Collecting Jean Baptiste Corot

Katherine19th Century Art, Artist Spotlight, European PaintingsLeave a Comment

Jean Baptiste Corot

When collecting works by Jean Baptiste Corot, there are certain characteristics that he is known for and therefore prized by art collectors.  Here we will discuss those elements of a great Corot painting and other things that make him such an important artist that is widely collected today.

Soft, wistful landscapes were Corot’s specialty. The paintings show untouched natural beauty, specifically of the rolling hills of Italy. While he had only traveled to Italy three times, the countryside had a profound impact on his career. His landscapes were usually recognizably Italian, but never of a specific place.  Jean Baptiste Corot also would avoid any signs of modernization such as railroad tracks. The works are fanciful and romantic. Figures were at times Biblical or mythological characters, but they were footnotes to their larger surroundings.

While he was interested in topographical detail, tone and atmosphere were always on Corot’s mind. Trees were painted with silver lines to make a scene wistful. He studied light and its effects on the environment and overall ambience. Later in his career, he used fewer colors. Soft grays and blues were heavily used and the only brightness was seen on figures.

Corot had shown regularly at the Paris Salon and the critics enjoyed his work. In 1845, Charles Baudelaire, a poet and art critic, hailed Corot as the master of the modern landscape. In 1855, Emperor Napoleon III purchased one of his works.  Corot became successful and comfortable, but none of it had mattered to him. He was a kind man who used his resources to help his friends. He aided caricaturist Honoré Daumier, the widow of Jean-Francois Millet, and others who were not as fortunate.

Jean Baptiste Corot was also an influence on the Impressionist. He was sympathetic towards young artist and taught Camille Pissarro, Brethe Morisot, and many others. Called “Papa Corot,” he was loved for his generosity and gentle nature.  Sadly, there were those that took advantage of this kindness. He encouraged his students to copy his works to better understand his lessons and would sometimes sign their finished work. This along with his popularity led to multiple forgeries.

Corot’s work has a vibrancy that other landscapes lack. The portrayal of light and the natural formations of land and plant life influenced the Impressionists and contributed to his popularity.


Kenny Ackerman is an Art Dealer in New York, specializing in Fine Art Paintings from 19th-21st century Europe and America. To buy or sell original paintings by artists we represent, contact Ackerman’s Fine Art here.



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