Corot painted this brisk but assured sketch while he was a pupil of Jean-Victor Bertin and kept it until he died. It depicts Corot’s mother and sister standing by a large Italian poplar that marked the entrance to the family’s property at Ville d’Avray, near Paris.
Inscription: Stamped (lower left): VENTE / COROT
the artist (until d. 1875; his estate sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 26–28, 1875, no. 250, as "A Ville-d'Avray; les bords de l'étang, près la propriété Corot," for Fr 105, to Doria); comte Armand Doria, Paris (from 1875); sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, March 11, 1892, no. 13, as "Paysage," 24 x 33 [cm], for Fr 500; private collection, Paris; [Artemis Fine Arts, London, in 1997]; Eugene V. Thaw, New York (by 2007–9)
New York. Artemis Fine Arts, Inc. "Selected 19th Century Paintings & Works on Paper," October 20–November 28, 1997, no. 5 (as "Ville d'Avray–Banks of the Stream near the Corot Property").
New York. Morgan Library & Museum. "Trees: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection," November 24, 2015–July 10, 2016, no catalogue.
Alfred Robaut. L'Œuvre de Corot: Catalogue raisonné et illustré. [reprint 1965]. Paris, 1905, vol. 2, pp. 12–13, no. 19, ill., vol. 4, p. 223, as "Ville-d'Avray.—Bords de l'étang près de la proprieté Corot"; dates it about 1823–24; identifies the figures at left as the artist's mother and sister; notes that the Italian poplar on the same side, rising above the horizon, marks the edge of the Corot property.
Selected 19th Century Paintings & Works on Paper. Exh. cat., Artemis Fine Arts, Inc. New York, 1997, unpaginated, no. 5, ill. (color), as "Ville d'Avray—Banks of the Stream near the Corot Property"; medium erroneously described as oil on panel; dates it about 1823, and notes that it was painted while the artist was a student of Jean-Victor Bertin.
Esther Bell. "Catalogue Raisonné of the Thaw Collection." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 112, no. 33, ill. (color), calls it "Banks of a Stream near the Corot Estate, Ville d'Avray".