Rousseau undertook frequent sketching expeditions in the French provinces. In 1844, along with fellow landscapist Jules Dupré (1811–1889), he visited the Landes region in the southwest, where he made works distinctive for their penetrating observation and careful execution. This canvas was probably painted shortly afterward, about 1845. As in many of his landscapes of the mid-1840s, Rousseau arranged the distant planes in parallel strips, a compositional device that he called "planimetric."
Inscription: Signed (lower left): TH.Rousseau.
?[P. L. Everard and Co., London, until 1873; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 28, 1873, no. 58, as "Pâturage; prairie de Normandie," for Fr 11,000]; [Isidore Montaignac, Paris, until 1899; sold on April 8 for Fr 88,000 to Boussod-Valadon]; [Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Paris, 1899; stock no. 25849, as "Prairie bordée d'arbres. Village au fond"; sold on August 19, for Fr 156,000, to Dun]; Robert Graham Dun, New York (1899–d. 1900; life interest to his widow, Mary D. Bradford Dun, 1900–d. 1910)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Taste of the Seventies," April 2–September 10, 1946, no. 150.
Detroit Institute of Arts. "French Painting from David to Courbet," February 1–March 5, 1950, no. 87 (as "Meadow Bordered by Trees").
New York. American Federation of the Arts. "A Landscape View of 19th Century France (circulating exhibition)," September 1, 1954–1957, no catalogue?
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Barbizon: French Landscapes of the Nineteenth Century," February 4–May 10, 1992, no catalogue.
Albany. New York State Museum. "French Painters of Nature; The Barbizon School: Landscapes from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 22–August 22, 2004, no catalogue.
P. W. "Sammlungen und Ausstellungen." Kunstchronik 12 (January 24, 1901), p. 200.
B[ryson]. B[urroughs]. "Recent Accessions." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 6 (April 1911), p. 98, ill. p. 101, as "Meadow, Bordered by Trees".
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, pp. 80–81, ill., suggest the influence of seventeenth-century painters such as Philips Koninck in the arrangement of distant planes into parallel strips.
Nicolai Cikovsky Jr. George Inness. New York, 1971, p. 31, fig. 9, compares it to Inness's "Clearing Up" (1860; George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Springfield, Mass.).
Michel Schulman with Marie Bataillès. Théodore Rousseau, 1812–1867: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint. Paris, 1999, p. 241, no. 420, ill., dates it 1847–52.
Simon Kelly. "The Landscapes of Théodore Rousseau and their Market." Barbizon: Malerei der Natur—Natur der Malerei. Ed. Andreas Burmester et al. Munich, 1999, pp. 423, 432 n. 33, fig. 2, dates it to the 1850s; states that its meticulous facture is characteristic of that decade and observes that while this feature is reminiscent of Hobbema, the composition's "geometrical underpinning" is "very much his own"; comments on the success of such pictures among collectors and critics.