Artwork of the Week: October 24

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Pierre-Étienne-Théodore Rousseau, Under the Birches, Evening

Pierre-Étienne-Théodore Rousseau , (French, 1812 –1867), Under the Birches, Evening. Oil on wood panel, 1842–43. Gift of Arthur J. Secor, 1933.37. Gallery 31

As leader of the Barbizon School of 19th-century landscape artists, Rousseau combined his inspiration from 17th-century Dutch landscapes with the school’s desire to paint outside in nature. This practice of working outside would later be used by the Impressionists as well. Rousseau also added his own personal experiences into works such as this by using expressive lighting and bright autumn colors. He apparently began Under the Birches, Evening in the hamlet of La Fay in Berry, central France, and finished it after returning to Paris in 1843.

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