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European Art
Artist: Jean-François Millet, French, 1814–1875

Starry Night

ca. 1850–65

Oil on canvas

unframed: 65.4 × 81.3 cm (25 3/4 × 32 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., Class of 1913, Fund
Jean-François Millet may have painted this work shortly after he moved to Barbizon, an artists’ colony south of Paris, in 1849. Retouched by the artist some fifteen years later, Starry Night is one of Millet’s most dramatic experiments in nocturnal landscape. The composition and evocative light effects bring to mind Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting of the same title (Museum of Modern Art, New York). Van Gogh may have been influenced by this painting, which he could have seen in Paris between 1873 and 1875; his admiration of Millet’s work is well known.
Not on view
19th century

Atelier Millet (sale, Paris, Hotel Drouot, 10-11 May 1875, no. 32 [dated 1867]); Galerie Goupil, London; George Lillie Craik, London (since 1878); J.S. Knapp-Fisher, London (by descent).


Henry Naegely, J.F. Millet and Rustic Art (London: Elliot Stock Publishing, 1898), 124.

Etienne Moreau-Nélaton, Millet; raconté par lui-même, 3 (Paris: H. Laurens, 1921).

T. Mullaly, “Barbizon School Paintings,” Daily Telegraph and Morning Post (May 12, 1958), 10.

Yong Zheng, “Hazlitt Gallery,” The Times (May 12, 1958), 14.

“Recent Gifts and Purchases,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 28, nos. 2–3 (December 1962): 49.

Robert L. Herbert, “Millet Reconsidered,” Museum Studies 1 (1966): 29–55.

Francoise Forster-Hahn, French and School of Paris Paintings in the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1968), 18, pl. 6.

Dario Durbe and Anna Maria Damigella, La scuola di Barbizon di Dario Durbée Anna Maria Damigella (Milano, Italy: Fabbri, 1969), 20–22, 79, ill.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, and Aaron Sheon, “French art and science in the mid 19th century,” The Art Quarterly (1971): 434–55.

Katherine Neilson and Andrew Carnduff Ritchie, Selected Paintings and Sculpture from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1972), no. 74, ill.

Robert L. Herbert, Michel Laclotte, and Roseline Bacou, Jean-Francois Millet : [exhibition], Hayward Gallery, 22 January–7 March 1976, exh. cat. (London: The Arts Council of Great Britain, 1976), 171–72, no. 110, ill.

André Fermigier, Jean-François Millet (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1977), 124–26, ill.

Griselda Pollock, Millet (London: Oresko Books Ltd, 1977), 44–5, no. IV, ill.

Alexandra R Murphy et al., Jean-François Millet, exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1984), no. 132.

André Fermigier, Millet (Genéva, Switzerland: Skira, 1991), 116–20, ill.

Shohei Iida, Mire meisaku 100-sen (Tokyo: Nihon Terebi Hosomo, 1991), 110–11, no. 51, ill.

Laurent Manœuvre, Millet: les saisons (Paris: Herscher, 1996), 42–3, ill.

Zhengguang He, J. F. Millet (Shijiazhuang, China: Hebei jiao yu chu ban she, 1998), no. 60, ill.

Louis van Tilbourgh et al., Millet, Van Gogh: Paris, Musée d’Orsay: 14 septembre 1998–3 janvier 1999, exh. cat. (Paris: Reunion des Musees Nationaux, 1998), 114–19, no. 53, fig. Cat. 53.

Alexandra R Murphy, Jean-François Millet: drawn into the light, exh. cat. (Williamstown: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1999).

George T.M. Shackelford et al., Millet: sessanta capolavori dal Museum of Fine Arts di Boston, exh. cat. (Conegliano, Italy: Linea d’ombra, 2005), 44–47, ill.

Jean Mayet, Marie-Paule Laurent, and Nicole Laignel-Lavastine, De Millet á ses petites-filles: toute une lignée d’artistes (Louge-sur-Maire, France: Humusaire, 2012), 202–03, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.