Millet first treated this subject in a woodcut, one of ten in the series Labors of the Fields that were published in a popular periodical in 1853. The art dealer Martinet, in whose gallery such avant-garde artists as Courbet and Manet exhibited, included this painting in a show in 1860.
Inscription: Signed (lower right): J.F. Millet
Alfred Feydeau, Paris (in 1860); [Durand-Ruel, Paris]; private collection (until 1867; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 8, 1867, no. 41, as "Une Faneuse"); Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Borie, Philadelphia (1867–his d. 1880); Mrs. A. E. (Elizabeth D.) Borie, Philadelphia (from 1880); Erwin Davis, New York (until 1889; his sale, Ortgies, New York, March 19–20, 1889, no. 140, as "The Haymaker," for $9,100 to Clark); Alfred Corning Clark, New York (1889–d. 1896); his widow, Elizabeth Clark, later Mrs. Henry Codman Potter, New York (1896–d. 1909); her son, Edward Severin Clark, New York (1909–d. 1933); his brother, Stephen C. Clark, New York (1933–38)
Paris. 26, Boulevard des Italiens. "Tableaux tirés de collections d'amateurs . . .," 1860, no. 269 (as "Une Faneuse," lent by M. Feydeau).
Chicago. World's Fair. "World's Columbian Exhibition: Fine Arts," May 1–October 26, 1893, no. 2949 (as "The Haymaker," lent by Mrs. Alfred Corning Clark, New York).
Baltimore Museum of Art. "Labor in Art," September 5–30, 1938, no. 70 (as "Woman with a Rake").
Louisville. J. B. Speed Art Museum. "Old Masters from the Metropolitan," December 1, 1948–January 23, 1949, no catalogue.
Madison. Memorial Union Gallery, University of Wisconsin. "Old Masters from the Metropolitan," February 15–March 30, 1949, unnumbered cat.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. "Old Masters from the Metropolitan," April 24–June 30, 1949, no catalogue.
Detroit Institute of Arts. "French Painting from David to Courbet," February 1–March 5, 1950, no. 110.
Nashville. Fisk University. April 20–August 15, 1951, no catalogue.
Atlanta University. September 1, 1951–January 30, 1952, no catalogue.
New Orleans. Dillard University. February 1–April 30, 1952, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Van Gogh as Critic and Self-Critic," October 30, 1973–January 6, 1974, no. 21.
Paris. Grand Palais. "Jean-François Millet," October 17, 1975–January 5, 1976, no. 79 (as "Une Faneuse [La râteleuse]").
Albany. New York State Museum. "French Painters of Nature; The Barbizon School: Landscapes from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 22–August 22, 2004, no catalogue.
Williamstown, Mass. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. "The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings," June 4–September 4, 2006, no. 296.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings," May 22–August 19, 2007, no. 296.
Zacharie Astruc. Le Salon intime: Exposition au boulevard des Italiens. Paris, 1860, p. 68, praises it as a masterpiece of light and feeling.
Théophile Gautier. "Exposition de tableaux modernes tirés de collections d'amateurs, 2e article." Gazette des beaux-arts 5 (March 1, 1860), p. 294.
E[dward]. S[trahan]. "Mr. A. E. Borie's Gallery." Private Art Collections of Philadelphia. n.p., 1872, p. 224.
Edward Strahan [Earl Shinn], ed. The Art Treasures of America. Philadelphia, , vol. 1, pp. 156, 162 [includes excerpt from Ref. Strahan 1872], calls it "Woman Raking" in the text and "The Raker" in a list of works in Borie's collection.
Montezuma [Montague Marks]. "My Note Book." Art Amateur (May 1889), p. 123, notes that Davis bought this picture at auction "for a very small sum"; reports that it sold at the Davis sale for $9100 to a representative for Clark.
Étienne Moreau-Nélaton. Millet raconté par lui-même. Paris, 1921, vol. 2, pp. 70, 78.
Josephine L. Allen. "The Gift of a Painting by Millet." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 33 (June 1938), p. 147, ill., dates it about 1870.
James W. Lane. "Notes from New York." Apollo 28 (September 1938), pp. 140–41, ill.
