This composition is largely comprised of three horizontal bands: empty foreground, screen of trees, and sky. These broad registers are animated by nimble details, such as the complementary curves of the path and the river, or the straight line of figures that begins with the cow at left and leads the eye to the far bank. Light is deployed as a unifying element, a feature of seventeenth-century Dutch landscape painting that Rousseau transposed to a French setting.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): Th. Rousseau
M. Delondres, Paris (until 1871; sold on December 27, for Fr 6,600, to Goupil); [Goupil & Cie, Paris, 1871–72; stock no. 6011, as "Au bord de la rivière"; sold on March 16, 1872, for Fr 13,500, to Botkin]; Dmitri Petrovitch Botkin, Moscow (from 1872); Sergei Sergeievitch Botkin, Vienna (until 1905; sold on February 20, for Fr 100,000, to Boussod-Valadon); [Boussod-Valadon, Paris, 1905; stock no. 28402, as "Paysage et rivière"; sold on May 3, for Fr 140,000, to Knoedler]; [Knoedler, Paris and London, 1905; stock no. 3778; shipped in December to Knoedler, New York]; [Knoedler, New York, 1905–7; stock no. 10722; sold on February 19 for $40,000 to Huntington]; Mrs. Collis P. (Arabella D.) Huntington, New York (1907–d. 1924; life interest terminated by her son, Archer Milton Huntington, 1925)
San Antonio. Witte Memorial Museum. "The One-Picture Exhibition," April 1931, no catalogue.
Berea, Ky. Berea College. April 15–May 16, 1935, 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.
Terence Mullaly. "The Barbizon School, II. Rousseau." Apollo 62 (August 1955), fig. III, as "The Edge of the Forest".
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. 80, ill.
Michel Schulman with Marie Bataillès. Théodore Rousseau, 1812–1867: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint. Paris, 1999, p. 155, no. 197, ill., dates it 1839–42.