Corot spent the greater part of his life in the picturesque village of Ville-d'Avray in the Île-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 Sèvres 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 (Fig. 1).
Previously unknown to Robaut and recently discovered in a private collection, the present work is an important addition to Corot's oeuvre. Dated between 1840 and 1845, Corot chose to make the houses on the edge of the lake the focus of his composition by silhouetting them against the dark forest behind.
Corot had a particular fondness for painting views of roads and pathways leading up or downhill towards the horizon. This tendency is particularly obvious in his vertical canvases, in which he almost invariably used trees to frame and exaggerate the upward axis of his composition. Corot painted a number of uphill views of villages in this format which, like the present work, lead the viewer's eye past figures, up a path to a building beyond.
The present work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Martin Dieterle and Claire Lebeau.