This rapidly executed sketch, made outdoors, is one of several views of the countryside and villages in the Morvan, the mountainous region of Burgundy where Corot had many relatives, and which he visited in the early 1840s.
the artist, Paris (until d. 1875; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, première partie, May 26–28, 1875, no. 86, as "A Lormes (Morvan)," for Fr 300 to Chamouillet); M. Chamouillet (from 1875); [M. L. Benatov, Paris, until 1954; sold to Marlborough]; [Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., London, 1954–55; sold in October 1955 to private collection]; private collection, Switzerland (from 1955); ?David Bingham (gave to Mendelsohn); Mr. and Mrs. Walter Mendelsohn, New York (by the 1960s–until 1980)
Alfred Robaut. L'Œuvre de Corot: Catalogue raisonné et illustré. [reprint 1965]. Paris, 1905, vol. 2, pp. 152–53, no. 421, ill.; vol. 4, p. 202, calls it "Lormes (Nièvre), vue d'ensemble" and dates it about 1840–45; mentions that Corot visited Lormes for the marriage of one of his parents.
Terence Mullaly. "The Barbizon School, I. Introduction." Apollo 61 (May 1955), fig. I.
Michael Pantazzi inCorot. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1996, pp. 192–93, under no. 80, fig. 88 [French ed., "Corot 1796–1875," Paris, 1996, p. 246, under no. 80, ill.], calls it "Lormes (Nièvre). Vue d'ensemble (View of Lormes)" and dates it about 1841–42; suggests that Corot painted it the same summer as "La Moisson dans une vallée (Morvan)" (R429; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg) and that he used the motif of the church, in reverse, in the background of "Enfants au bord d'un ruisseau dans la campagne" (R392; private collection).
Gary Tinterow in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1995–1996." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 54 (Fall 1996), pp. 44–45, ill. (color), notes that Corot visited the Morvan, a region at the eastern edge of France's Massif Central, several times, including the summers of 1841 and 1842, when he made this sketch; remarks that this panoramic format is unusual for Corot.
Jean-Louis Balleret. De Corot à Balthus: Un siècle de grands peintres dans la Nièvre et le Morvan. Exh. cat.Paris, 1997, ill. p. 21 (color).
Pantazzi (1996) suggests that this painting dates to the same summer as "La Moisson dans une vallée (Morvan)" (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg; Robaut 1905, no. 429) and that he borrowed the motif of the church, in reverse, for the background of "Enfants au bord d'un ruisseau dans la campagne" (private collection; Robaut no. 392).