Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796-1875)
Portrait de Madame Langeron à 4 ans, en robe blanche, tenant un jouet de ses deux mains
Unsigned, inscribed "FAIT PAR M. COROT" in ink on the stretcher, identified on an exhibition label from Réunion des Musees Nationaux (see below) affixed to the stretcher.
Oil on canvas, 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (24.0 x 19.0 cm), framed.
Condition: Scattered minor dots of retouch.
Provenance: Madame Langeron, Blois; to Leon Salavin, Paris; to Hammer Galleries, New York; through to the current owner.
Literature: A. Schoeller and J. Dieterle, Corot (Premier supplement a "L'Oeuvre de Corot" par A. Robaut and Moreau-Nélaton) (Paris: Arts et Métiers Graphiques, 1948) p. 28, no. 22, illus. p. 29.
Exhibitions: Paris, Musée du Louvre, Figures de Corot, June-September 1962, p. 70, no. 26, illustrated, pl. 71; Tokyo, Wildenstein & Co., Inc., Camille Corot, March 1-April 13, 1990, no. 7, illus.; Traveled to Osaka, Fujikawa Gallery, May 14-31, 1990; New York, Hammer Galleries, The Gallery Collection-19th and 20th Century European Paintings, February 5-March 31, 2001, pp. 10-11 (illus.).
N.B. A photo-certificate of authenticity from Martin Dieterle (dated March 8, 2001) accompanies the work. The portrait is dated 1840-45 in the catalogue raisonné. A letter from the sitter which is referenced in documents from Hammer Gallery dates the work to the summer of 1845 when Corot was in Ville d'Avray. The sitter wrote that while her family was spending the summer in the home of Mr. Baurnet Veron, Corot was staying in a nearby house and painted her portrait. The original letter is reproduced in the catalogue raisonné supplement beside an image of the portrait.
It has been noted by the scholar Germain Bazin that Corot's manner changed radically when he was painting children, adopting a more naive style, presenting the figure squarely from the front holding a toy, emphasizing the subject's innocence. Louvre curator Madeleine Hours has written that Corot did portraits of children at intervals between 1843 and 1857, most often children of his friends. The works are usually small in size and show the child full-length or half-length. Corot, whose genial nature was well known, had great patience and respect for children, and his sympathies are demonstrated in the charm and freshness of these portraits.
Artist identified on a presentation plaque.
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