Recto: a letter from Rousseau to M. Hollendor
This drawing and its accompanying letter were sent to M. Hollendor in lieu of a delayed painting (as explained below) which he was to pass on to a client. The drawing is a study for the painting mentioned.
ce qui est la cause de mon oubli c’est que j’ai reçu votre lettre au beau milieu de mon emménagement à Paris après un long sejour à la campagne et pour surcroît voici que je m’apperçois que le petit tableau est resté à mon atelier de Barbizon je ne pourrai y retourner que dans une quinzaine de jours – rassurez donc votre client qui pourrait croire qu’il lui est arrivé malheur – je n’ai pas de petit tableau tout entièrement fini à mettre à votre desposition. Quand vous viendrez à Paris vous verrez dans mes ébauches si quelque chose vous convient – Recevez l’assurance de ma consideration distinguée et excusez mon retard à vous repondre.
the cause of my forgetfulness is that I received your letter right in the middle of my move to Paris after a long break in the country and so I now realise that the little painting is still in my studio in Barbizon I won’t be able to return for another fortnight – reassure your client who may think something bad has happened to it – I don’t have a small finished work which I can give you. When you come to Paris you can have a look at my sketches to see if something suits you – Please accept my apologies for the delayed reply and my distinguished regards"
Théodore Rousseau was one of the founders of the Barbizon school of painting near Fontainebleau. Corot arrived in the village of Barbizon in 1822 and Rousseau began painting in the area a few years later. His fascination with the light and landscape of the area is imbued with sense of poetry. Although he often showed at the Salon and won many honur and medals in later years, Rousseau considered himself an outsider, a belief reinforced by Baudelaire, George Sand and Thoré who championed him.
In 1855 a room was reserved for him at the Exposition Universelle. He exhibited regularly thereafter. In 1857 Rousseau traveled to Picardie and painted landscapes influenced by the Dutch. Napoléon III invited him to Compiègne in 1865.