The Knitting Lesson, c. 1860, by Jean-François Millet (Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute)
Jean-Francois Millet: Drawn into the Light
June 20, 1999 - September 6, 1999
The greatest masterpieces by the French painter Jean François Millet—The Gleaners, Man with a Hoe, The Sower—are instantly recognizable to many who know him as one of the nineteenth century's most beloved artists. With their tender scenes of domestic life and unflinching studies of farm labor, Jean-François Millet's depictions of rural Barbizon confronted contemporary viewers with a new kind of art and an image of peasant life at once nostalgic and threatening. In its first U.S. visit in over twenty years Millet's most celebrated painting, The Gleaners, joined over eighty other oil paintings, drawings, and pastels in this exhibition exploring Millet's rich imagery and innovative technique as both painter and graphic artist. Conceived by guest curator and leading Millet expert Alexandra R. Murphy, Drawn into the Light demonstrated how Millet reinvented the visual language of Michelangelo and Poussin to express his engagement with contemporary life. Organized by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in association with the Frick Art and Historical Center, Pittsburgh, the exhibition traveled to the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, and the Frick following its Williamstown premier.