Peasants under the Trees at Dawn

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Further reading

A. Robaut, L’Oeuvre de Corot. Catalogue raisonné et illustré précédé de l’Histoire de Corot et de ses oeuvres par Étienne Moreau-Nélaton, ornée de dessins et croquis originaux du maître,  4 vols, Paris, 1905, II,  no. 431

Collection Robaut. Notes, croquis, calques, photos, estampes, 34 cartons, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, housed in the Département des Peintures, Musée du Louvre, Paris, vol. 3, plate 157

G. Bazin, Corot, Paris 1942, p.117, notice 57; 1951 edn, p. 125, notice 65; 1973 edn., p. 282

K. Clark, Landscape into Art, London 1966, p. 94

J. Leymarie, Corot, Geneva 1966, p. 66; 1979 edn., pp. 71–2

M. Geiger, ‘Corot et la Bourgogne’, Mémoire de l’Académie des Sciences, Arts et Belles-Lettres de Dijon, vol. 122, 1973–5, pp. 329–37 (334)

H. Toussaint, G. Monnier and M. Servot,  Hommage à Corot, exh. cat.,  Paris 1975, no. 40

M. Clarke, Lighting up the Landscape. French Impressionism and its Origins, exh. cat., National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 1986, p. 43, under no. 29

M. Clarke, Corot and the Art of Landscape, London 1991, pp. 65–6, 68

J. Leighton and M. Clarke, Corot, exh. cat., Manchester and Norwich, 1991, no. 24

P. Berte-Langereau, ‘Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot dans le Morvan’, Camosine. Les Annuales du Nivernais, no. 74, Nevers 1993, pp. 3–33 (17)

S. Adams, The Barbizon School and the Origins of Impressionism, London 1994, p.122;  E.H. Gombrich,  Shadows. The Depiction of Cast Shadows in Western Art, a companion volume to an exhibition at the National Gallery, London 1995, pp. 45 and 47

J. Leighton, ‘“Bienheureux les paysagistes!” Landschaftsmalerei unter freiem Himmel’, Corot, Courbet und die Maler von Barbizon. ‘Les amis de la nature’, exh. cat., Haus der Kunst, Munich 1996, pp. 23–31 (26–7)

Jean Louis Balleret, De Corot à Balthus. Un siècle de grands peintres dans le Nièvre et la Morvan, Paris 1997, p. 30

A. Roy, ‘Barbizon Painters: Tradition and Innovation in Artists’ Materials’, Barbizon. Malerei der Natur – Natur der Malerei, Im Auftrag der Bayerischen Staatsgemäldesammlungen, des Doerner-Institutes und des Zentralinstitutes für Kunstgeschichte, München, eds A. Burmester, C. Heilmann and M.F. Zimmermann, Munich 1999, pp. 330–42 (333 and 340) 


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.