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Coulommiers, le jardin de M. Preschez

Coulommiers, le jardin de M. Preschez
signed and dated 'COROT 1868' (lower left)
oil on canvas
12 1/4 x 8 5/8 in. (31.1 x 22.1 cm.)
The artist.
M. Preschez, Coulommiers, acquired directly from the above.
with Arthur Tooth & Sons, London.
Sale; Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 29 October 1947.
Dora Margaret, Lady Kroyer-Kielberg (1884-1972), London, circa 1947.
By descent to her heirs.
Their sale; Christie's, London, 27 June 1995, lot 128.
Acquired by Ann and Gordon Getty from the above.
A. Robaut, L'Œuvre de Corot, catalogue raisonné et illustré, Paris, 1965, vol. III, p. 54-55, no. 1398, illustrated.
'Sales,' Pallas. International Art and Archaeology News Bulletin, vol. 11, Geneva, 1947, p. 218.
V. Pomarède, Corot: ses chefs-d'œuvre entre Seine et Marne, Etrepilly, 1998, pp. 133, 136-137, illustrated.

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Joshua Glazer
Joshua Glazer Specialist, Head of Private Sales

Lot Essay

Coulommiers, le jardin de M. Preschez is a charming example of the tranquil and reassuring images that contributed greatly to Corot’s fame. Pictures of rural villages, farms, barnyards and kitchen yards, rural pathways and quiet roads, all with peasants going about their daily lives appear frequently in the last twenty years of the artist’s life. These visions of timeless rural contentment appealed strongly to the French sensibility, and their rustic simplicity offered an alternative to the bustle of modern life. These rural scenes were a specialty of the painters of the Barbizon School, and it is with such scenes as Coullomiers, le jardin de M. Preschez that Corot most nearly approached the artistic temperament of his contemporaries in the French Realist tradition. It is perhaps in these paintings that Corot comes closest to the essence of the paintings of Jean-Francois Millet. While Millet monumentalized the peasant and the nobility of his labor, Corot here has emphasized the peace and serenity of a way of life. Although the emphasis is difference the sentiment remains the same.
The device of a path or track leading upward and back through his composition, often with a gentle turn to punctuate the recession, was a recurring motif in Corot’s oeuvre. This was also a device adopted by Camille Pissarro, who was a frequent visitor to Corot’s studio in the early 1860s. Pissarro was greatly influenced by the older master, and in the Salon of 1864 he went so far as to register himself as the pupil of Corot (éleve de Corot).
As M. Preschez is listed as the first owner of this work and given the title, it is fair to say that this was presented to the owner as a gift, very likely in gratitude for the opportunity to stay and work at his residence. This was a common practice for the artist, and these fond reminiscences of Corot’s sojourns with friends and acquaintances are some of the most intimate and endearing the artist’s oeuvre.

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