Jean-François Millet was born in Gruchy, in Normandy, in 1814. In 1836 he received instruction in drawing from Langlois de Chèvreville and was awarded a stipend by the Cherbourg city council. In 1837 he was accepted at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied under Paul Delaroche. He showed his first work at the Paris Salon in 1840. By 1847 the artists Charles Jacque, Théodore Rousseau and Honoré Daumier were among his friends. In 1848 he exhibited his painting of a thresher at work at the jury-free Salon. The painting was purchased by the minister of the interior, and state commissions followed. In 1849 he moved to Barbizon. Unlike his painter colleagues, Millet always finished his works in his atelier. In the 1850s he learned various printmaking techniques. His works were shown by several different art dealers, who also arranged for international exhibitions in Brussels, London and Boston. In the late 1860s landscape painting took on increasing importance in his work. In 1867 Millet was dubbed a knight of the Legion of Honour. He died in Barbizon in 1875.