• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7599

    Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale

    24 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 21

    Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875)

    Ville-d'Avray, l'étang à l'arbre penché

    Price Realised  


    Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875)
    Ville-d'Avray, l'étang à l'arbre penché
    signed 'Corot' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    19 5/8 x 24 in. (49.8 x 61 cm.)
    Painted in 1865-1870

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Corot spent the greater part of his life in the picturesque village of Ville-d'Avray in the Ile-de-France where he lived in the house that his father bought in 1817 at 3 rue du Lac. This road, later immortalized as the 'chemin de Corot', connected the forest of Sévres with Ville-d'Avray and separated Corot's property by a nearby pond. Until his death, Corot occupied a small room on the third floor overlooking the lake. Even though he often traveled to other villages to paint and sketch, he created an impressive body of work at this rural location.

    Dated 1865-70, it was painted during one of the most creative and successful periods of the artist's career. During this five year period, not only had Corot perfected the misty, often idyllic pastoral landscapes for which he became so revered, he also devoted himself more to figure painting, best exemplified by his celebrated series of young girls seated at an easel in the artist's studio (G. Tinterow, in exh. cat., Corot, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1996, nos. 135-139).

    In this composition, Corot set up his easel in a a clearing in the woods which opens onto a river where far in the distance on the other side, white-washed cottages are seen dotting the river's edge. This view from the vantage point of the lake's shore is one that the artist depicted with regularity, though never in exactly the same manner.

    A noted critic once commented, 'Corot has painting in his blood ..., he is highly personal, highly skilled, and he must be acknowledged as the dean of naturalists' (Tinterow, op. cit., p. 342). Indeed, it is widely acknowledged that Corot's great popularity remained heavily tied to the fact that his landscapes extol the virtues of pastoral life, alluded to here by the presence of the peasant woman in the foreground and the fishermen. Another Ville d'Avray landscape, contemporary to the present work, Un Matin à Ville-d'Avray (Robaut, no. 1641), was featured at the 1868 Salon and garnered enthusiastic reviews from even the toughest of critics. Marc de Montifaud wrote 'In painting nature [Corot] puts something human in it: reverie, sadness and joy' (Tinterow, loc. cit.).

    Special Notice

    On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in lots consigned for sale which may include guaranteeing a minimum price or making an advance to the consignor that is secured solely by consigned property. This is such a lot. This indicates both in cases where Christie's holds the financial interest on its own, and in cases where Christie's has financed all or a part of such interest through a third party. Such third parties generally benefit financially if a guaranteed lot is sold successfully and may incur a loss if the sale is not successful.
    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    M. Boussod, Valadon & Co., Paris, by 1892.
    Mr Harrison, Philadelphia.
    John Levy, New York.
    William G. Irwin, Indiana, by whom acquired from the above in July 1918.
    Mrs Elizabeth Clementine Miller Tangeman, Columbus, Indiana, by descent from the above.
    Acquired from the above by the late owners.

    Pre-Lot Text



    A. Robaut, L'Oeuvre de Corot: catalogue raisonné et illustré, précédé de l'histoire de Corot et de ses oeuvres, vol. III, Paris, 1965, no. 1498, p. 84 (illustrated p. 85).