Alfred Sensier. La Vie et l'oeuvre de J.-F. Millet. Paris, 1881, p. 84, dates it to Millet's stay at Le Havre in 1845 and calls it "Vieille femme et enfant revenant de faire du bois".
"Art Sensation of the Year." New York Times (January 23, 1907), p. 8.
"Billings to Sell 31 Great Masters." New York Times (December 6, 1925), p. E14, notes that it is from the Henry sale.
"Billings Paintings Sell for $401,300." New York Times (January 9, 1926), p. 14, remarks that V. L. Benquiat bought it for $2,200.
"C. K. Billings, Noted Sportsman." New York Times (May 7, 1937), p. 25, possibly this picture.
Lucien Lepoittevin. Jean-François Millet. Paris, 1975, vol. 2, pp. 76, 103, ill., calls it "L'Orage," dates it about 1848–50, and mentions that it was once owned by Durand-Ruel.
Robert Herbert. Jean-François Millet. Exh. cat., Hayward Gallery. [London], 1976, p. 66, under no. 28 [French ed., Paris, 1975, p. 78, under no. 46], dates it 1845–46 and calls the subject "an aged fagot-gatherer [sic] hurrying a child through a forlorn landscape, threatened by a mighty storm".
Bruce Laughton. "A Group of Millet Drawings of the Female Nude." Master Drawings 17 (Spring 1979), pp. 44–47, 50 n. 6, fig. 3, relates this painting to a black chalk drawing of three female figures (Kupferstichkabinett der Öffentlichen Kunstsammlung, Basel, inv. no. 1961.15, 21.2 x 29 cm) and to two other paintings identical in size, "The Return from the Fields" (Cleveland Museum of Art) and "The Return of the Flock" (Musée du Louvre, Paris); suggests that these three paintings should be dated about 1846–47, based on the use of Catherine Lemaire as his model, between her pregnancies with his first and second child, or July 1846–July 1847.
Robert L. Herbert. Letter to Lenore Golub. May 16, 1984, mentions two studies for it: the drawing in Basel (formerly in the Rouart collection) and the study of both figures from Cherbourg [then believed lost].
Four Hundred Selections from the Permanent Art Collection of Hofstra University. Hempstead, N.Y., 1985, pp. intro., 36, ill.
Yoichiro Ide in Jean-François Millet (1814–1875). Exh. cat., Bunkamura Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 1991, pp. 176, 228, no. 9, ill.
Bruce Laughton. The Drawings of Daumier and Millet. New Haven, 1991, p. 214 n. 49, mentions it in discussing the preparatory drawing in Basel.
Alexandra R. Murphy. Retreat from the Storm by Jean-François Millet. March 18, 1991, unpaginated, dates it 1845–46 and calls it his earliest treatment of the subject, noting that it was made well before he moved to Barbizon at the end of the decade.
Alexandra R. Murphy in Jean-François Millet (1814–1875). Exh. cat., Bunkamura Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 1991, pp. 30.
Gary Tinterow. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2002–2003." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 61 (Fall 2003), pp. 5, 33, ill. (color), calls it "a striking composition from Millet's early maturity . . . a faggot gatherer clutching on one hand the day's harvest and in the other, her child"; notes the social significance of the image shortly before the revolution and credits both Daumier and Delacroix as influences; mentions that this is the first treatment of the image and remarks that it was reworked in a canvas of the same size (Denver Art Museum) and that a sketch for the painting was at auction in 2001.