Solitude. Recollection of Vigen, Limousin

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot

La soledad. Recuerdo de Vigen, Limusín

Corot, Jean-Baptiste-Camille

París, 1796 - 1875

Solitude. Recollection of Vigen, Limousin, 1866

© Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza

Signed & dated lower right: ''Corot/1866''.
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection
Location: Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Madrid

Oil on canvas

95 x 130 cm

CTB.1999.27

Artwork history

  • Empress Eugenia de Montijo Collection, París, 1866. (Adquired by Napoleón III by 18000 francs)

  • Madame Cassin Collection, París, 1884

  • Carcano Collection, París

  • Catalogue Des tableaux modernes, aquarelles, dessins, pastels, sculptures, tableaux anciens, dessins anciens, objets d’art & d’ameublement, appartenant à Madame la marquise Landolfo Carcano. París, Gallery Georges Petit , May 30- June 1,1912, lot 16 (350.000 francs)

  • Knoedler, Arnold et Tripp, París

  • Arnold et Tripp, París

  • Arthur and Sons, London, 1912

  • William G. Moore, New York, 1938

  • Important Impressionist and Modern Paintings and Drawings. Sotheby & Co, London, May 4, 1960, lot 85 (6.500 pounds  by Downey)

  • Downey Collection, London, 1962

  • Thomas Agnew & Sons, London

  • Christie’s Auctions, lot 6, New York, May 12, 1999.

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection.

1866

Salon, París, n. 453. fuera de concurso

1884

Exposition d´une collection particulière (coll. Mme. de Cassin), París, Galerie Georges Petit, n. 1

1999

Aspectos de la tradición paisajística en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Málaga, Salas de Exposiciones del Palacio Episcopal, n. 55, p. 182 y cub.

1999 - 2000

Naturalezas pintadas de Brueghel a Van Gogh. Pintura naturalista en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, n. 45, p. 138

2000

De Corot a Monet. Los orígenes de la pintura moderna en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Valencia, Museo del Siglo XIX, p. 14

2000

Del impresionismo a la vanguardia en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, México, DF, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, p. 40

2001

Landschaften von Brueghel bis Kandinsky. Die Ausstellung zu Ehren des Sammlers Hans Heinrich Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bonn, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, n. 44, p. 126

2002

Il trionfo del colore. Collezione Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Kandinsky, Roma, Palazzo Ruspoli, p. 82

2005

Corot. Naturaleza, emoción, recuerdo, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, n. 78, lám. p. 295

2012 - 2012

Camille Corot. Natur und Traum, Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle, n. 126, p. 470, lám. p. 237 y cubierta

  • Blanc, Charles: “Salon de 1866”.  Gazette des Beaux-Arts. París, t. XXI, July 1, 1866, pp. 28-71 , cit. pp. 38-40, lám. p. 39.

  • Camp, Maxime du: “Le Salon de 1866”. Revue des Deux Mondes. 2ª ep., t. LXIII. May 1, 1866, pp. 687-719 , cit. p. 718.

  • Castagnary: La Liberté. París, May, 5 & 13,  1866. Reprint Salons (1857-1870). 2 vol. París, 1892, vol. 1, pp. 224, 225 y 234.

  • -Clément, Charles: “Exposition de 1866 (Huitième article)”.  Journal des débats politiques et littéraires. París, June 19, 1866, pp. 1-2 , cit. p. 1.

  • -Dax, Pierre: “Chronique”.  L’Artiste. Beaux-Arts et Belles Lettres. París, 1866, t. I, August 15, pp. 258-264 , cit. p. 260

  • -Deriège, Félix: en Le Siècle, París, June 10, 1866

  • -Diguet, Ch.: en Le Monde des Arts. París, April 15, 1866, pp. 33-34

  • -Lagrange, L.: en Le Correspondant. New series, t. 32. París, 1866, p. 211.

  • -L’Artiste. Beaux-Arts et Belles-Lettres. París, 1866, t. I, June 15, (Lithography by Pirodon) , s.p.

  • -Merson, Olivier:  Opinion nationale. París, July 2,  1866

  • -Montifaud, Marc de: “Salon de 1866”.  L’Artiste. Beaux-Arts et Belles-Lettres. París, 1866, t. I, May 15, pp. 169-178 , cit. pp. 176-77

  • -Pays, A.-J. du: L’Illustration. T. XLVIII. París, July 14, 1866, p. 30

  • -Saint-Victor, Paul de: “Salon de 1866. 5e article”.  La Presse. París, June 10, 1866, p. 3.

