In this animated scene of a simple dirt track, the eye is led simultaneously upward to the left and downward to the right. Troyon adopted this dual perspective from seventeenth-century Dutch landscape painting, which vanguard French artists of his generation studied for naturalistic alternatives to the more formal, Italianate models favored by the Academy. Troyon depicted the penetration of brilliant sunlight through the tree canopy with palpitating brushwork that was rarely equaled in the mid-1840s, when this work was probably painted.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): C.TROYON.
William H. Stewart, Paris (until 1898; his estate sale, American Art Association, New York, February 3–4, 1898, no. 100, as "The Lane," for $13,700 to Huntington); Collis P. Huntington, New York (1898–d. 1900; his bequest to MMA with life interest to his widow, Arabella D. Huntington, later [from 1913] Mrs. Henry E. Huntington, 1900–d. 1924; life interest to their son, Archer Milton Huntington, 1924–terminated in 1925)
San Francisco. California Palace of the Legion of Honor. "Barbizon Revisited," September 27–November 4, 1962, no. 103.
Toledo Museum of Art. "Barbizon Revisited," November 20–December 27, 1962, no. 103.
Cleveland Museum of Art. "Barbizon Revisited," January 15–February 24, 1963, no. 103.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Barbizon Revisited," March 14–April 28, 1963, no. 103.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Van Gogh as Critic and Self-Critic," October 30, 1973–January 6, 1974, no. 22.
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.
"The Sale of Pictures: Fifty-eight Works of Art of the Stewart Collection Bring $268,395." New York Times (February 5, 1898), p. 6, reports that Huntington paid $13,700 for this picture at the Stewart sale.
Roger Riordan. "The Stewart Sale." Art Amateur 38 (March 1898), p. 82.
"The Stewart Pictures." New York Times (January 25, 1898), p. 7.
"The Huntington Pictures: No Accurate Estimate of Their Value Yet Formed." New York Times (August 26, 1900), p. 12, states that Huntington paid $13,500 for this picture [see Ref. New York Times, February 5, 1898].
Louis Soullié. Peintures, pastels, aquarelles, dessins de Constant Troyon relevés dans les catalogues de ventes de 1883 à 1900. [Paris], 1900, p. 102, as "Le Sentier".
Bryson Burroughs. "The Collis P. Huntington Collection Comes to the Museum." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 20 (June 1925), pp. 142–43, as "Wood Road".
Robert L. Herbert. Barbizon Revisited. Exh. cat., California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco. Boston, 1962, pp. 35–36, 195, no. 103, ill. p. 197, dates it about 1844–46.
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, p. 75, ill., call it "The Road in the Woods" and tentatively date it between 1844–46.
Charles Theodore Price. "Naturalism and Convention in the Painting of Charles-François Daubigny." PhD diss., Yale University, 1967, pp. 39–40, fig. 7.
Jean Bouret. L'École de Barbizon et le paysage français au XIXe siècle. Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 1972, p. 271, ill. p. 110, dates it about 1844–46.