Fine Art

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

French, 1796 - 1875

Prairies au bord de l'eau

1870
Oil on canvas
17 3/4 x 15 inches (46 x 38 cm)
Framed: 25 x 21 1/2 inches
Signed: Corot

Provenance:

Mme V Collet (acquired from the artist in March 1871)
Mons Passé, Soissons (1898)
M A Savard, Paris (1928)
Savard fils, Paris, by descent from the above 1938
Rafael Gérard, Paris, acquired from the above in 1956
Sale, Sotheby’s, London, 15th June, 1982, lot 49
The Akram Ojjeh Collection, acquired at the above sale
Richard Green Gallery, London (acquired from the above in the 1990’s)
Private collection, USA

Exhibited:

Paris, Galerie Paul Rosenberg, Exposition d’oevres de Corot, Paysage de France et Figures du profit de l’oeuvre de l’allaitement maternel, June-July, 1930, no. 50

Literature:

Alfred Robaut, L’Oeuvre de Corot: catalogue raisonné et illustré, Paris, 1905, Vol. III, No. 1973bis, p. 230, illustrated p.231 Mons Martin Dieterle has confirmed the authenticity of this painting

One of the leading figures of the nineteenth century Barbizon school, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was born in 1796 to a bourgeois Parisian family. In order to satisfy his appetite for work with pencil and brush, he enrolled in evening sessions at the private Académie Suisse, where, for a fee, he could draw the posing model.


Corot apprenticed with a draper until the age of 26, a professional experience that he loathed. In 1821, he turned to oil painting, and, with the death of his sister a year later began receiving an annuity, with which he was able to finance his burgeoning art career.  He found a studio near his parents' shop and took instruction from painters Achille-Etna Michallon (1796-1822) and Jean-Victor Bertin (1767-1842).  Corot’s studies from 1822-1825 already contain, in their modest directness and lucidity, the essence of his personal style.


After traveling to Italy several times, his works grew larger and more richly nuanced.  In Salon exhibits, Corot furthered his efforts to move beyond pure landscape by fueling his work with a narrative content.  His yearly submissions to the Salons gradually earned him visibility as a painter of "historical" landscapes.  Neoclassicist training and an innate disposition toward Northern realism enabled him to integrate various studies into one well-ordered design, without strain or recourse to formulas. 


In the years 1866–1870, he suffered attacks of gout, which forced him to curtail travel and outdoor work.  About 1870, he recovered his health and worked with undiminished energy, sustained by a robust constitution.  Throughout the Franco-Prussian War and the siege of Paris (1870-1871), he remained at work in his Paris studio.  The civil war of the Commune in 1871 drove him to the provincial quiet of Douai.  When peace returned, he resumed his migratory life, spending the year of 1872 in constant travel and outdoor painting.  In his final years, his early, naturalist tendencies reasserted themselves in subjects taken from reality, which show that he preserved his clarity of vision and noble refinement of color to the end.  He died on February 22, 1875 after a brief illness.

This landscape by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot is quite simply the best example of not only the artist's work, but also one of the best examples of the entire Barbizon school on the art market today.  Corot’s landscapes, composed in hazily atmospheric settings, have developed a strong demand.  Our work displays all the signature characteristics associated with his landscapes; a balanced arrangement of thin trees, bleak skies, and a hint of distant waters; memories of favorite sites in Italy or France.  The quality of the work, and its composition, condition and provenance speak for themselves.