'Détrempe' (gouache) on slightly embossed (wall) paper, signed 'COROT'. Mounted and framed in elaborate gilt frame.
Not dated, but likely to be circa 1910-1920.
Image size: 6 x 9" - 150 x 228mm
Framed size: 15 x 18" - 350 x 460mm
In generally good overall condition. The card mount is decorated with wash and lines; The title hand-drawn. The rear of the frame bears the label of the framer John Tanous, "The Frame Specialist", 159-16, Draycott Avenue, Chelsea, SW3. Telephone Kensington 5561. This address suggests the picture may have been framed in the mid-sixties or thereabouts. The moulding is in the style of a toned antique gold. It has been relatively recently opened for inspection and subsequently closed and re-sealed. The image, loosely painted, shows two figures, one seated, one standing, in a woodland glade. On the back of the picture itself (and therefore not visible in its framed state) is an autograph note: "Près Abbé soleil levant c'est le moment le plus beau où tout s'éveille on sent la nature qui va vivre". Tallies with No 1 in the Catalogue of Paintings and Drawings of J.B.C. Corot in the Artist's Own Collection, Halton & Truscott Smith, Ltd. London 1929.
"Corot painted three thousand canvases, ten thousand of which have been sold in America", - René Huyghe, 1936.
Do not be fooled by the signature. This picture is a fake. It is however a GENUINE fake and its provenance is interesting in its own right.
Writing in 1929 the art historian and author Victor Rienaecker confidently stated that towards the end of his life Corot had had a studio built at Coubron, east of Paris, at the home of his friend and medical advisor Dr Gratiot. Here Corot lived and worked until January 1875 when he returned to Paris, where he died the following month. Upon his death (says Rienaecker) Dr Gratiot took possession of the pictures left in the studio (all 2414 of them, if we are to believe it) keeping their existence quiet for fear that they might otherwise come to the notice of the executors! Again, according to legend, they were inherited by the Gratiot's daughter who married a M. Panneau. On the death of Dr Gratiot and his wife they came to Panneau. On the occasion of his bankruptcy they passed into the hands of a Dr Felix Jousseaume - bear that name in mind a moment - and on Jousseaume's death in 1923 they were bought by a certain 'Alfred Pornet of Beaulieu' who, by and by, consigned the collection for sale by Craddock and Barnard, auctioneers. They were exhibited at the Twenty One Gallery, Adelphi, London in mid November 1926, accompanied by an elaborate catalogue. The exhibition and auction seems to have met with success, pictures selling to not only individual members of the public, but also to major institutions, including the British Museum and the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge for sums ranging between £30 and £100+.
The truth was only revealed in an article by the art historian René Huyghe in 1936: it was in fact Dr Jousseaume who had made this painting and all the others. Huyghe, aside from his famous quip (quoted above) expressed his astonishment that so many people could have been taken in by Jousseame's work. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder; those who had defended their authentication did so by citing the fact that it was quite feasible that they had slipped by inclusion in the catalogue raisonné of Corot's oeuvre as the author apparently knew nothing of the existence of the Coubron studio; that the little 'autograph' inscriptions lent the pictures a certain plausibility and that the scenes depicted often tallied with Corot's travels. They are NOT Corot, but they undoubtedly have a certainje ne sais quoi.And a good story to go with them.
Do look up 'Jousseame / Corot', and or 'Alfred Pornet' for further details.
See also on this site: J.B.C. COROT. Environs of Litra.
Packaging, postage and insurance will be calculated at point of sale.