Signed in black chalk at lower right; "J.F. Millet"
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection", 2017. Exh. cat., no. 263, repr.
Stampfle, Felice, and Cara D. Denison. Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene V. Thaw. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1975, no. 89.
100 Master drawings from the Morgan Library & Museum. München : Hirmer, 2008, no. 86, repr. [Jennifer Tonkovich]
Urged to make finished drawings by his friend the art dealer Alfred Sensier, the impoverished Millet produced finished vignettes such as this sheet. Sensier referred to Millet's group of drawings of laborers as The Epic of the Fields. Here a couple loads sacks of potatoes onto a wheelbarrow, seemingly at the end of the day. The artist's use of black chalk across the entire surface of the rough paper--which he rubbed for soft effects in the sky and sharpened to outline the figures--renders an atmosphere that integrates the figures in their setting. Respect for rural labor in an increasingly industrialized France is a constant theme in Millet's drawings. -- Exhibition Label, from "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection"