Théodore Rousseau was a central figure in the renewal of landscape painting that radically changed the French art world during the 19th century. He was influenced by English romantic painters, particularly John Constable and Richard Parkes Bonnington, and 17th century Dutch landscape artists such as Jan van Goyen. As a leading exhibitor at the Salon from the 1830s onwards, Rousseau's influence on the visual arts was immense. He established an artist's colony at Barbizon in 1848, where he worked closely with his great friend Jean-François Millet.
In the present lot, the symbiotic relationship of the plush landscape under a stormy sky presents all the characteristics that made the Rousseau famous. Where the land both builds up in the foreground and respectively recedes away in the background, the river weaves through Thiézac valley, giving life its surroundings. The current of the river visibly pushes forward from the right of the composition, flowing towards the viewer as if to meet them on the bank, but remains just calm enough for the artist to capture reflections of the rich and contrasting light from the sky glinting on the surface of the water.