Skip to Main Content

Les falaises de Gréville (The Cliffs of Gréville)

Public Domain

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Public Domain

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Public Domain

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Jean-François Millet

French, 1814-1875

Les falaises de Gréville (The Cliffs of Gréville), 1871-1872

oil on canvas

support: 36 3/4 x 45 7/8 inches (93.34 x 116.52 cm); framed: 48 1/2 x 57 5/8 x 4 1/2 inches (123.19 x 146.3675 x 11.43 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Elisabeth H. Gates Fund, 1919

1919:7

Currently On View

More Details

Inscriptions

signature, undated / front, lower left / J. F. Millet

Provenance

May 1875, Millet atelier sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 10-11, 1875, no. 41, for 4600 francs.
Thérèse Humbert [1856-?], Paris;
June 1902, sold at auction subsequent to the Humberts' bankruptcy, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, June 20-21, 1902.
R. W. Paterson.
Sir John D. Milburn, Acklington, Northumberland;
June 1909, sold at Milburn Collection sale, Christie, Manson, and Woods, London, June 10-11, 1909, cat. no. 94;
Henry Wallis [1830-1916], English painter, writer and art collector.
James J. Hill (A letter from M. Knoedler & Co., to Cornelia B. Sage Quinton, Albright Art Gallery, August 29, 1923, in the Gallery files identifies him as James F. Hill, though the name appears in other non-published sources as James F. Hill);
Knoedler and Company, New York;
October 29, 1919, purchased by the Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo

Class

Paintings (visual works)

Work Type

Oil painting (visual work)

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

In August of 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, Jean-François Millet returned to Cherbourg, where his family owned a small farm overlooking the choppy gray waters of the English Channel. During this time, he painted several seascapes, including “The Cliffs of Gréville,” a monumental essay on the harsh beauty of the Normandy coastline. In Millet’s earlier work, the countryside served as a backdrop for depictions of farm workers performing everyday tasks. His most celebrated images from this period consider the dignity, as well as the privations, of French peasant life. Millet became preoccupied with the landscape as a subject in itself in his later career and was one of the founders of the Barbizon School, an early nineteenth-century group of painters who pioneered the practice of painting outdoors and were key precursors of the Impressionists. This shift in perspective is clear in the “The Cliffs of Gréville,” where Millet highlights the imposing structure of the cliff, wind-sculpted soil, lapping waves, and heavy clouds.
Back to Top