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First Steps, result 1 of 1
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France, 19th century
black chalk and pastel
beige(1) laid paper, perimeter mounted to beige(1) wove paper
Sheet: 29.5 x 45.9 cm (11 5/8 x 18 1/16 in.); Secondary Support: 36 x 50.9 cm (14 3/16 x 20 1/16 in.)
In the 1860s Millet developed the practice of adding pastel to his black chalk drawings of peasants and rural life, with the hope that the addition of color would make his monochromatic drawings more marketable. Between 1865 and 1869, he worked almost exclusively in pastel, producing more than 100 works. The taste for “enhanced” or “pastelled drawings,” as Millet described them, grew among collectors and artists, and inspired a revival of the medium in the 1870s and 1880s. Here, in a fenced-in garden behind a house, parents encourage their child to walk for the first time. Delicate passages of blue, green, yellow, and red enliven the composition.
signed, lower right, in black chalk: J. F. Millet
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Collection: DR - French
Provenance: Emile Gavet, Paris; [his sale, Drouot, 11-12 June 1875, no. 80]; purchased by "Del" (annotated copy of Gavet sale cat., National Gallery of Art Library, Washington); [Rosenberg & Stiebel, Inc., New York]; Mrs. Thomas H. Jones Sr., Cleveland.
Herbert in Paris/London 1975-76 includes in the provenance a work that sold at Drouot, Paris, 30 April 1888, as no. 5, which is incorrect, since this lot is a painting; no other works in the sale correspond to the Cleveland drawing.
Gift of Mrs. Thomas H. Jones, Sr.
Image and original data from The Cleveland Museum of Art
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