Lot 3
  • 3

Jean-François Millet

10,000 - 15,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Jean-François MIllet
  • Study of a Man and Woman Asleep on a Haystack (study for La Méridienne, or Noonday Rest)
  • stamped J.F.M (lower right)
  • black chalk on paper
  • 9 by 13 3/8 in.
  • 22.9 by 33.8 cm


Studio of the artist (and sold, his studio sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, May 10-11, 1875, probably lot 173 or 175, as Moissonneurs endormis)
Michel Boy (and sold, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, June 17, 1905, lot 90)
Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London 
Acquired from the above (circa 1989)

Catalogue Note

Study of a Man and Woman Asleep on a Haystack is Millet’s principal working drawing for the male harvester in the artist’s much-admired La Méridienne (or Noonday Rest), a composition he first developed in 1858-59 for a set of prints depicting the Four Hours of the Day and subsequently enlarged for the pastel Noonday Rest (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, fig. 1).  Millet’s role in the creation of the Realist movement is intricately entwined with his respect for centuries of pastoral imagery in Western art and his fundamental commitment to careful figure drawing.   For the appealingly insouciant harvester featured in this study, with his bare feet and well-beaten top hat, Millet brought long hours of observation of the Barbizon peasants among whom he lived to bear upon the inherited traditions of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Northern prints and almanacs.  Determined to honor the exhaustion and hard work of his harvesting neighbors, as well as their individuality, Millet created a figural composition of unusual power.  The impact of Millet’s figures in Noonday Rest had a particular resonance for Vincent van Gogh, who paid homage to the composition in his 1889 copy (Musée d’Orsay, Paris, fig. 2).