A Clearing in the Forest of Fontainebleau
Date ca. 1860-62
Artist:Théodore Rousseau, French, 1812 - 1867
Dimensions 32 1/2 x 57 1/4 in. (82.6 x 145.4 cm) Overall, Frame: 41 1/2 x 66 3/4 in. (105.4 x 169.5 cm)
Medium Oil on canvas
Credit Line Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
Description This is an oil on canvas painting of a landscape. The horizon lies beneath the trees, one third from the base of the picture. The trees occupy the middle third and the blue sky with clouds the upper third. It is balanced by the presence of two large trees in the foreground, one on the left, one on the right. There is a path through the middle of the canvas in an "S" curve. The palette is primarily in sky blues and leaf greens.
Exhibition HistorySalon, Paris, 1859. (Exhib. cat. no. 2641?).
"French Paintings 1789-1929 from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," Dayton Art Institute, March 25 - May 22, 1960. (Exhib. cat. no. 30).
"Paintings of the Barbizon School," Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, Jan. 6 - 29, 1962. (Exhib. cat. no. 44).
"French Landscape Painters from Four Centuries," Finch College Museum of Art, New York, Oct. 20, 1965 - Jan. 9, 1966. (Exhib. cat. no. 20).
"The Second Empire 1852 - 1870," Philadelphia Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, and Grand Palais, Paris, Oct. 1, 1978 - July 2, 1979. (Exhib. cat. no. VI-103).
"Millet and his Barbizon Contemporaries," April - Sept. 1985, Japan: Keio Department Store, April 5 - 24, 1985; The Hanshin Department Store, Ltd., May 2 - 14, 1985; The Miyazaki Prefectural Institution, May 18 - June 23, 1985; Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art, June 29 - July 28, 1985; Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, August 4 - Sept. 8, 1985. (Exhib. cat. no. 89).
"French Paintings from the Chrysler Museum," North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC, May 31 - Sept. 14, 1986, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL, Nov. 6, 1986 - Jan. 18, 1987. (Exhib. cat. no. 24).
"The Rise of Landscape Painting in France: Corot to Monet," High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, Jan. 28 - March 29, 1992; IBM Gallery of Science and Art, NYC, July 30 - Sept. 28, 1991; Dallas Museum of Art, TX, Nov. 10, 1991 - Jan. 5, 1992; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, Jan. 28 - March 29, 1992. (Exhib. cat. no. 107).
"Paintings by Théodore Rousseau," Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, LLC, New York City, February 6 - March 10, 2002.
"In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet," National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., March 2 - June 8, 2008; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, July 13 - October 19, 2008
Published ReferencesExhibition catalogue. _Loan Exhibition of French Landscape Painters from Four Centuries_. New York: Finch College Museum of Art. 1965. No. 20.
Chrysler Museum (DRA). "Landscape in a Thunderstorm," _Chrysler Museum Bulletin_. Vol. 3, no. 5. Norfolk: Chrysler Museum. 05/1974.
Exhibition catalogue. _Millet and his Barbizon Contemporaries_. Keio Department Store, Tokyo; Hanshin Department Store, Osaka; Miyazaki Prefectural Institution, Fukushima; and Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, Kofu. 1985. No. 89.
Jefferson C. Harrison. _French Paintings from the Chrysler Museum_. The Chrysler Museum. 1986. No. 24.
Kay Larson. "The Natural," _New York_. 08/26/1991: 130.
Kermit S. Champa; with contributions by Fronia E. Wissman and Deborah Johnson; introduction by Richard R. Brettell. _The Rise of Landscape Painting in France: Corot to Monet_. Manchester, N.H.: Currier Gallery of Art. 1991: 211, 216.
Jefferson C. Harrison. _The Chrysler Museum Handbook of the European and American Collections: Selected Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings_. Norfolk, VA: The Chrysler Museum, 1991, No. 86, 109, color ill.
VIDEO: _Theodore Rousseau_. Tokyo: Produced by Tokyo Hi-Vision for Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, 1993. Videocassette.
VIDEO: "Into the Nature" in the series "A Journey to the World Masterpieces of Painting", 5 minutes, 1995. Tokyo: NHK Television. Produced by Tokyo Hi-Vision Inc.
