Musée d'Orsay: Théodore Rousseau Pond near the road

Théodore Rousseau
Pond near the road

The pond near the road, a farm in the Berry
Théodore Rousseau (1812-1867)
The pond near the road, a farm in the Berry
Between 1845 and 1848
Oil on canvas
H. 34.5; W. 53.5 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

La mare près de la route, ferme dans le Berry [The pond near the road, a farm in the Berry]

Rousseau had been a friend of Maurice Sand, son of the author George Sand, since 1839 when they met at the studio of the Swiss painter Menn. Following Maurice's advice, he went to stay in the Indre region in 1842. In 1847, Rousseau again stayed in this part of the Berry, invited to Nohant by George Sand herself. She dreamed of marrying the painter to Augustine Brault, her "adopted daughter". The plan failed, but Rousseau, always in search of motifs to paint, accumulated many sketches and drafts between 1842 and 1847, which he used for several paintings, one of which was The pond near the road, a farm in the Berry.

This painting was directly inspired by 17th century Dutch landscape painting, very fashionable in France in the 19th century. Rousseau and the majority of the artists of his generation had learned about detail and sensitivity by studying these works. But Rousseau took this sense of observation and desire for depth even further. In this way, he contributed to creating "a new Dutch art". He produced a large number of these small, bucolic landscapes that were highly valued by art lovers. Later, at Fontainebleau, he painted the Mare aux Fées again on several occasions in much more dramatic colours.

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