Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot

Original Prints: Etchings, Lithographs, and Glass Prints (Clichés-Verre)


An extraordinarily innovative printmaker who mastered a variety of graphic media (etching, lithography, and cliché-verre or glass printing), Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796 - 1875) broke away from the dominant neo-classical and romantic traditions of the period, evolving toward a more naturalistic approach, while retaining a certain reserved, yet lyrical verve.

As the guiding force behind the Barbizon school beginning in the 1830s, and a noteworthy precursor of impressionism, he pioneered the idea of working out-of-doors, rendering atmosphere, while his youthful travels across Italy (between 1825 and 1828, again in 1834, and a third visit in 1843) gave him a taste for airy light as well as poetic effect: his freely handled landscapes, ever enlivened with tiny figures, almost seem to breathe.

Corot, Environs de Rome, etching

Environs de Rome

Environs of Rome

Robaut 3128, Delteil 6, Melot 6

etching, 1866, the rare 1st state (of 3), one of only a few proofs before letters

Corot's formative studies in Italy would leave a permanent mark on his printmaking; years later, these reminiscences would again resurface, as in this remarkable large etching, his second contribution to the Société des Aquafortistes.


Camille Corot, etching, Landscape in Italy

Paysage d'Italie

Landscape in Italy

Robaut 3129, Delteil 7, Melot 7

etching, 1866, the rare 1st state (of 4), one of only a few proofs before letters

Another example of Corot's reminiscences, this sombre piece, again with a distant city framed by dark trees, was his third and last contribution to the Société des Aquafortistes.

Corot, Paysage d'Italie, etching      

Camille Corot, etching, Recollection of the Fortifications at Douai

Souvenir des Fortifications de Douai

Recollection of the Fortifications at Douai

Robaut 3134, Delteil 12, Melot 12

etching, circa 1869-70, the 1st (and only) state, a very rare lifetime proof of this remarkable late print, with a dedication by A. Robaut (see Le Dôme Florentin, below)


Camille Corot, the Florentine Dome, etching

Le Dôme Florentin

The Florentine Dome

Robaut 3135, Delteil 13, Melot 13

etching, circa 1869-70, the 1st state (of 3), a very rare lifetime proof, with a dedication by A. Robaut

These two prints (this and the preceding) are Corot's last etchings, and should be counted among his masterpieces, with a facture that is as hardy as it is lyrical.

Whether of a site in northern France that he visited often in his later years (as above), or the Tuscan capital that he had not seen for decades (as at left), the subjects are but pretexts giving free rein to his graphic virtuosity.


Corot lithograph, Cavalier dans les Roseaux

Le Cavalier dans les Roseaux

The Horseman in the Reeds

Robaut 3145, Delteil 22, Melot 22

lithograph, 1871, the 1st state (of 2), an extremely rare, possibly unique, trial proof printed in grey, from the H. Delacroix collection

Joining his friend Alfred Robaut in the spring of 1871, Corot's last visit to Douai yielded a series of remarkable lithographs, here a windswept view of the dunes on the North Sea near Boulogne-sur-Mer.


Camille Corot, lithograph, the Outlying Fort

Le Fort Détaché

The Outlying Fort

Robaut 3154, Delteil 32, Melot 32

lithograph, 1874, the only known state

One of Corot's very last prints, this fine lithograph is again typical of the artist's broad and airy landscapes.


Camille Corot, glass print, Saltarelle



Robaut 3194, Delteil 75, Melot 75

glass print (cliché verre), 1858, the very rare first state (of 2)

One of Corot's best known glass prints, and one of the few with animated figures in the foreground, this fine piece shows his fascination with rustic Italian themes.


Corot, Dante and Virgil, cliché verre

Dante et Virgile

Dante and Virgil

Robaut 3195, Delteil 76, Melot 76

glass print (cliché verre), 1858, a very rare early impression of the only state, from the C. Dutilleux collection

Corot takes up the well-known literary theme of Dante Alighieri's encounter with the ancient Roman poet Virgil, as set forth in the First Canto of Dante's Divina Commedia.  Here the two figures stand out in the foreground, lower right, flanked by beasts "in the dark wood".  (Constant Dutilleux was one of the inventors of this innovative technique, and he introduced Corot to it in 1853.)

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