Lot 59
  • 59

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

250,000 - 350,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
  • Vacher Italien rattachant sa jambière sous de grands arbres (effet de crépuscule)
  • signed COROT (lower left)
  • oil on canvas
  • 26 1/2 by 32 1/4 in.
  • 67.3 by 81.9 cm


M. Lecesne, Paris (acquired directly from the artist and sold, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 20, 1881, lot 4, as Le Soir: Paysage)
Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Paris (acquired in 1889)
Charles H. Senff, New York (and sold, his sale, Anderson Galleries, New York, March 28, 1928, lot 66)
Susan L. Scott. Newburgh, New York (by 1982)
Acquired after 1982


Alfred Robaut, L'oeuvre de Corot, catalogue raisonné et illustré, Paris, 1965, vol. III, p. 190, no. 1768, illustrated p. 191


The following condition report was kindly provided by Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.: This work is in very good condition. It may be slightly dirty. Some of the depth in the darker colors of the tree would perhaps be illuminated if the work were carefully cleaned. Only a few small retouches have been added to some thin cracks in the darker colors, particularly in one group in the center of the work. The painting is very healthy. Although varnishing or light cleaning may make improvements, the work could also be hung as is.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Vacher Italien rattachant sa jambière sous de grands arbres (effet de crépuscule), was painted circa 1865-70, a particularly prolific period in Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s career. The artist was greatly influenced by his travels to Italy and the topography and light of that country had a profound and lasting effect on his oeuvre. During this time he drew inspiration from past experiences and travels in landscapes referred to as souvenirs. This productive period is also marked by Corot’s further exploration of effet paintings, relating to the overall effect or impression left by the ephemeral aspects of nature, such as the qualities of changing light on landscapes. As in many of his souvenirs, the present work has a distinctive hazy quality; line and form have been softened to recreate the impression that twilight leaves on land, trees, and water. A soft palette of misty blues and greys applied with rapid brushstrokes suggests the fleeting array of colors as sunlight lingers on the clouds. The artist has juxtaposed this delicate light with encroaching darkness in a palette of deep greens and browns and staccato-like brushstrokes that create the undefined, shadowy depths of the forest entrance. The cowherd, wearing the red cap that so often punctuates Corot’s landscapes, is nearly camouflaged by the shadows that spill out from the forest interior. As one cow disappears down the winding path, the other is static, its reflection clearly rendered in the stillness of the pond; man and animal appear small and inconsequential in contrast to the great expanse of sky, rocky outcrop, and mass of twisting branches. On the horizon is the suggestion of a village, marked by a turret emerging from the rising mist.

By the 1860s, Corot’s effets had already greatly influenced the Impressionists, especially Claude Monet, who in 1864 explained to Frédéric Bazille that he had just begun a study from nature, writing, “you may find in it a certain kinship to Corot… the subject and especially the calm, hazy effet” (as quoted in Gary Tinterow, Michael Pantazzi and Vincent Pomarède, Corot, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1996, p. 262). Le pavé de Chailly (fig. 1, circa 1865, Musée d'Orsay), completed around the same time as the present work, demonstrates how Monet softened line and form and created an overall silvery haze to depict light’s transitory nature. Indeed, Monet and his contemporaries captured the impression or the effet of light on nature in much the same way as Corot. Vacher Italien exemplifies the poetic and emotional resonance between man and nature while exploring the formal and painterly qualities that would be adopted by the Impressionists, and demonstrates that Corot was an important link between Romanticism and Impressionism.

We would like to thank Martin Dieterle and Claire Lebeau for kindly confirming the authenticity of this lot.