  • -Thoré, T.:  L’Indépendence Belge (4º article). Reprint: Bürger, W.: Salons. T. II, París, 1870, p. 319

  • -Villemer (Marquis): “Le Salon”. Le Figaro. París, May 13, 1866, pp. 1-3 , cit. p. 2

  • -Zola, Émile: “Adieu d’un critique d’art”.  L’Événement, París, May 20, 1866, p. 67. Copy at  Écrits sur l’art. Compile by Jean-Pierre Ledu-Adine. París, Gallimard, col. Tel, 1991 , p. 132

  • -Dumesnil, Henri: Corot. Souvenirs intimes, París, Rapilly, 1875, n. 97. p. 128

  • -Robaut, Alfred: L’Oeuvre de Corot par Alfred Robaut. Catalogue raisonné et illustré. Moreau-Nélaton, Étienne (col.). París, H. Floury, 1905. [Reed. 1965], vol. 1, p. 227; vol. 3, n. 1638, p. 148, lám. p. 149; vol. 4, pp. 169, 283, 372 y 373; vol. 5, p. 39.

  • Catalogue des tableaux modernes, aquarelles, dessins, pastels, sculptures, tableaux anciens, dessins anciens, objets d’art & d’ameublement, appartenant à Madame la marquise Landolfo Carcano. París, Gallery Georges Petit, May 30-June 1,1912, lot 16, pp. 14-16, lám.

  • -Moreau-Nélaton, Etienne: Corot raconté par lui-même. París, Laurens, 1924, vol. 2, p. 20, fig. 193

  • -Bazin, Germain: Corot. París, Pierre Tisné, 1942, p. 107.

  • -Bazin, Germain: Corot. 2 ed. París, Pierre Tisné, 1951, pp. 23 y 11.

  • -Baud-Bovy, Daniel: Corot. Geneva, Jullien, 1957, p. 242

  • -Fosca, F.: Corot, sa vie et son œuvre. Brussels, 1958, p. 36.

  • -Wissman, F.: Corot’s salon paintings: Sources from French classicism to contemporary theater design. Ann Arbor (MI), 1989, pp. 107-109, 145, 195, 205, fig. 51

  • Corot. 1796-1875. Pantazzi, Michael, Pomarède, Vincent y Tinterow, Gary (curators) [Exhib. Cat.París, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, February 28,May 27, 1996; Ottawa, Musée des beaux-art de Canada, June 21-September 22, 1996 ; New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 22,1996- January 19, 1997]. Spanish Ed. París, Réunion des musées nationaux-Madrid, Sociedad Editorial Electa España, 1996, pp. 32, 332 (lam.) y 335.

  • -Pomarède, V.; Stefani, C. y Wallens, G. de: Corot, un artiste et son temps. Actes des colloques organisés au musée du Louvre par le service culturel les 1er et 2 mars 1996 à Paris et par l’Académie de France à Rome, villa Médicis, le 9 mars 1996 à Rome. París, Klincksieck, Louvre – Rome, Académie de France, Villa Médicis, 1998, pp. 149, 165, 444.

  • -Christie, Manson & Woods International Inc.: Christie’s Impressionist & Nineteenth Century Art. (Auction Cat.). New York, May 12, 1999, pp. 20-22, lám.

  • Aspectos de la Tradición Paisajística en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Llorens Serra, Tomàs (ed.). [Exhib. Cat. Málaga, Salas de Exposiciones del Palacio Episcopal]. Málaga, Fundación Unicaja, 1999, n. 55, p. 182. [Sheet byJohn Sillevis]

  • -Naturalezas pintadas de Brueghel a Van Gogh. Pintura naturalista en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza [Exhib. Cat. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza], 1999, n. 45, p. 138.

  • -De Corot a Monet. Los orígenes de la pintura moderna en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Valencia, Museo del Siglo XIX [Exhib. Cat. Museo del siglo XIX], 2000, p. 14.

  • -Del impresionismo a la vanguardia en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, México, DF, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, [Exhib. Cat. México], 2000,  p. 40.

  • -Landschaften von Brueghel bis Kandinsky. Die Ausstellung zu Ehren des Sammlers Hans Heinrich Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bonn, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland [Exhib. Cat.], 2001, n. 44, p. 126.

  • -Il trionfo del colore. Collezione Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Kandinsky, Roma, Palazzo Ruspoli, [Exhib. Cat. Roma], 2002, p. 82.

  • Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 1, p. 310, lám. p. 311 [Sheet by Gérard de Wallens]

  • -Sanchez, Pierre y Seydoux, Xavier: Les Catalogues des Salons. Dijón, L’Echelle de Jacob, 1999-, Vol. VIII [1864-1867] (2004), s.p.

  • -García Felguera, María de los Santos y Navarro, Carlos G.: “Corot y los pintores españoles”. En Madrid 2005, pp. 95-113, cit. p. 98.

  • -Pomarède, Vincent: Corot. Naturaleza, emoción, recuerdo. Clarke, Michael… [et al.]. [Exhib. Cat.]. Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2005, n. 78, lám. p. 295 y Corot. Natura, emozione, ricordo, Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti [Exhib. Cat.], 2005, n. 67, lám. p. 273.

  • -Pomarède, Vincent: “Los ‘Souvenirs’ de Corot”.  Madrid 2005, pp. 271-287, cit. p. 286

  • -Kelly, Simon: “The Victory of Modern Art’: Landscape Painting in Mid-Nineteenth-Century France.  London/Ottawa/Philadelphia 2007-2008, pp. 19-31, cit. pp. 22-23, fig. 8 p. 22

  • -Colin B. Bailey … [et al.]: Renoir Landscapes 1865 – 1883. [Exhib. Cat. London, The National Gallery; Ottawa, The National Gallery; Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2007-2008]. London, National Gallery, 2007.

  • -Borobia, Mar y Alarcó, Paloma (eds.): Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Obras escogidas. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2011, p. 160, lám. p. 161

  • -Alarcó, P. y Borobia, M. (eds.): Guía de la colección. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2012, p. 229, lám.

Expert report

The Solitude was one of the two paintings Corot presented hors concours to the Salon in 1866. The second was entitled The Evening (R 1637, unknown location, also known as The Feast of Bacchus).

With The Solitude, Corot once again shows that his vision of nature was quite different from that of his contemporaries. Rather than Rousseau’s naturalistic style or Courbet’s realistic representations, Corot preferred painting a nature which encourages poetry and bucolic reverie. A long itinerary led him to this form of painting: the subject, an indispensable justification for the depiction of landscapes in the 1820’s, gradually moved to the background, allowing greater space, in the decade of the 1840’s, to nature itself and, in the following decade, giving it almost entirely to the landscape. The Salons of 1851 and 1859 were in this respect the decisive turning points and truly marked the transformation of Corot’s different styles.

This painting belongs to a genre called, since the 19th century, «Recollection». It would be necessary, in order to understand it properly, to retrace the history of outdoor painting. Corot appears at the time when observation replaces imagination, and this evolution is paramount in order to understand his personal career, perfectly integrated with the movement of neo-classical landscape painting. Following the example of all his colleagues, Corot brought back from Italy, where he stayed from 1825 to 1828, over one hundred studies painted outdoors, which would later be used to compose the paintings in his studio. One study could generate many variations, sometimes ten or even twenty years later. Corot simply took landscape painting a little further. He worked that way all his life and, from the 1850s, completely recomposed landscapes based on the remembrance of studies painted in different periods of his life, exactly like a musician who keeps all his compositions in mind and can play any piece on request. This is the case of The Solitude, which does not represent a particular place, but is the fruit of the imagination he let loose on the canvas in his studio in Paris. Corot’s neo-classical training had taught him perfectly well to work indoors as if he were standing in the middle of the forest.

If The Solitude. Recollection of Vigen, Limousin fits perfectly into a series of works which, from the beginning of the 1860’s, marked the style which still today identifies Corot in the minds of the public and art lovers alike, it is also true that in this work there is a stylistic element which has hardly ever been analysed in general terms, and never in relation to this painting.

What do we see? A woman sitting in front of to the spectator, with a classical hairdo, holding a lyre in her right hand and looking towards the back of the painting, to the point from which a beautiful brightness lightens up the work; the movement of the clouds, like in Lorrain´s works, begins in the horizon and seems to animate the whole painting.

But what is important is somewhere else. Take a close look at the painting: most details are nearly out of focus and without interest. Take six or seven steps back, and the work acquires all its artistic, poetic and bucolic dimension. It is not the first time that Corot used this technical trick, which became fashionable much later, but which we see in him already at the beginning of the 1850’s. This, as well as the grey dominant, present in many of his works, was criticised by a number of art critics and contemporaries. They had not understood that, for him, it was a way of introducing in his works all the emotion he wished to share with us: «In order to enter my landscapes properly, you need at least to have the patience to let the fog clear. You can only enter slowly and once you are there, you have to enjoy it.»

Gérard de Wallens