On the road, circa 1880
Oil on canvas
Signed lower left
Dimensions: 65 x 55 cm
With frame: 85 x 73 cm
Henry Lerolle stages a woman and her child walking away on a country road. In the background we can see a house and silhouettes; certainly the entrance to a village.
Far from any academicism, by an impressionist and free touch, the painter magnifies this bucolic landscape.
A white light irradiates the sky on which the trees stand out in shadow, bringing a modernity to the painting.
Henry Lerolle is a naturalist painter on the fringe of the impressionist movement. In the 1880s, he painted outdoor scenes of women at work, shepherds, water carriers, harvesters in the countryside.
He trained at the Academy of Charles Suisse and then entered the School of Fine Arts in Paris in the studio of Louis Lamothe. He debuted at the Salon of 1868. He exhibited regularly at the National Society of Fine Arts where he obtained numerous distinctions, including a gold medal in 1900.
Henry Lerolle surrounds himself with artists whose works he collects, musicians and writers like Degas, Monet, Renoir, Maurice Denis, Gustave Moreau. Violinist and amateur composer, it was through his wife, Madeleine Escudier, that he was introduced to contemporary music. He became Claude Debussy’s friend and forged relations with Henri Dupais, Sergei Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky.
His two daughters married the sons of his friend the industrialist and collector Henri Rouart. They pose for Edgard Degas, Renoir, Maurice Denis or Albert Besnard.
– Gérard Schurr, Pierre Cabane, Dictionnaire des petits maîtres de la peinture, 1820-1920, t. II, Paris, Editions of the amateur, 1996
Value of Tomorrow, Les Éditions de L’Amateur, Volume V
– In Paris: Museum of Modern Art; The Petit Palais.
– In the provinces: Carcassonne, Mulhouse, Nice, Orléans, Le Havre.
New York, Metropolitan Museum, Boston, Minneapolis, Bucharest, Budapest; National Museum,