Lot 5
  • 5

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

250,000 - 350,000 GBP
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  • Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
  • Ville d'Avray: L'étang, la maison de M. Corot père et son kiosque
  • signed COROT lower right
  • oil on canvas
  • 27 by 35cm., 10½ by 13¾in.


Georges Bernheim, Paris
Boussod et Valadon, Paris, by 1891
Diot, Paris, by 1897
Georges Petit, Paris, by 1903
James Staats Forbes, London, by 1904 (Staats Forbes, 1823-1904, was a Scottish railway engineer and prolific art collector. He owned 53 works by Corot, including Avignon from the West, now in the National Gallery, London)
Harold Bear, America
Private collection, Canada (sale: Sotheby's, New York, 5 May 1999, lot 30)
Richard Green, London (purchased at the above sale)
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1999


Alfred Robaut, L'Œuvre de Corot: catalogue raisonné et illustré, Paris, 1905, vol. II, p. 10, no. 17, catalogued; p. 11, illustrated
Germain Bazin, Corot, Deuxième édition revue et augmentée, Paris, 1951, pl. 4, catalogued & illustrated

Germain Bazin, Corot, Deuxième édition revue et augmentée, Paris, 1951, pl. 4, catalogued & illustrated


The following condition report has been prepared by Hamish Dewar Ltd., 13 and 14 Mason's Yard, St James', London, SW1Y 6BU: UNCONDITIONAL AND WITHOUT PREJUDICE Structural Condition The canvas is lined and is securely attached to a keyed wooden stretcher. This is providing an even and stable structural support. Paint surface The paint surface has an even varnish layer. The is an overall pattern of fine lines of craquelure. This is entirely stable. Inspection under ultra-violet light shows small, scattered carefully applied retouchings, including: 1) very small spots and lines of retouching covering craquelure within the sky, and a further small retouching above the buildings in the upper left quadrant of the composition, 2) small scattered spots and lines of retouching within the grass in the foreground, and two small lines on the figure's red hat, 3) spots and lines of retouching covering craquelure within the water, and 4) very small intermittent spots and lines of retouching on the extreme edges of the composition. It should be noted these retouchings are all of minimal size and have been very carefully applied. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in very good and stable condition.
"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

'..he [Corot] had realised his goal of closing the gap between the empirical freshness of outdoor painting and the organizing principles of classical landscape composition.' Peter Galassi

Painted in spring 1825 and thus predating even Corot's first Italian sojourn, this is among his first paintings of the house at Ville d'Avray, to the west of Paris, purchased by his father on 17 March 1817. In the foreground is the larger of the two ponds in the village. On the near shore, the youth in the red cap stands on land owned by Marie Antoinette when the existence of the house was fist recorded in 1783. On the far left can be seen the road to Paris marked by newly planted young trees leading into a cluster of buildings known as the Cabassud houses seen in another painting from the 1820s now in the Musée du Louvre (Robaut 284). The detached Maison Corot stands at the centre of the composition, and on the far right can be seen the kiosque à musique topped by a small cupola, which Corot would later decorate with his own paintings. While never the master of the property, which passed to his sister upon his mother's death in 1851, Corot often stayed in the house for extended periods between his peregrinations in France and Italy, occupying a room that was built under the eaves when dormers were added after the present work was completed.

Ville d'Avray played a fundamental role in shaping his artistic vision of nature as a gentle and tranquil subject, in contrast to the turbulent Romanticism of his contemporary Théodore Rousseau, for example, who displayed a fascination for the wild and thickly wooded forest around the village of Barbizon. Indeed the composition references the picturesque tradition inherited from Poussin (fig. 1) and that the Neoclassical painters including Corot's teachers, Achille-Etna Michallon and Jean-Victor Bertin, continued to champion. Yet at the same time works like the present were as modern in their execution as they were escapist in their subject. Corot’s observation of light based on sketches made en plein air, the massing of the Cabassud houses - which anticipates the architectural groupings of his Roman views begun later the same year (fig. 2) - and his ability to render beautiful, clear light delineated by an economic use of colour and brushwork, make him an important precursor of what Edmond Duranty in 1876 termed ‘The New Painting’, in other words Impressionism, the roots of which, he claimed, ‘lie in the work of the great Corot’ (Duranty, 'La Nouvelle Peinture – à propos du groupe d’artistes qui expose dans les galeries Durand-Ruel', Paris, 1876, in Les écrivains devant l’impressionnisme, Paris, 1989, p. 118).