Lot 77
  • 77

JEAN-BAPTISTE-CAMILLE COROT | The town and lake at Como

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  • Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
  • The town and lake at Como
  • Asking Price: $1,200,000stamped lower left: VENTE / COROT
  • oil on canvas
  • 11 3/8  by 16 1/2  in.; 29 by 42 cm.


The artist;
His posthumous sale, Paris, Hotel Drouot, 26-28 May 1875, lot 83;
There acquired by Hector Brame, Paris;
Jules Paton, Paris;
His sale, Paris, Hotel Drouot, 24 April 1883, lot 39, for 1,850 francs;
There acquired by Comte Armand Doria, Paris;
His sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 4-5 May 1899, lot 58, for 16,300 francs;
Pierre Peytel, Paris;
Captain Edward Molyneux, Paris;
With Lefevre Gallery, London;
Albert D. Lasker, New York, by 1951;
Thence by descent to his wife Mrs Albert D. Lasker, New York;
With Lefevre Gallery, London;
With Acquavella Galleries, New York, 1977;
Tom Fee, United States, by 1989;
With Lefevre Gallery, London;
Richard M. Thune, Greenwich, Connecticut;
With Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York;
From whom purchased by the current owner.


Paris, Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Exposition Universelle de 1889: Exposition Centennale de l'Art Français, 1889, no. 171 (lent by Comte Armand Doria);
Paris, Paul Rosenberg and Co., Exposition d'œuvres de Camille J.-B. Corot (1796-1875): Figures et paysages d'Italie, 6 June - 7 July 1928, no. 14;
Zurich, Das Kunsthaus, Camille Corot 1796-1875, 16 August - 7 October 1934, no. 44 (lent by P. Peytel);
Paris, Musée de l'Orangerie, Corot, 1936, no. 25;
Lyon, Musée de Lyon, Exposition Corot, 24 May - 28 June 1936, no. 21;
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Paysages d'eau douce, 1945, no. 30;
Paris, Alfred Daber, Le Divin Corot: Exposition du 155ème anniversaire de la naissance, 1796-1951, 1951, no. 6;
Dallas, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, An Exhibition of Sixty-Nine Paintings from the Collection of Mrs Albert D. Lasker, 6 March - 29 March 1953, no. 15;
San Francisco, Museum of the Legion of Honor, Sixty Seven Paintings from the Collection of Mrs Albert Lasker, 1954, no. 14;
New York, Paul Rosenberg and Co., Loan Exhibition of Paintings by J.B.C. Corot, 5 November - 1 December 1956, no. 11;
Bern, Kunstmuseum, Corot, 23 January - 13 March 1960, no. 223;
Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Corot 1796-1875: An Exhibition of His Paintings and Graphic Works, 6 October - 13 November 1960, no. 35 (lent by Mrs. Albert D. Lasker);
Los Angeles, University of California Art Galleries, French Masters, Rococo to
Romanticism: An Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Prints, 5 March - 18 April 1961;
New York, Wildenstein and Co., Corot, 30 October - 6 December 1969, no. 19;
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Museum of Art, Masters of the Landscape, 1650-1900, 6 November - 27 November 1977, no. 20 (lent by Acquavella Galleries, New York);
Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, Old Master Paintings: Cranach to Corot: selected loans from a private collection, 23 January - 14 March 1982, no. 18;
London, Lefevre Gallery, Corot, 6 April - 28 April 1989, no. 13;
Manchester, Manchester City Art Gallery; Norwich, Norwich Castle Museum, Corot, 18 May - 18 August 1991, no. 17 (lent by the Lefevre Gallery, London);
Lugano, Museo Cantonale d'Arte, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot: Un sentimento
particolare del paesaggio, 3 September - 6 November 1994, no. 4 (lent by the Lefevre Gallery);
Paris, Grand Palais; Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Corot, 27 February 1996 - 19 January 1997, no. 57.


E. Michel, Corot, Paris 1905, p. 22;
A. Robaut, L'Œuvre de Corot, Paris 1905, vol. II, pp. 108-09, cat. no. 308, reproduced, and vol. IV, p. 201, cat. no. 83;
E. Moreau-Nelaton, Corot: raconté par lui-même, Paris 1924, vol. I, pp. 36-37;
É. Faure, Corot, Paris 1931, reproduced plate 18;
R. Jean, Corot, Paris 1931, reproduced plate 15;
G. Bazin in L'Amour de l'Art, February 1936, p. 47, reproduced fig. 24;
G. Bazin, Corot, Paris 1942, reproduced plate 41;
J.-B.-C. Corot, Corot: raconté par lui-même et par ses amis. Pensées et écrits du peintre, Geneva 1946, vol. 1, p. 222, cat. no. 9, reproduced opposite p. 97;
G. Bazin, Corot, Paris 1951, p. 123, cat. no. 49, reproduced plate 49;
W. Brockway and A. Frankfurter, The Albert D. Lasker Collection: Renoir to Matisse, New York 1957, p. 5, reproduced plate 5;
F. Fosca, Corot: sa vie et son oeuvre, Brussels 1958, p. 219;
J. Leymarie, Corot: Étude biographique et critique, Geneva 1966, p. 55, reproduced;
G. Bazin, Corot, Paris 1973, p. 280;
J. Leymarie, Corot, London 1979, p. 48, reproduced;
J. Selz, La Vie et l'œuvre de Camille Corot, Paris 1988, pp. 80, 92, reproduced;
P. Galassi, Corot in Italy: Open-Air Painting and the Classical-Landscape Tradition, London and New Haven 1991, p. 215, reproduced plate 271;
M. Clarke, Corot and the Art of Landscape, London 1991, p. 47, reproduced in color;
G. Tinterow, M. Pantazzi and V. Pomarède, Corot, exh. cat., New York 1996, pp. 132-33, no. 57, reproduced;
R. Schiff, 'Natural, Personal, Pictorial: Corot and the Painter's Mark', in Barbizon: Malerei der Natur - Natur der Malerei, Munich 1999, pp. 123 and 130, reproduced p. 218, plate 16;
V. Pomarède, 'Théodore Caruelle d'Aligny', in Paysages d'Italie: les peintres du plein air, exh. cat., Paris 2001, p. 173, under no. 108;
R. Schiff, 'Expression: Natural, Personal, Pictorial', in A Companion to Art Theory, Hoboken 2008pp. 167-68, reproduced plate 13.1.

Catalogue Note

A look back at Corot’s long career as the most successful landscape painter of his generation reveals many different personalities. His style changed so dramatically over the years that he could be defined as not one but several distinct artists. Yet, even among all these various styles, he is best remembered for his plein air studies executed in Italy early in his career, with the present work being among the best of such examples. Imbued with harmonious tones as well as a crisp freshness, this wondrous canvas depicts the lake and town of Como nestled in the Alps of Northern Italy. It was completed in September 1834, just before Corot returned home to France from his second Italian sojourn early in his career, which lasted about six months.  Como proved to be a successful source of inspiration for him, even though he only remained there for a few days, arriving on 28 September 1834 and leaving before 8 October. 

Corot executed this painting directly from nature, fluidly and rapidly capturing the brilliancy of the charming village and luminous lake from its opposite bank.  He creatively framed the composition with loosely rendered foliage in the foreground and a vertical tree along the right edge, a technique that would later be embraced by the Impressionists.  At the same time, with his remarkable sense of light as well as soft brushwork, Corot's sketches like this emit an air of timeless modernity that appeals as much to audiences today as it would have during the artist's lifetime.