Lot 86
  • 86

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

600,000 - 800,000 USD
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  • Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
  • L'Allée Verte
  • signed COROT (lower left)
  • oil on canvas
  • 15 by 22 in.
  • 38.1 by 55.8 cm


Vente: Hoschedé, April 1875
M. G. Arosa (acquired at the above sale)
Vente: G. Arosa, 1878
Hollander and Cremetti, London (in 1898)
Ernest Hill (and sold: Sotheby's, London, June, 5, 1950, lot 73)
Leghorn, London (in 1952)
Salander O'Reilly, New York
Private Collector, Purchase, New York (acquired from the above in 1980)
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Alfred Robaut, L'oeuvre de Corot, catalogue raisonné et illustré, Paris, 1965, vol. III, no. 1545, p. 108, illustrated p. 109


The following condition report was kindly provided by Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.: This painting was restored in the last 25 years. The canvas has an old glue lining which is nicely stabilizing the paint layer. The painting is clean and varnished. Under ultraviolet light one can see that the bulk of the picture is quite milky and opaque however there are some retouches visible addressing abrasion in the lower left corner around the inscription, across the bottom edge and in a few areas across the top edge. Corot typically revisits complex compositions such as this and changes the positions, as in this case of the trees in the allee. Some of these pentimenti are visible and some of them have been successfully obscured by the artist. Some of these second campaigns of painting by the artist are visible under ultraviolet light in the upper right quadrant under, one in the center of the composition running from an area just to the right of the church in the distance to the top of the painting, and there is a pentiment of a tree trunk which has been subdued with retouches. There are other spots of dark color visible elsewhere under ultraviolet light, however it is only likely that a few of these may actually correspond to retouches and so we are confident in our report.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

Corot is widely regarded as the fundamental link who bridged classical traditions of French landscape painting to the modern tenets of Impressionism.

By shedding the landscape of its anecdotal qualities and incidental meaning he reduced it and, somewhat paradoxically, elevated it to the concentrated study of light and form - a practice that would occupy artists at the turn of the century and later evolve into the pure pigment of painterly abstraction. As stated in the catalogue for the 1996 Corot retrospective, "artists from Delacroix to Courbet to Renoir to Picasso. wo know Corot's work well, stubbornly held it in the highest possible regard" (John P. O'Neill, Corot, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1996, p. xv).

However, Corot remains elusive to many historians and critics. While he saw his own plein-air paintings as existing outside of the canon of art history, a retrospective view says otherwise. Few works exemplify this as singularly as L'Allée Verte. It is, simply, a masterpiece - and a milestone in the development of modern art.