Artist: Jean-François Millet (French, Gruchy 1814–1875 Barbizon)
Date: ca. 1846
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 18 1/4 x 15 in. (46.4 x 38.1 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Sarina Tang and Peter M. Wood, 2002
Accession Number: 2002.613
The impending storm poses a real threat to this woman and her child, whose subsistence depends on the stray sticks of firewood they have gathered. Throughout the 1840s the number of homeless peasants increased dramatically in France, reaching a crisis in the recession of 1847 and contributing to the fall of King Louis-Philippe in the 1848 revolution. Millet's singular image, rivalling Delacroix in its depth of emotion and Daumier in its graphic economy, probably represents Millet’s first treatment of this theme. He reworked the composition in a painting now in the Denver Art Museum.