'I also heard the voices of the trees; this whole world of flora lived as deaf-mutes whose signs I devined and whose passions I uncovered: I wanted to talk with them and to be able to tell myself, by this other language - painting - that I had put my finger on the secret of their majesty." - Theodore Rousseau
Rousseau was the leading painter of the Barbizon School, whose paintings breathed new life into French landscape painting. These artists were influenced not only by Camille Corot and his pioneering role in the emergence of a modern French school of landscape painting, but also by English painters such as John Constable and Dutch artists of the 17th century such as Salomon Ruysdael and Meindert Hobbema. 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. Whereas the latter focussed on man's struggle to draw a living from the rural environment, Rousseau espoused a more harmonious view of nature as a benevolent force, in which man played no greater or lesser role than the trees, rocks and water that fill his paintings.
The great critic Jules Castagnary wrote of the artist: 'Théodore Rousseau is the master. He is the king of landscape. From the great heights of his great and easygoing talent he dominates that glorious galaxy of landscape artists... What characterises Rousseau's general manner is his penetrating poetry. He doesn't exhibit any violent bias; he never sacrifices one detail to another, but only to the whole; he doesn't summarize varying effects to impose instead a single impression. He strives rather to maintain the balance of things and their natural relationship to each other. He finds the unity of his painting not in the simplification of material means, but in a carefully controlled strength of feeling.'
The present lot will be sold with a photo-certificate by Michel Schulman dated 24 February 2017.