What an endearing image! Here we have two sheep looking for comfort from each other, with one resting its head on the other. Although we often see images of sheep outside in a landscape or in a barn, we don’t often see such an intimate portrait of these animals.
It is this characteristic and artist’s observation that makes this painting so charming. His palette focused on the colors found naturally in a barn; that is, gold for the straw, browns for the beams and brick, and grays for the sheep. However, he used these colors in such a way that they harmonize exceptionally well with each other, giving us a painting of great decorative and emotional appeal.
The artist’s brushstrokes are mainly short, especially in the painting of the sheep’s fur and the straw upon which they are lying. He allows a glimmer of light into the barn with gold highlights on the straw and on the animals’ fur.
I believe the artist framed this painting himself, because the frame in its style, material and colors so solidly echo the painting. The gilded gesso high relief inner frame has a wonderful leaf overlay with berries. The dark, wide oak border shows the grain of the wood which helps make the frame an integral part of the painting.
The label on the back with a Paris address is the first clue that the artist was indeed French. It is signed, “G. Robert,” and dated 1873 on the bottom right corner. I have been told that the full name of the artist is G. Franzosischer Maler Robert, but he does not appear in my reference books.
The condition of the painting is excellent. I have had the frame professionally restored.
Its charming subject manner, subtle color palette and fabulous original frame all come together to make this a memorable piece of art. I can’t imagine anywhere that would not benefit from such a lovely animal painting.
Including the frame, it is 19-3/4 inches wide and 17-5/8 inches high. The image itself measures about 10 inches wide by 8 inches high.