A Tree

about 1816, Achille-Etna Michallon

The Gere Collection, on long-term loan to the National Gallery, © Private collection 2000. Used by permission

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In his 'Eléments de perspective' of 1800, Michallon's teacher Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes advised his students to make oil sketches of beautiful trees.

In this sketch Michallon has depicted an ancient tree trunk. The bark is composed of countless quick strokes of colour that suggest its rough texture, while its gnarled branches twist and curl dramatically.

On the reverse of the sheet is a painting of a farmhouse set against a row of trees with a cloud-filled sky above.

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