Georges Michel (French, 1763-1843)
oil on fabric, Framed: 105.6 x 146.4 x 9.6 cm (41 9/16 x 57 5/8 x 3 3/4 in.); Unframed: 88.8 x 129.5 cm (34 15/16 x 50 15/16 in.). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Noah L. Butkin 1975.78
The location of this scene, probably near Paris, has not been identified with certainty. Unlike most painters of this time, Michel never traveled to Italy and focused only on depicting locations in France. Michel was always interested in Dutch art, however, and was nicknamed the "French Ruisdael"-a reference to the 17th-century Dutch landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael (1628-1682). After about 1808, Michel explored personal interpretations of landscape, focusing on light, sky, and space. The brooding, vaguely threatening atmosphere in this painting embodies the Romantic notion that human beings are insignificant relative to the larger forces of nature.
New York, Padawer Galleries. XIX Century Landscape Masters (5-30 January 1960), no. 8, Rolling landscape with figures, as oil on paper backed by canvas, 35 x 51 in. (repr.).
Memphis, Dixon Gallery and Gardens; Oberlin, Ohio, Allen Memorial Art Museum; Louisville, Ky., J. B. Speed Art Museum. From Arcadia to Barbizon: A Journey in French Landscape Painting (1987-88), no. 47 (repr.).
St. Paul, James J. Hill House. Homecoming: The Art Collection of James J. Hill (1991), no. 27 (repr.).
Noon, Patrick, Contable to Delacroix: British Art and the French Romantics (London: Tate Publishing ©2003), fig. 56, p. 202.
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