- Carl Larsson
- A la campagne
- signed and dated Carl Larsson / GREZ-SUR-LOING 1883 lower left
- oil on canvas
- 73 by 100cm., 28¾ by 39¼in.
M. Colette, Montréal (purchased in the 1930s; Colette owned the construction firm which built Montréal's Ecole des Beaux-Arts, completed in 1922)
Purchased from the family of the above by the present owner
'Now I have finished a farm scene, with chickens, ducks, pigeons - and mère Catherine. A very, very beautiful work! Of course, a success as usual'
Situated south of Paris on the other side of the Forest of Fontainebleau from Barbizon, Grez-sur-Loing was an important colony for Swedish and international plein air artists in the late nineteenth century. Moving there in spring 1882 at the invitation of fellow artist Karl Nordström, Larsson would remain in Grez until 1885. Staying at the Pension Laurent (visible in the background of the present work), in Grez Larsson met his future wife Karin Bergöö, who was also painting in the village, and achieved the first breakthrough successes of his artistic career.
In Grez Larsson's style evolved markedly, as the artist moved away from the academic style and subjects which had characterised his work since moving to Paris in 1877, and switched to luminous plein air painting à la Bastien-Lepage, sometimes in oil - of which the present work is a prime example - and increasingly in watercolour. 1883, the year the present work was painted, marked particular success for the artist as his three submissions to that year's Paris Salon, Octobre (Les Potirons) (fig. 2) Novembre, and the present work, won Larsson a third class medal, the highest possible accolade for a first-time exhibitor. Interest in purchasing the works came from the French state, however the other two were ultimately acquired by prominent Swedish art collector Pontus Fürstenberg, who would become an important patron and collector of the artist's work.