Late 19th-Century French School

Plein Air Landscape With Haycart & Farmhouse

Late 19th-Century French School

Plein Air Landscape With Haycart & Farmhouse

This late 19th-century French oil painting depicts a rural view with haycart, fieldhands and farmhouse.

Under a sky abundant with rolling clouds, oxen pull a heavy cart through dense fields. Beyond them, a rustic farmhouse is nestled into the scenery. Painted en plein air (outside), this masterful little work captures the scene perfectly.

There’s a special quality to plein air painting that’s difficult to quantify. It’s an impromptu expression of what one sees before them - an effort to render a moment in time before it vanishes. The nature of doing so requires speed and skill, quick flashes of form, daubs of light, and suggestions of movement.

Here, the artist has adopted a simple palette, essentially brown, blue and white, to convey enough contrast to render it well. By working rapidly, they’ve also captured a sense of spirit, nature’s own spontaneity. A rythmical energy flowing through the earth, the sky above, and the figures working the land. It was probably a study undertaken on a scenic tour.

It’s signed in the bottom left, perhaps ‘A E Belleuse’ although the name plaque reads ‘A F Belleus’. If it is indeed by A E Belleuse, it could relate to the renowned sculptor Albert-Ernest De Carrier Belleuse (1824-1887).

On the reverse, a gallery/exhibition label features the name ‘Lathrop Brown’, which may refer to an American politician who was a keen collector of impressionist paintings by Degas and Gauguin.

Signed in the lower left and framed.

Medium: Oil on board
Overall size: 18” x 12” / 46cm x 31cm
Year of creation: c. 1880
Labels & Inscriptions: Label on reverse inscribed with ‘Lathrop Brown’.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Fine craquelure but the paint is stable. Frame with some light wear.

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