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Breaking Flax
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Breaking Flax

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description Despite the modest size of this painting, Millet has imparted a sense of grandeur and monumentality to the woman. Using ancient methods, she pulverizes sheaves of flax to separate the fibers for making linen. Although the artist appears to remain objective in his treatment of the toiling peasants, his picture reflects a concern for the plight of the rural working classes that emerged in French society following the Revolution of 1848, in which the monarchy of Louis-Philippe was overthrown.
Date Description Narrative
10/25/1951Treatmentcleaned; coated; other
10/25/1951Treatmentcleaned; coated
1/01/1953Examinationexamined for condition
1/11/1982Examinationexamined for condition.
7/16/1984Loan Considerationexamined for loan
1/04/1985Treatmentexamined for loan; repaired; cleaned; other
4/27/1988Loan Considerationexamined for loan
  • General Exhibition of the Various Schools of Painters at Lichfield House. Lichfield House, London. 1851.
  • [Exhibition title unknown, held at the French Gallery]. The French Gallery, London. 1874.
  • The Works of Antoine-Louis Barye. American Art Gallery (New York), New York. 1889-1890.
  • From Ingres to Gauguin: French Nineteenth Century Paintings Owned in Maryland. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1951.
  • Van Gogh and Millet. Rijksmuseum Vincent Van Gogh, Amsterdam. 1988-1989.
  • A Magnificent Age: Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte. 2002-2004.
  • From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2014-2016.
Provenance Sensier, February 1851, by purchase [from the artist, see E. Moreau-Nelaton, 1:92]; Henry Wallis, London [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; William T. Walters, Baltimore, prior to 1878, by purchase [from Wallis]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Signature ] In dark brown at lower right: J.F. Millet
Credit Acquired by William T. Walters, before 1878

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oil on canvas
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 18 1/16 x W: 14 5/8 in. (45.8 x 37.2 cm); Framed H: 30 1/2 x W: 27 1/4 x D: 5 1/4 in. (77.5 x 69.2 x 13.3 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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