Peasants under the Trees at Dawn

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Corot, Paysages de France et Figures, Galerie Paul Rosenberg, Paris, 1930,  no. 12

 Le Divin Corot, Galerie Daber, Paris, 1951, no. 9; Corot, Kunstmuseum, Bern, 1960, no. 34

Corot. An Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Prints, Royal Scottish Academy of Painting, Edinburgh, and National Gallery, London,  1965, no. 45

Exposition Corot 1796–1875, Galerie Schmit, Paris, 1971, no. 15

Hommage à Corot, Orangerie des Tuileries, Paris, 1975, no. 40

The National Gallery Lends: French 19th Century Paintings of Town and Country, Portsmouth City Museum; Nottingham University Art Gallery

Stoke City Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent; Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle; National Gallery, London, 1980, no. 3

Corot, National Touring Exhibition from the South Bank Centre, Manchester City Art Gallery; Castle Museum, Norwich, 1991, no. 24

Shadows. The Depiction of Cast Shadows in Western Art, National Gallery, London, 1995, not numbered; Light, National Gallery touring exhibition, Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery; Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle; National Gallery, London, 2002, not numbered

Corot. Nature, Emotion, Souvenir, Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid, Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara, 2005–6, no. 27 (Italian edn, no. 23)


1. For Mayer see under Provenance.

2. For a full discussion of materials and technique see article by S. Herring, ‘Six Paintings by Corot in the National Gallery: Methods, Materials and Sources’, National Gallery Technical Bulletin, 30, 2009.


3. Noted by Leighton 1996, pp. 26–7, and by Roy 1999, p. 333. In fact Robaut had already surmised that the study had been painted in six sittings. See Collection Robaut, vol. 3, plate 157.


4. See Roy 1999, pp. 330–42 (340). Avignon from the West also has this mixture of vermilion and cobalt blue mixed with white at the horizon.


5. Her attitude anticipates that of the woman gathering foliage from the tree in Corot’s Souvenir de Mortefontaine of 1864 (Paris, Musée du Louvre). This is noted by Geiger 1973–5, p. 334.

6. See, for example, the description of Morvan by Augustus Hare: ‘the wild district of Morvan (Montagne noire), which has a Celtic population, weaving the ancient saga, and speaking a patois incomprehensible to the inhabitants of the plain’. A.J.C. Hare, South-Eastern France, London 1890, p. 74, quoted in Clarke 1991, pp. 65–6.


7. See K. Baedeker, Le Nord-Est de la France. De Paris aux Ardennes, aux Vosges et au Rhône, Leipzig 1914, pp. 370–1.


8. R293. Lot 4 of sale, property of the Greentree Foundation, from the collection of Mr and Mrs John Hay Whitney, Sotheby’s, New York, 5 May 2004.


9. See Berte-Langereau 1993, pp. 8–9 and 17. The compiler is grateful to Berte-Langereau for further clarifying the view of NG 6439 in correspondence.

10. See Balleret 1997, p. 16, who states that it was this marriage that introduced Corot to the area. While it is true that he stayed with them in Lormes in 1834, he had already visited the area in 1831.


11. Clark 1966, p. 94. However, not all writers praise this picture. Adams (Adams 1994 p. 122) points out the fragmentation of the figures by the central clump of trees and calls the composition clumsy and disordered. ‘Neither well finished nor picturesque, it would have fallen within the very lowest category of landscape painting.’

12. Exceptions to this are View of Lormes  (R421), jointly owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Mrs Walter Mendelsohn, see A. Schoeller and J. Dieterle, Corot. Premier Supplement à l’Oeuvre de Corot par A.. Robaut et Moreau-Nélaton, Paris 1948, no. 16,  and  Morvan Landscape  (R878), Strasbourg, Musée des Beaux-Arts. The panoramic view and long format of these paintings are reminiscent of such paintings as Avignon from the West.

13. See  Toussaint,  Monnier and  Servot,  Paris 1975,  p. 49.

14. William Wyld (1806–1889) was a follower of Richard Parkes Bonington (1802–1828) who worked and exhibited mainly in France. Apart from this gift, no other details are known about any contact or friendship between Wyld and Corot.

15. According to F. Lugt, Répertoire des catalogues de ventes publiques, The Hague, 1938–87, III, 1964, p. 492, none of the catalogues in existence are annotated with buyers’ names.

16. There is a gap in the provenance from 1890 to 1930. It is possible that the painting belonged at one point to Mme Sanchez Toledo whose name appears on the stretcher. It is also possible that the stretcher was reused.

17. NG 6439 was in the possession of Tony Mayer when it was included in the Corot exhibition at the Galerie Daber in 1951. A letter in the Daber Archives requesting the loan of the painting is dated 12 March 1949. There is also a letter in the same archives from Tony Mayer giving the title of the painting in Bazin ‘à l’époque où il appartenait à la collection Albert S. Henraux’. The author is grateful to M. Blondeau for giving access to the Daber Archives.


18. Its present location is unknown. There is a photograph of it in the Gallery dossier for NG 6439.