The Drawings of Jean-François Millet
in association with Galerie de Bayser
at Jill Newhouse Gallery
January 21 - March 4, 2022
Digital catalogue, with essay by independent art historian Cora Michael, available.
Jill Newhouse Gallery, in cooperation with Galerie de Bayser, Paris presents the first show in New York dedicated to the drawings of Jean-François Millet (1814-1875). On view will be nineteen works on paper in all media including graphite, ink, watercolor and pastel showing the full range of this important artist’s work.
J.F. Millet was one of the greatest Realist painters of the 19th century, but his reputation has been traditionally defined by his three best known works, The Sower (1850), The Gleaners (1857), and The Angelus (1857-9) which were often categorized as overly sentimentalized portrayals of life in rural France in the mid 19th century. Seen through the lens of his works on paper, Millet’s art can now be newly viewed as radical and modern, both in the use of medium and in the creation of images which are a homage to a moment in time that was rapidly disappearing.
Copied and collected by artists from Van Gogh, Monet, Dali and Picasso, the work of J.F. Millet was created at a moment of great social and artistic change. His cast of characters - the farmers and laborers, millers, basket makers, and laundresses going about their daily chores - are portrayed by Millet as the heroes and heroines of a world that was slipping away to industrialization and social change. Often based on the figures in Old Master paintings, particularly the super human figures of Michelangelo, these poignant laborers are ennobled, iconic representations of the working class. His rare landscapes, done primarily in the years 1866-68 in the town of Vichy, reveal a Japanese influenced economy of line that also recalls the work of Rembrandt and artists of the Dutch 17th century that so inspired the Barbizon school. These depictions of winding roads and anonymous houses show us the scenery and environment of the life that Millet so loved and hoped to preserve.