Jean François MILLET (1814-1875) The first...

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Jean François MILLET (1814-1875) The first...

Jean François MILLET (1814-1875) The first pastel pastels on paper Signed lower right: J. F Millet 40 x 46.7 cm Pastel, signed lower right, 15 3/4 x 18 13/32 in Expert: Cabinet Brame et Lorenceau Millet has always practiced pastel. This fragile powder catches the light wonderfully, but a softened light, conducive to luminous, soft and delicate effects. This atmosphere is in perfect harmony with one of Jean-François Millet's favourite themes: the family, transcribed in his daily life, his intimacy . Our pastel reveals a special and tender moment between a mother and her child. A key moment in the learning process: The first steps. This bucolic and benevolent scene has been performed several times by the artist. Another version, also entitled The First Steps is now part of the collection of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Mississippi, USA. It depicts a mother helping her young child to get up and take her first steps towards her father, through the vegetable garden. In our version, only the mother and daughter are depicted. However, Millet adds a group of geese in the lower left part of the composition, this time in a farmyard. Intrigued by the animals, the child deliberately walks towards them with arms wide open. The work in the Musée de Laurel was copied by Vincent Van Gogh, who reproduced this composition via a Braun photograph from the Goupil-Valadon collection. Millet's original and Van Gogh's copy were hung next to each other during the Millet-Van Gogh exhibition in 1998 at the Musée d'Orsay. The replacement of the distracted father in his gardening duties by a group of four geese shows us how Millet, a fan of repetition of the same subject, never made copies but made subtle variations by changing details of the composition without affecting its meaning.
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