Pond at the Edge of a Wood

drawing of trees and pond

Pierre-Étienne-Théodore Rousseau (1812–1867)
Pond at the Edge of a Wood, 1853
Pencil on paper
7 1/2 x 12 13/16 in. (19.1 x 32.5 cm)
Bequest of Charles A. Ryskamp, 2010
Photo Michael Bodycomb


Rousseau depicts the transitional space between a wood and a sunny clearing—a motif he often revisited in his late work. Through swift hatching and short flecks of the pencil, he creates a texture of lush vegetation and evokes the play of light and shadow across the scene. As a leader of the Barbizon school of artists, Rousseau advocated sketching en plein air, and the present sheet, though remarkably detailed, may have been finished entirely outdoors.

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