Jean Baptiste Camille COROT

Jean Baptiste Camille COROT
1796–1875, France

Birth 1796
Died 1875

The son of a Parisian shopkeeper, the young Corot was hired as a salesman by a cloth merchant, despite his evident gift for drawing. Clearly lacking an aptitude for business, he was already twenty-six when his father gave him an allowance so that he could devote himself entirely to his vocation.

Studying with A. Michallon, with whom he painted his first landscapes in the Forest of Fontainebleau, and then with Victor Bertin, he took his first trip to Italy in 1825. There he enjoyed the friendship of Caruelle d'Aligny and Edouard Bertin who shared his passion for painting from nature. On his return three years later, he adopted a pattern of work, which he maintained throughout his life, of painting in his Paris studio during the winter and devoting the summer to traveling in France, interrupted by frequent visits to Ville d'Avray, Chailly and Barbizon.

From spring to autumn, he lived with his parents at Ville d'Avray. He worked in the mornings and evenings, capturing the light and atmosphere of his favorite times of day. He was an extremely kind and generous man much loved by his fellow artists, whom he was always ready to help with money and advice.

During his long career he became one of the most celebrated artists of his generation and exerted tremendous influence on the painters of the Impressionist movement. He was awarded numerous medals and the coveted Legion of Honor in 1846. Acknowledged as the world's foremost landscape painter, fame did not spoil the simplicity of his character. His work can be found in important public collections around the world.

The title of the present work, Le Dormoir, refers to a shaded space where herds of cattle or sheep can rest. Le Dormoir was painted towards the end of Corot's life and captures the poetic beauty and dreamy quality present in his final paintings. Unlike his earlier works, Corot's paintings of the 1870s feature increasingly mythical and romantic subject matter, a softer paint application, and lyrical subtext. In 1873, the year in which he painted Le Dormoir, Corot created a number of vertical landscapes featuring small dancing and working figures beneath towering trees (i.e. Pastorale Souvenir d Italie, Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum). Like Pastorale, Le Dormoir is a harmonious composition that invites the viewer to a romantic vision of the forest and rural life.

Museum Collections Include:
Musee du Louvre, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Yale University Art Gallery; Le Petit Palais, Paris; The Frick Collection, New York; The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C.; The Hermitage, St Petersburg; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The Art Institute of Chicago; Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge; Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, Las Vegas; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX; Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena; Neue Pinakothek, Munich; numerous other French, European, and American museums