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Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot

L'île heureuse


Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot
Paris 1796 – Ville-d'Avray 1875


L'île heureuse


About 1865-1868


Oil on canvas


188 x 142.5 cm


Gift of the family of Sir George A. Drummond in memory of Arthur Lennox Drummond and Captain Guy Melfort Drummond, inv. 1919.30


Western Art

This remarkable painting attests to the friendship of two artist companions: Charles-François Daubigny and, as he called his friend, “Le Père Corot.” Pioneers of painting en plein air, these two landscape painters were precursors of Impressionism. At Corot’s suggestion, Daubigny moved to Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris, not far from Honoré Daumier’s studio. They undertook to decorate the new lodgings: L’île heureuse is the finest of the five panels Corot executed for his vestibule. Despite his innovative painting techniques, Corot proceeded more from the classical spirit of seventeenth-century French landscape masters Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin in the landscapes of his maturity, which he called paysages-souvenirs. This is one of the painter’s infinite variations on the theme of a placid lake in dawn mist under a flurry of foliage, the scene disturbed only by sketchily rendered peasant figures. The atmosphere is that of a reconstituted dream, in which the painter-poet favours sensation over description, tone over colour.

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