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The Sheepfold, Moonlight
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The Sheepfold, Moonlight

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description Perhaps encouraged by his developing friendship with Théodore Rousseau, Millet began to concentrate more on landscape settings in the mid-1850s. This painting represents a nocturnal scene on the plain that extended outside the artist's studio between the villages of Barbizon and Chailly. Millet shows a solitary, itinerant shepherd encouraging his flock of sheep into a portable pen. To the left is the movable hut where the shepherd would sleep between April and November, allowing him to act as the nightly guardian of his flock. Such mysteriously lit drawings would later appeal greatly to Georges Seurat. Millet produced at least five versions of "The Sheepfold, Moonlight," in oil, pastel, and charcoal. The earliest is probably the painting in the Walters Art Museum (Walters 37.30), which has been dated to ca. 1856-58. This drawing can be considered a contemporary or later variant.
Date Description Narrative
2/18/1983Examinationexamined for exhibition
1/01/2002Treatmentexamined for exhibition; re-housed; other
  • French Masterworks on Paper. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1992.
  • The Works of Antoine-Louis Barye. American Art Gallery (New York), New York. 1889-1890.
  • A Connoisseur's Portfolio: Nineteenth-century Drawings and Watercolors in the Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1983.
  • French Master Drawings. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1997-1998.
  • A Discerning Eye: Nineteenth-century Drawings and Watercolors. Academy Art Museum, Easton. 1998-1999.
  • Botanical Delights: Floral Motifs in 19th-Century Art. Government House, Annapolis; Strathmore Hall Art Center, North Bethesda; Academy Art Museum, Easton. 1998-1999.
  • Drawn into the Light: Jean-François Millet. The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown; Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum, AJ Amsterdam; The Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburgh. 1999-2000.
  • The Essence of Line: French Drawings from Ingres to Degas. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma. 2005-2006.
Provenance William T. Walters, Baltimore, before 1884 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Signed] Upper right, in charcoal: J.F. Millet
Credit Acquired by William T. Walters, before 1884

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ca. 1858-1860
charcoal on beige, moderately thick, slightly textured wove paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 9 x W: 13 in. (22.8 x 33 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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