The Cowherd

Le Bouvier

Claude Lorrain (Claude Gellée) (French (active in Rome), 1600–1682)

Catalogue Raisonné

Robert-Dumesnil 08, ii/iii; Russell 27, iii/v; Mannocci 18, iii(B)/vi


Sheet: 13.2 x 20.3 cm (5 3/16 x 8 in.) Platemark: 12.9 x 20 cm (5 1/16 x 7 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Europe, Prints and Drawings



Perhaps the greatest painter of idealized landscapes, as an etcher, Claude Lorrain was the Mediterranean counterpart to his younger contemporary, Rembrandt. Claude combined luminous atmospheric effects with dense textures and details, filling his compositions with poetry and a hint of mystery. Le Bouvier is regarded as the most beautiful of his etched landscapes. As the late afternoon sun casts long, soft shadows, the herdsman pipes to his charges as they slowly ford a quiet stream.


Verso, bottom left, in pen and brown ink, the mark of Thomas Miller Whitehead, London (1821-1897?)(Lugt 2449); verso, lower left, stamped in purple ink, the mark of Henry Studdy Theobald, London (1847-1934)(Lugt 1375); verso, lower right, in graphite pencil, "M558" (the inventory number of Otto Gerstenberg's secretary Montag (cf. Lugt 2785); verso, lower center, stamped in brown ink, the mark of the MFA (Lugt 282)


Thomas Miller Whitehead (b. 1821 - d. about 1897; Lugt 2449), London. 1910, Henry Studdy Theobald (b. 1847 - d. 1934; Lugt 1375), London; May 12-14, 1910, Theobald sale, Gutekunst, Stuttgart, lot 350, sold for M 3350 to Meder, for Otto Gerstenberg (b. 1848 - d. 1935; Lugt 2785), Berlin; 1935, by inheritance to his daughter, Margarethe Scharf (b. 1889 - d. 1961), Berlin [see note]. 1948, Joseph Husband Seaman (b. 1865 - d. 1948), New York; December 1-2, 1948, posthumous J. H. Seaman sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, lot 80, to Richard H. Zinser (b. about 1883 - d. 1983), Forest Hills, New York; by descent to his heirs. Nicholas G. Stogdon, Oxford. Samuel Josefowitz, Lausanne. 2006, with Nicholas G. Stogdon and Robert M. Light, Santa Barbara; 2006, sold by Stogdon and Light to Salamander Fine Arts, London; 2007, sold by Salamander Fine Arts to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 27, 2007)

NOTE: See Julietta Scharf and Hanna Strzoda with Janina Dahlmanns, Die Historische Sammlung Otto Gerstenberg, 2 vols. (Ostfildern, 2012), vol. 2, p. 150, cat. no. 913.

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by Tom and Jody Gill and by exchange from the Harvey D. Parker Collection—Harvey Drury Parker Fund