Robert L. Herbert. Letter to Mrs. Leonard Harris. January 19, 1962, states that Lavieille's engraving after a Millet drawing served as the basis for this picture; suggests Millet began this painting in 1852, the same year as the engraving, and finished it about 1856–57; lists two variants, one in oil (about 1860; now Mead Art Museum, Amherst) and the other in pastel (about 1855–57; formerly Vanderbilt collection), and three studies in the Louvre, one in black chalk of the composition and two pencil studies of the woman's hands; notes that the poses of the two women in the rear also appear in the drawing "Les deux faneuses" (about 1852; private collection, London); comments that a "faneuse" tends the hay with a pitchfork and a "râteleuse" uses a rake, although the French sometimes interchange the terms.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, XIX Century. New York, 1966, pp. 89–90, ill., state that it corresponds closely with the Râteleuse (Raker) woodcut by Lavieille [see Ref. Herbert 1962]; note that in January 1860, Millet wrote to Sensier that he had almost completed a picture of a râteleuse, which is identified as an unlocated version [Mead Art Museum]; identify our picture as probably the one lent by Feydeau to Martinet's gallery in Paris in 1860.
Robert L. Herbert. Letter to Anthony Clark. April 25, 1974, proposes a "conjectural date" of about 1855–57, commenting that the oil variant (Mead Art Museum, Amherst), clearly dates from about 1858–60.
Robert Herbert. Jean-François Millet. Exh. cat., Hayward Gallery. [London], 1976, pp. 104, 117, no. 53, ill. [French ed., Paris, 1975, p. 121, no. 79, ill.], dates it 1854–57; notes that the two women in the background first appeared in the independent drawing "Women Raking Hay" (1850–52; collection of the Countess of Avon); calls the pastel version a forgery [this information only appears in the French edition; see Ref. Herbert 1962]; mentions Van Gogh's copy of the engraving.
André Fermigier. Jean-François Millet. New York, 1977, p. 58, ill. p. 65 (color) [French ed., Geneva, 1977, p. 54, ill. p. 61 (color)].
Lois Marie Fink. "French Art in the United States, 1850–1870: Three Dealers and Collectors." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 92 (September 1978), p. 96, notes that Borie purchased this work in Paris in 1867.
Hollister Sturges. "Jules Breton: Creator of a Noble Peasant Image." The Rural Vision: France and America in the Late Nineteenth Century. Ed. Hollister Sturges. Omaha, 1987, p. 34, fig. 19, compares it to Breton's "The Close of the Day" (1865; Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore).
Susan Alyson Stein inTreasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: French Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. Exh. cat., Yokohama Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 1989, p. 136, no. 82, ill. (color), dates it about 1855–57.
Laurent Manœuvre. Millet: Les saisons. Paris, 1996, pp. 28–29, ill. (color), calls it "La Râteleuse" and dates it 1855–60; identifies the woman's headcovering as a "quichenotte".
Louis van Tilborgh inMillet/Van Gogh. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay. Paris, 1998, pp. 128, 137, 140, 168, no. 66, ill. p. 138 (color), call it "Une faneuse" and date it 1854–57.
Sarah Lees inThe Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, Mass., 2006, pp. 315, 338, no. 296.
Gilbert T. Vincent and Sarah Lees inThe Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, Mass., 2006, p. 171, fig. 140 (color), note that it was Stephen Clark's first gift of a painting to the MMA.
Michael Conforti inThe Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, Mass., 2006, p. 33 n. 15, notes that Alfred and Elizabeth Clark lent this picture to the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893.
Susan Waller. "Rustic 'Poseurs': Peasant Models in the Practice of Jean-François Millet and Jules Breton." Art History 31 (April 2008), pp. 198–99, 210 n. 94, pl. 9.
Kathrin Pilz et al. "Van Gogh's Copies from Saint-Rémy: Between Reminiscence, Calculation and Improvisation." Van Gogh's Studio Practice. Ed. Marije Vellekoop et al. Brussels, 2013, pp. 107–8.
The origin of this composition is a woodcut engraved by Adrien Lavieille after a drawing on wood by Millet. Three drawings in the Louvre have been identified as sketches for the woodcut. A later oil variant is in the Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, for which there exist two sketches, in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and a private collection, Saint Louis. A drawing of the two rakers in the left background is in a private collection, London [see Ref. Herbert 1976].