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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796-1875)
Property of a Distinguished Private Collector
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796-1875)

La Rochelle - carriers près l'entrée du port

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796-1875)
La Rochelle - carriers près l'entrée du port
signed ‘COROT’ (lower left)
oil on canvas
8 ½ x 14 ¼ in. (22 x 36.5 cm.)
Painted in 1851.
The artist.
His sale; Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 26 May 1875, lot 122, as La Rochelle. Les tours à l'entrée du port; au premier plan des tailleurs de pierres.
with Hector Brame, Paris, acquired at the above sale.
with Galerie Tempelaere, Paris, 1876.
with O’Bach & Co., London, circa 1900.
Thomas Glen Arthur, Esq. (1857-1907), Glasgow, 1902.
His sale; Christie's, London, 20 March 1914, lot 87, as Vue de La Rochelle: les tailleurs de pierres.
with Alex Reid, Glasgow, acquired at the above sale.
with Galerie Tempelaere, Paris, 1914.
Ernest May (1845-1925), Paris, 1914.
Jacques Ernest May (1884-1970), Paris, his son, by descent.
Stephen Hahn (1921-2011), Santa Barbara.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, New York, 13 May 1997, lot 1.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
A. Robaut, L'Œuvre de Corot, catalogue raisonné et illustré, Paris, 1905, vol. II, pp. 232-233, no. 673, illustrated.
Paris, Galerie Paul Rosenberg, Exposition d'œuvres de Corot, Paysages de France et Figures, 2 June-5 July 1930, no. 23.
Paris, Galerie Alfred Daber; Le Divin Corot, June 1951, no. 15, illustrated, as Vue de La Rochelle, les tailleurs de pierres.
Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, on long-term loan, by 1991.

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Lot Essay

In 1851, after the death of his mother in February, Corot traveled to Arras, Brittany and Normandy. In July, he went to La Rochelle with fellow painters Brizard and Philippe Comairas, lodging with a local merchant and painting frequently with his friends. After staying in La Rochelle for three weeks, the artist returned to Paris with one oil painting, Vue du port de La Rochelle (fig. 1) and several oil studies, entirely painted on-site. This group of La Rochelle images has been largely regarded as the most Impressionistic of Corot's oeuvre. Like Vue du port de La Rochelle, the present work is executed in the cool tonality which sets it apart from much of Corot's work.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir saw the La Rochelle studies and in 1918 he told the art dealer René Gimpel: 'There you have the greatest genius of the century, the greatest landscape artist who ever lived. He was called a poet. What a misnomer! He was a naturalist. I have studied ceaselessly without ever being able to approach his art. I have often gone to the places where he painted: Venice, La Rochelle, ah, what trouble they've given me! It was his fault, Corot's, that I wanted to emulate him. The towers of La Rochelle - he got the color of the stones exactly, and I could never do it' (R. Gimpel, Journal d’un collectionneur marchand de tableaux, Paris, 1963, entry for 20 March 1918, p. 28).
(fig. 1) Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Vue du port de La Rochelle, 1851. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven.

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