The Environs of Paris

Camille Corot (French, Paris 1796–1875 Paris)
Oil on wood
13 1/2 x 20 1/4 in. (34.3 x 51.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915
Accession Number:
Not on view
Corot painted at least four versions of this composition. The other three seem to predate this work of the mid-1860s by about a decade. The subject is a view of the rue Brancas near the artist’s home at Ville-d’Avray, southwest of Paris, which is visible in the distance.
[Durand-Ruel, Paris]; James Duncan, Benmore House, Dunoon, Argyllshire, Scotland (until 1886; sold on April 12 for Fr 6,250 to Boussod); [Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Paris, 1886; stock no. 17771, sold on September 4 for Fr 9,000 to Reichard]; [Reichard & Co., New York, from 1886]; George I. Seney, New York (by 1887–91; his sale, American Art Association, New York, February 11–13, 1891, no. 28, as "The Environs of Paris," for $2,600 to Davis); Theodore M. Davis, Newport, R.I. (1891–d. 1915; his estate, on loan to the MMA, 1915–30)
Munich. Königlichen Glaspalaste. "Internationalen Kunstausstellung," July 18–?, 1883, no. 389 (as "Landschaft," lent by James Duncan Esq., London, possibly this work).

Brooklyn Art Association. "Mr. George I. Seney's Collection of Paintings," April 16–28, 1887, no. 12 (as "Environs of Paris").

Detroit Museum of Art. "Opening Exhibition," September 1–November 15, 1888, no. 29 (lent by George I. Seney, New York).

Worcester Art Museum. "Winter Exhibition," Winter 1898–99, no. 44 (lent by Theodore M. Davis, Newport, R.I.).

San Francisco. Palace of Fine Arts. "Golden Gate International Exposition," May 25–September 29, 1940, no. 244.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. "So This is Paris/ Voici Paris," October 4–29, 1950, no. 9 (as "Environs de Paris").

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Van Gogh as Critic and Self-Critic," October 30, 1973–January 6, 1974, no. 27.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Barbizon: French Landscapes of the Nineteenth Century," February 4–May 10, 1992, no catalogue.

Haus der Kunst München. "Corot, Courbet und die Maler von Barbizon: 'Les amis de la nature'," February 4–April 21, 1996, no. B 19 (as "Landstraße bei Sèvres-Brimborion, nahe Ville-d'Avray").

Albany. New York State Museum. "French Painters of Nature; The Barbizon School: Landscapes from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 22–August 22, 2004, no catalogue.

R. J. "The New Seney Collection." Art Amateur 17 (June 1887), p. 10.

"The Fine Arts: The Seney Collection." Critic 15 (January 31, 1891), p. 60.

Alfred Robaut. L'Œuvre de Corot: Catalogue raisonné et illustré. [reprint 1965]. Paris, 1905, vol. 3, p. 80, no. 1485, ill. p. 81, calls it "Ville d'Avray—sur les hauteurs; route ombreuse avec les fonds de Paris à l'horizon" and dates it 1860–70; provides incorrect dimensions; mentions the engraving by Courtry.

Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, XIX Century. New York, 1966, pp. 55–56, ill.

Lois Marie Fink. "French Art in the United States, 1850–1870: Three Dealers and Collectors." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 92 (September 1978), p. 98, calls it "unfinished" and "sketchy".

Michael Pantazzi in Corot. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1996, p. 224, fig. 98 [French ed., "Corot 1796–1875," Paris, 1996, p. 284], as "Ville d'Avray. Sur les Hauteurs (Ville-d'Avray, on the Hills)".

Claudia Denk in Corot, Courbet und die Maler von Barbizon: "Les amis de la nature". Ed. Christoph Heilmann, Michael Clarke, and John Sillevis. Exh. cat., Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen and Haus der Kunst München. Munich, 1996, p. 118, no. B19, ill. p. 119 (color).

Andrew M. Watson. James Duncan: An Enlightened Victorian. Edinburgh, 2010, pp. 57, 77, ill. (color), suggests that Duncan lent either this painting or "Le Passage du gué" (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes, inv. RF 1791; R 1642) to Exh. Munich 1883.

John House. "Impressionism and the Open-Air Oil Sketch." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 92, fig. 76 (color), proposes that this is typical of "dealer pictures," characterized by "simple but clearly structured compositions and measured spatial recessions".

There is a version of this composition in the Baltimore Museum of Art (Robaut 1905, no. 1463) and another in the Musée du Louvre, Paris (Robaut no. 1464). A fourth version is unlocated (Robaut no. 1465).