. 58)
  • The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, (Williamstown), June 20 to September 6, 1999
  • Van Gogh Museum, (Amsterdam), October 26, 1999 to January 9, 2000
Education Resources

Education Resource

Subjects

Grades

Format

People at Work

Students create a work of art and write a story based on a photograph and photograph their own hands with tools.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts

3-5

Long-Term Unit

I Am … a Hard Worker

Students analyze emphasis, shape, and space in Millet's painting Man with a Hoe, discuss painting interpretation, create a drawing and persona poem.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts

3-5

Three/Five-Part Lesson

Historical Witness, Social Messaging

Additional works of art related to the themes and topics of the curriculum.

Related Media
  • /
    Audio: Man with a Hoe
  • /
    Audio: Man with a Hoe - German (Highlights)
  • /
    Audio: Man with a Hoe - French (Highlights)
  • /
    Audio: Man with a Hoe - Italian (Highlights)
  • /
    Audio: Man with a Hoe - Spanish (Highlights)
  • /
    Audio: Man with a Hoe - Mandarin (Highlights)
  • /
    Audio: Man with a Hoe - Korean (Highlights)
  • /
    Audio: Man with a Hoe - English (Highlights)
  • /
    Audio: Man with a Hoe - Portuguese (Highlights)
  • /
    Audio: Man with a Hoe - Japanese (Highlights)