This picture is one of several reduced variants of Troyon's Departure for the Market (Le Départ pour le Marché)
, which was exhibited in the Salon of 1859 (see Leeman 1996). The young Claude Monet, who visited the Salon, described it as “superb and full of light.” The Salon painting (now in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg) depicts two riders and additional animals. Troyon painted a replica of the Salon painting (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Verviers, Belgium). A version similar to The Met’s was sold at Sotheby's, New York, on January 19, 1995 (no. 360), and may be the one reproduced as an engraving in Arthur Hustin's monograph on the artist (Paris , ill. between pp. 48–49). Another version of The Met composition is in a private collection, 's-Hertogenbosch.
Elements of the composition reflect those of an earlier painting by Troyon, Going to Market on a Misty Morning
(1851, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown).
Presumably made for the domestic setting of a private collector, The Met's painting testifies to Troyon’s popularity as a painter of animal subjects after 1847, when, during a trip to The Netherlands and Belgium, the work of seventeenth-century artists Paulus Potter and Aelbert Cuyp proved a revelation, determining the course of the rest of his career. For additional context, see The Met 25.110.19
Asher Miller 2023
 Quoted by Henri Loyrette, “The Salon of 1859,” in Gary Tinterow and H. Loyrette, Origins of Impressionism
, exh. cat., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1994, p. 23 n. 80 and p. 25.