The Forest of Fontainebleau
Oil on canvas, retaining a paper label on reverse
“Souvenir offert a mon viel ami Babcock/ F. Millet fils/
Etude peintre en 1866 par moi.”
(A gift offered to my old friend Babcock/F Millet son/Study painted in 1866 by me.)
Painting: 15” x 18.5”
Frame: 23.25” x 26”
Jean François Millet fils, eldest son of the famous painter, took after his father both in name and in artistic style, evidenced by this naturalist landscape.
Slender, almost fragile-looking beech trees grow out of the sandy earth, counterbalanced by a stalwart pine at the right. The gunmetal sky and the crumbling foliage in the background suggests that this is a late fall or winter scene. The overall austerity of the painting offers viewers a soothing quietude.
The inscription on the back dedicates the painting to William Babcock, an American expatriate artist who worked with Millet fils in Barbizon. Both painters are listed in Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zu Gegenwart (Thieme/Becker, 1992) and Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs (Bénézit, 1999).