As a restorer at the Louvre, Michel became familiar with the great Dutch seventeenth-century landscapes by van Ruisdael, van Goyen, and Rembrandt, which strongly influenced his own style of landscape painting. This work is similar to other canvases painted after 1827 that are known to be views of a plain in the region of Brie, near Paris.
Frigyes and Wilhelmine Szarvady, Paris (until 1872; sold to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, from 1872, as "Château féodal et église"]; M. Andrews (in 1873); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, until 1880]
Chapel Hill. University of North Carolina. September 27–October 27, 1940, no catalogue?
Little Rock. Arkansas Arts Center. "Five Centuries of European Painting," May 16–October 26, 1963, not in catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Van Gogh as Critic and Self-Critic," October 30, 1973–January 6, 1974, no. 29.
Alfred Sensier. Étude sur Georges Michel. Paris, 1873, p. 159, no. 110, ill. opp. p. 135 (etching), as "Eglise de village," in the collection of M. Andrews, reversing the dimensions as 70 x 50 cm [The illustration, which has no caption and differs slightly from this painting, and the catalogue entry were identified as The Met's picture by Paul-Louis Durand-Ruel in correspondence of February 17 and 21, 2017.].
Samuel P. Avery. Diary entry. June 21, 1880 [published in "The Diaries 1871–1882 of Samuel P. Avery, Art Dealer", ed. Madeleine Fidell Beaufort et al., New York, 1979, p. 576], notes that Durand-Ruel gave this picture to the Museum.
Samuel P. Avery. Letter to Luigi Palma di Cesnola, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. August 12, 1880, notes that Durand-Ruel offered the picture to the museum at his [Avery's] suggestion, and that it was seen and approved by [John Taylor] Johnston.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, XIX Century. New York, 1966, p. 2, ill., as "The Old Château," probably painted in the artist's last period, after 1827; note that Sensier (1873, p. 61) mentions as subjects typical of this period, "seigneurial manor houses in the wide, cultivated plains of Brie, illuminated with rays of the pale light of November".
Isabelle Gaëtan and Monique Nonne inInventing Impressionism: Paul Durand-Ruel and the Modern Art Market. Ed. Sylvie Patry. Exh. cat., Musée du Luxembourg, Paris. London, 2015, p. 215 [French ed., "Paul Durand-Ruel: le Pari de l'Impressionnisme," Paris, 2014, p. 200], state that Durand-Ruel presented the picture to the MMA on June 19, 1880 [July 20 in French ed.].
According to Paul-Louis Durand-Ruel, in correspondence of February 17, 2017, all the illustrations in Sensier (1873) are from etchings made for Durand-Ruel's Recueil d'Estampes. 300 plates were published in 1873; approximately another 100 were made but not published before the project was discontinued. Paul-Louis Durand-Ruel identifies The Met's painting as stock no. 1914, photo no. 4477 (recorded by Durand-Ruel as "page 247"), and as the illustration in Sensier; he further notes that this etching is among those not published in the Recueil.
A handwritten note on the catalogue cards for this picture states that de Tolnay dated it about 1830.
Artist: Georges Michel (French, Paris 1763–1843 Paris)Date: n.d.Medium: black chalk with touches of gray wash and watercolor (recto); pen and ink over black chalk with gray wash (verso)Accession: 1997.455a, bOn view in:Not on view