14 May 2013
|Materials/Techniques||oil on canvas|
|Size (cm)||121.7 x 76|
|Inscriptions||Signed (in monogram) and dated upper right: JM / 1889|
|Credit Line||Donated by Mr. Tokuzo Mizushima (ex-Matsukata Collection)|
Millais, along with William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. These painters grew in fame in the 1850s, and Millais was elected an associate member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1853. By 1863 he had become a full member of the academy, and he was granted a baronetcy in 1885. Such biographical details are reflected in his creation of paintings that gained ready acceptance as he developed all the firmer and more assured technical prowess. In the 1880s Millais was heralded for his portraiture, and his skillful depiction of the human form particularly shone in the depiction of gentle children, in line with the tastes of the Victorian age. The majority of these images of children differ from the depictions of children of his earlier years, which used primary colors and were vividly detailed. Rather they reveal the broadly brushed style learned from Velázquez and others. Frequently the light that shines on these children sets them off from their dark surroundings, creating an all the more impressive impact. This painting is inscribed with the date 1889, and thus it is thought that this painting was the work exhibited as Ducklings at the Thomas McLean's Gallery that same year. The painting is not meant to depict a specific child, but rather, as indicated by its title, the combination of the ducklings in the foreground and the little girl in midground is thought to make it an allegorical genre scene. Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling had been translated into English and published in England in 1869, and the little girl in the picture, unkempt though she may be, may have been thought to share the same kind of future changes as those told in Andersen's story. Here the little girl's hair is uncombed and her shoes are damaged. She holds something in her hands, possibly a letter, or maybe a handkerchief, that might give some clue to the painting's meaning, but unfortunately it is too indistinctly rendered to be of such help. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no. 92)
N. Mitchell Fine Art Gallery, London; Kojiro Matsukata; Donated by Mr. Tokuzo Mizushima, Tokyo
- McLean's Gallry, London, 1889 - 1889
- [Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Tottori Prefectural Museum, Tottori, 9 October 1976 - 7 November 1976, cat. no. 4
- [Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Nara Prefectural Museum, Nara, 15 October 1977 - 13 November 1977, cat. no. 3
- [Tour Exhibition] Masterpieces from the National Museum of Western Art, The Art Center of Oita Prefecture, Oita, 20 December 1978 - 31 January 1979, cat. no. 3
- [Tour Exhibition] Masterpieces of Art from the Collection of National Museums, The Hirosaki Municipal Museum, 7 October 1981 - 21 October 1981, cat. no. 4
- [Tour Exhibition] Masterpieces of Art from the Collection of National Museums, The Iwate Prefectural Hall, Morioka, 28 October 1981 - 11 November 1981, cat. no. 4
- [Tour Exhibition] Masterpieces of Art from the Collection of National Museums, The Fukushima Prefectural Culture Center, Fukushima, 18 November 1981 - 2 December 1981, cat. no. 4
- [Tour Exhibition] Masterpieces of Art from the Collection of National Museums, The Tottori Prefectural Museum, Tottori, 1 October 1982 - 17 October 1982, cat. no. 4
- [Tour Exhibition] Masterpieces of Art from the Collection of National Museums, The Cultural Center of Kagawa Prefecture, Takamatsu, 23 October 1982 - 7 November 1982, cat. no. 4
- [Tour Exhibition] Masterpieces of Art from the Collection of National Museums, The Cultural Center of Kochi Prefecture, Kochi, 13 November 1982 - 28 November 1982, cat. no. 4
- , The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, 5 August 1989 - 27 August 1989, Oita Prefectural Art Center, 1-24 September; Iwaki City Art Museum, 7 October-5 November; Asahikawa Museum of Art, 11 November-22 December; The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga, 17 February-25 March 1990
- Tanka at the National Museum of Western Art: An Encounter between Poet and Art, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 25 July 2000 - 29 October 2000, cat. no. 50
- John Everett Millais, Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, 7 June 2008 - 17 August 2008, The Bunkamura Museum of Art, 30 August‐26 October, cat. no. 53, col. repr.
- Millais, John Guille. The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais. vol. 2, London, Methuen, 1899, p. 484.
- Bulletin Annuel du Musée National d’Art Occidental, No. 10 (1975), 1977, Nouvelles acquisitions, par Chisaburoh F. Yamada, p. 7. Nouvelles acquisitions (catalogue). pp. 18-19. repr.
- The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo: Catalogue of paintings. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1979, no. 184, repr.
- The Old Matsukata Collection. Kobe City Museum, ed. Kobe, "Matsukata Korekushon Ten" Jikkoiinkai, 1990, cat. no. 1036.