ST. LOUIS, March 16, 2017—The Saint Louis Art Museum recently installed Théodore Rousseau’s Pheasantry in the Forest of Compiègne, a significant work from the early career of the leading landscape painter of the Barbizon School.
The museum acquired the oil painting in May 2016, but it left St. Louis soon after. The museum loaned Pheasantry in the Forest of Compiègne to the J. Paul Getty Museum for inclusion in the exhibition Unruly Nature: The Landscapes of Théodore Rousseau. After the presentation in Los Angeles, the exhibition and the painting travelled to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen.
This painting, which offers a view of a forest illuminated by moonlight, is a significant work from Théodore Rousseau’s early career, painted when Rousseau was only 21. Alfred Sensier, the artist’s friend and biographer, considered it among “the most dazzling examples of Rousseau’s grand manner.”
Simon Kelly, the museum’s curator of modern and contemporary art, said the acquisition significantly improves the museum’s holdings of Barbizon School paintings.
“This is a very rare example of a moonlight scene in Rousseau’s output, and its gestural brushwork and abstract composition highlight the artist’s importance as an antecedent of the Impressionists,” said Kelly, a Barbizon expert who wrote his doctoral thesis on Rousseau.
Pheasantry in the Forest of Compiègne is on view in Gallery 206.
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