Dianne W. Pitman. "The Figure in the Landscape," _Bazille Purity, Pose, and Paintings in the 1860s_. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998, 130, fig. 79.
Jeff Harrison, _Collecting with Vision: Treasures From the Chrysler Museum of Art_ (London: D. Giles Ltd., 2007), 39, fig. 34.
Kimberly Jones, Simon Kelly, Sarah Kennel and Helga Aurisch, _In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet_, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 2008, 58, illus.27.
Amy Kurlander, _The Untamed Landscape: Théodore Rousseau and the Path to Barbizon_ (New York: The Morgan Library and Museum, 2014) 126, fig. 1.
Scott Allan and Édouard Kopp, _Unruly Nature: The Landscapes of Théodore Rousseau_ (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2016) 151, cat. no. 63.
Inscriptions Signed lower left: "Rousseau"
Provenance The artist, ca. 1860/62-1867; the artist's studio sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 27 - May 2, 1868, (cat. no. 38); Arthur Stevens; Ernest Brugeman, Brussels; E. Le Roy et Cie., Paris; Arthur Tooth and Sons, New York, 1903; Frank G. Logan, Chicago; Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.; Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. to the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, 1971.
Current Location Chrysler Museum of Art, Gallery 217
Catalog Entry Théodore Rousseau French, 1812-1867 A Clearing in the Forest of Fontainebleau, ca. 1860-1862 Oil on canvas, 32½" x 57¼" (82.5 x 145.4 cm) Signed lower left: _Rousseau._ Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., 71.2054 References: Tokyo, 1985, no. 89; Harrison, _CM_, 1986, no. 24; Manchester, 1991-92, no. 107. Théodore Rousseau was a founding member of the Barbizon group of artists (nos. 72, 77, 80, 89, 103, 112) and one of the most esteemed landscape painters in mid-nineteenth-century France. In the late 1820s he was already at work at Chailly, near the Fontainebleau Forest. There, and on subsequent visits to the Auvergne (1830) and Normandy (1831), he produced a revolutionary series of vibrant and spontaneous _plein-air_ landscapes, "pure" landscapes that dispensed with traditional narrative subject matter and classical compositional schemes. Rousseau's subsequent career in Paris was a constant struggle against the conservative forces of the Salon and Académie Royale. Between 1836 and 1841 his paintings were consistently rejected by Salon juries, a cruel example of official persecution that earned him the sardonic soubriquet, _le grande refusé_. In 1841 the frustrated Rousseau turned his back on the Salon, where he did not exhibit again until 1849. The years of rejection had their effect on the artist, who took care after 1850 to produce landscapes more in line with official taste. These composed and carefully worked pictures borrowed much from the landscape art of the seventeenth-century Dutch masters. _A Clearing in the Forest of Fontainebleau_, one of several canvases that Rousseau undertook at Barbizon in 1860-62 is an impressive example of his mature, more finished and traditional style. Its composition and the handling of foliage recall particularly the works of the Dutch landscapist Meindert Hobbema. the site depicted may be the _Carrefour de la Reine Blanche_ ("The Crossroads of the White Queen"), a glade in the forest near Barbizon. The site was a favorite of Rousseau's. Three of his other paintings show the same spot; the best known of these is in the Louvre, Paris. The Chrysler Museum picture conveys the clarity and dewy calm of a spring morning near Barbizon, when the first rays of the rising sun bathe the ancient oaks of Fontainebleau in a golden glow. Jefferson C. Harrison. _The Chrysler Museum Handbook of the European and American Collections: Selected Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings_. Norfolk, VA: The Chrysler Museum, 1991, No. 86, 109, color ill.
Object Label Théodore Rousseau French, 1812–1867 A Clearing in the Forest of Fontainebleau, ca. 1860–62 Oil on canvas Just touched with red, the tiny figure far down the road is the only human presence in Théodore Rousseau’s luminous landscape. Celebrating nature above humankind, Rousseau was an outspoken naturalist who nurtured the Barbizon group’s enduring respect for the ancient woods of Fontainebleau. Here he conveys the clarity and dewy calm of a spring morning as the first rays of sun bathe the ancient oaks of the forest in a golden glow. The site depicted is the Carrefour de la Reine-Blanche—the Crossroads of the White Queen—a glade in the forest not far from Barbizon. Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. 71.2054
Object Number 71.2054