Sep 13, 2011

The Fisherman (Le Pêcheur)

The Fisherman (Le Pêcheur)

c. 1840–45

Théodore Rousseau

(French, 1812–1867)

Pen and brown ink and brush, gray and black wash (scratched away in places), with touches of pink watercolor

Support: Beige(1) wove paper laid down on brown wove paper perimeter mounted to a false margin of beige(1) wove paper

Sheet: 20.9 x 28 cm (8 1/4 x 11 in.); Secondary Support: 20.9 x 28 cm (8 1/4 x 11 in.); Tertiary Support: 29.6 x 37.9 cm (11 5/8 x 14 15/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1980.18



The quintessential Barbizon artist, Rousseau was romantically in love with nature. He spent the better part of twenty years living in near poverty in a cottage in the village of Barbizon, painting in a converted barn. The Fisherman is an early drawing by the artist, probably executed on the outskirts of Paris. The tree, the foreground grasses and rocks, and the humble form of the fisherman at rest are rendered with great specificity. Rousseau thought of each tree in the Forest of Fontainebleau as being almost human, each marked by a particular fate and struggle.

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