Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

  • The great French landscape artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot composed this extraordinary oil
  • With its luminous palette and feathery brushstrokes, the work is exemplary of his mature style
  • His fresh and innovative way of painting revolutionized the art of the French landscape
  • Composed en plein air, his oeuvre served as inspiration for the Impressionists
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Item No. 30-6343
$228,500
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description
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
1796-1875 | French

Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches
(The Ford with Five Cows)

Signed "Corot" (lower left)
Oil on canvas

This ethereal landscape with its luminous atmosphere and light-drenched palette is a quintessential plein air masterpiece by the renowned French painter Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. Regarded by many as the first Impressionist, Corot's paintings served as the inspiration for an entire generation of artists. This example, entitled Le Gué aux Cinq Vaches (The Ford with Five Cows), offers a tranquil scene rendered in his mature style, composed at the apogee of his career after he abandoned the crisp brushwork and classical lines of his predecessors. Rather, the feathery brushstrokes and softened atmosphere of this charming tableau reveals the genius of this legendary artist and portends the revolutionary style of the Impressionists to come.

Corot’s work occupies a space between old and new, traditional and modern, in the realm of 19th-century art history. Though he never broke with the traditionalists and academics who remained loyal to the Salon, his works possessed a unique individuality that set his oeuvre apart from other landscape artists of his age. As Etienne Moreau-Nelaton once said, he was “...the last of the classical landscapists and the first of the Impressionists.” His brushstrokes, bold and solid yet feathery and light, transformed the neoclassical landscape and altered plein air painting forever.

Corot received a classical education in Rouen before embarking upon an apprenticeship in the family textile trade. The painting was his true passion and he soon devoted his entire life to perfecting his skill. Corot studied first with Achille Etna Michallon and Jean-Victor Bertin, both pupils of the leading historical landscape painter Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes. He visited the countryside of Rome and produced plein air studies, capturing the area’s natural beauty and classical antiquity. His fresh, starkly lit renditions reflect the debate of the day that sought to reconcile classically inspired idealizations with closely observed depictions of light and climate.

He debuted at the Paris Salon in 1827, and continued to display there his entire life. As a result, many of these paintings were purchased by the state for provincial museums and by important collectors such as Emperor Napoleon III. For his enduring contribution to the arts, Corot was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1846 and an Officer in 1867. At the Munich International Exposition of 1869, he was made a Knight of the Order of St. Michael.

As seen in this extraordinary example, Corot’s work reveals a deep understanding of the French landscape. The dramatic distribution of light and shadow recalls the romantic compositions of Delacroix, while the overwhelming presence of nature pays homage to the influence of the great Barbizon artists. Quintessentially French, Corot’s oeuvre was profoundly influential both upon his contemporaries and later generations of artists. Today, Corot's paintings of idyllic landscapes are in high demand on the art market, with both museums and private collectors competing for his works.

This important work is featured on pp. 188-189 of L'Oeuvre de Corot: catalogue raisonné et illustré, Paris 1905, Vol. III, by A. Robaut, with a drawing by Robaut, no. 1756.

Circa 1865

Canvas: 9 3/4" high x 15 1/2" wide
Frame: 14" high x 19 1/2" wide

Provenance:
Georges Petit, Paris, 1880, inv. no.6.624 (label on the reverse)
Bernheim Jeune, Paris, inv. no.3522 (label on the reverse)
Private collection, France
Private collection, London
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans
specifications
Artist: Corot, Jean-Baptiste Camille
Framed:19.5"W x 14.0"H
Unframed:15 1/2"W x 9 3/4"H
Period: 1816-1918
Origin:France
Subject:Landscape
Depth:2.25 Inches
Width:19.5 Inches
Height:14.0 Inches
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