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Creator Name: Millet, Jean-François
Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1814 - 1875
Biography: Son of a wealthy farmer, Jean-François Millet studied with a portrait painter from Cherbourg, Bon du Mouchel (1807-1846), himself a student of David (q.v.). Mouchel required his young apprentice to copy paintings in the museum in Cherbourg, where Millet had been sent to enter the studio of Lucien-Théophile Langlois (1803-1845), a former student of Gros (q.v.). Millet received a stipend from the city to move to Paris in 1837, enrolling in the École des Beaux-Arts in the studio of Delaroche (q.v.), where he met Couture (q.v.). Within two years he had left Delaroche, and his stipend was withdrawn. To earn a living, he executed pastels and small paintings in the style of Jean Antoine Watteau (1684-1729) and François Boucher (1703-1770). In 1839 the first painting that Millet sent to the Salon, Saint Anne Instructing the Virgin, was refused. The following year one portrait was accepted at the Salon, and Millet spent the winter in Cherbourg where he could make a living painting portraits. After his marriage to Pauline-Virginie Ono, he returned to Paris, painting various subjects but finding little success. He met Théodore Rousseau (q.v.) and Diaz de la Peña (q.v.) and was introduced to Durand-Ruel, who purchased some of his works, at that point mainly pastoral scenes and nudes. In the late 1840s Millet began to devote himself to painting peasants and rural life, subjects that automatically had political overtones in the light of the 1848 revolutions. In 1849 he settled in Barbizon, continuing his depictions of the peasantry. He achieved some financial security thanks to Alfred Sensier, who supplied him with materials and sold his paintings. At the Salon of 1850-51 Millet exhibited The Sower (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), which received a great deal of attention. Although the conservatives accused Millet of overemphasizing the poverty of the peasants, the republican and leftist movement hailed the painting as a dignified representation of the working class. Millet claimed to be interested solely in the biblical allusions of his subject, yet he seemed to persist in painting the poorest peasants at the worst tasks. The final ten years of his life were successful ones. A retrospective of his work at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1867 solidified his reputation, and the following year he received the Legion of Honor. His work was influential for generations of artists.
Creator Birth Place: Gruchy, near Greville, 4 October 1814
Creator Death Place: Barbizon, 20 January 1875
Creator Name-CRT: Jean-François Millet
Title: Monsieur Martin
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1840
Creation End Date: 1840
Creation Date: 1840
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: oil on fabric
Dimensions: Unframed: 46cm x 38cm
Inscriptions: Signed lower left: millet
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1980.270
Credit Line: Bequest of Noah L. Butkin
Provenance: Paris sale, Galerie Georges Petit, 22 May 1919 (lot 28, repr.), Portrait de M Martin, peint entre 1844 et 1848 (with a pendant portrait). Hamel, Lisieux. Etard, Lisieux. F. Cottin, Lisieux, by 1964. New York sale, Sotheby Parke-Bernet, 28 April 1977 (lot 156, repr.), $26,000. Shepherd Gallery, New York. Bought May 1977 by Mr. and Mrs. Noah L. Butkin, Cleveland. Bequeathed to the CMA in 1980.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1980.270
AMICA Library Year: 2001
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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