Le Départ pour le travail

An exceptionally fine and harmonious impression on the full sheet, with very rich inking and a lot of burr, delicate plate tone and plate dirt on the edges. The very rare first state of seven, before Millet’s signature and the address of Delâtre and Moureaux. After Millet’s 1852 painting of the same title, in the same orientation as the painting.

According to Beraldi, this is his ‘œuvre capitale’ and was ‘executée pour la Société des Dix, (Société d’amateurs aussitot dissoute que formée’.

Millet’s master print of the first state. Of the utmost rarity.

Delteil 19 (I/VII);
Melot 19 (I/VII);
Beraldi 20 (I/IV).

Ex-colls. Zitmann (German collector, beginning of the 20th century) (L. 651a);
Henri Marie Petiet (1894 Saint Prix – 1951 Paris);
Dr. S. William Pelletier (1925- 2004 Athens, GA, USA).

About Jean-François Millet

Renowned for his Realist subject matter, Jean-Francois Millet was moved by social injustice to paint peasants and agricultural laborers, capturing both the poverty and dignity of rural French life. “The human side of art is what touches me most,” he once said. Though the artist was considered a socialist revolutionary by much of the establishment, Millet’s painting The Winnower (1848), praised by one critic as possessing “everything it takes to horrify the bourgeois,” sold at the Paris Salon in 1848. In 1849, Millet moved to Barbizon, where he painted many of his most famous works, and, with Théodore Rousseau, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, and others, founded the Barbizon School of landscape painters. In one of his most famous works, The Gleaners (1857), women and children bathed in Millet’s characteristic soft, golden light (meant to convey the sanctity of their relationship to the land) collect grain from the fields after harvest.

French, 1814-1875, Gruchy, France, based in Barbizon, France