Haystacks: Autumn

Artist: Jean-François Millet (French, Gruchy 1814–1875 Barbizon)

Date: ca. 1874

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 33 1/2 x 43 3/8 in. (85.1 x 110.2 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Lillian S. Timken, 1959

Accession Number: 60.71.12


This picture is from a series depicting the four seasons commissioned in 1868 by the industrialist Frédéric Hartmann. Millet worked on the paintings intermittently for the next seven years. In Autumn, with the harvest finished, the gleaners have departed and the sheep are left to graze. Beyond the haystacks lie the plain of Chailly and the rooftops of Barbizon. The loose, sketchlike finish of this work is characteristic of Millet's late style: patches of the dark lilac-pink ground color are deliberately exposed, and the underdrawing is visible, particularly in the outlines of the haystacks and the sheep.