Dated 1865-1870, Pâturage dans les marais was painted during one of the most creative and successful periods in the artist's career. During this five-year period, Corot perfected the misty, often idyllic pastoral landscapes for which he became so revered. Corot was considered the leading landscape painter of the time, and the present work not only exemplifies his innate ability to capture his local environs, but his capability of poetically translating onto canvas the atmospheric effects of any given time of day.
In Pâturage dans les marais, Corot deftly captures the effect of the diffuse, pale sunlight. The figures and animals merge into the landscape and are in complete harmony with their surroundings. The critic Edmund About wrote: 'No artist has more style or can better communicate his ideas in a landscape. He transforms everything he touches, he appropriates everything he paints, he never copies, and even when he works directly from nature, he invents. As they pass through his imagination, objects take on a vague and delightful form. Colors soften and melt; everything becomes fresh, young and harmonious. One can easily see that air floods his paintings, but we will never know by what secret he manages to paint air.' (Quoted in G. Tinterow, Corot, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, exhibition catalogue, pp. 236-237.)
It is generally recognized that Corot had a profound effect upon a number of younger artists who eventually became members of the Impressionist movement. Berthe Morisot was his student for a period of time, and Camille Pissarro described himself as a pupil in the Salon brochures. Corot's paintings were in great demand from collectors and dealers alike, and his studio was often crowded with critics, collectors, dealers and students who all clamored to see him at work.
This work has been authenticated by Martin Dieterle.