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The Old Forest

Charles-Émile Jacque

European Art

In 1849 Charles-Émile Jacque settled in Barbizon, a village near what had become the center of landscape painting in France: the vast Forest of Fontainebleau. By that year, eight trains a day were traveling direct from Paris to Barbizon, bringing thousands of “nature tourists” from the city.

Here, Jacque portrays a blue-smocked peasant standing near one of Fontainebleau’s famous old trees, an image of labor made to seem gentle and timeless. The forest actually belonged to the French crown, which limited how villagers could use it. Sheep were only permitted to graze at the edge of the forest, for example.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1860–1870
    DIMENSIONS 32 1/2 x 26 1/4 in. (82.6 x 66.7 cm) Frame: 43 1/2 x 37 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (110.5 x 95.3 x 11.4 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed lower left: "ch. Jacque."
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Bequest of Mrs. William A. Putnam
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Charles-Émile Jacque (Paris, France, 1813 – 1894, Paris, France). The Old Forest, 1860–1870. Oil on canvas, 32 1/2 x 26 1/4 in. (82.6 x 66.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Mrs. William A. Putnam, 41.778 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 41.778_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 41.778_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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