In 1868, about the time this work was painted, the aspiring artist Odilon Redon noted Corot’s advice "to place an unknown next to a known" in his compositions. That approach to picture-making is evident in this scene of workers, which has a ring of familiarity although the precise labor depicted resists identification. It is replete with details, such as the fruit on the tree at the center and the lettering on the sign at the top right, that favor painterly qualities over legibility. Yet the painting appears to be far more grounded in observation than the landscapes Corot typically conjured in his later years.
Charles Lecesne, Paris (in 1875); Eloise Lawrence Breese Norrie, New York (until d. 1921)
Paris. École Nationale des Beaux-Arts. "Exposition de l'œuvre de Corot," May 1875, no. 179 (as "Bord de la Seine à Conflans," lent by M. Ch. Lecesne).
Wooster, Ohio. Josephine Long Wishart Museum of Art. "Exhibition of Paintings of French, Italian, Dutch, Flemish and German Masters, lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 20–December 15, 1944, unnumbered cat. (p. 4, as "Wheelwright's Yard on the Bank of the Seine").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Taste of the Seventies," April 2–September 10, 1946, no. 75 (as "A Wheelwright's Yard on the Seine").
Nashville. Fisk University. "[title not known]," April 20–August 15, 1951, no catalogue.
Atlanta University. "[title not known]," September 1, 1951–January 30, 1952, no catalogue.
New Orleans. Dillard University. "[title not known]," February 1–April 30, 1952, no catalogue.
Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," May 22–July 27, 1975, no. 59.
Moscow. State Pushkin Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," August 28–November 2, 1975, no. 59.
Bordeaux. Galerie des Beaux-Arts. "Profil du Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York: de Ramsès à Picasso," May 15–September 1, 1981, no. 117 (as "La cour d'un charron sur les bords de la Seine").
Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh. "Franse meesters uit het Metropolitan Museum of Art: Realisten en Impressionisten," March 15–May 31, 1987, no. 3 (as "De werkplaats van een wagenmaker aan de Seine").
New York. IBM Gallery of Science and Art. "The Rise of Landscape Painting in France: Corot to Monet," July 30–September 28, 1991, no. 35 (as "Wheelwright's Yard on the Seine").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Barbizon: French Landscapes of the Nineteenth Century," February 4–May 10, 1992, no catalogue.
Alfred Robaut. L'Œuvre de Corot: Catalogue raisonné et illustré. [reprint 1965]. Paris, 1905, vol. 3, pp. 70–71, no. 1460, ill.; vol. 4, p. 275, calls it "La Cour d'un charron au bord de la Seine" and dates it 1865–70.
J[osephine]. M[cCarrell]. L[ansing]. "The Bequest of Eloise L. Breese Norrie." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (June 1921), pp. 121–22, ill., calls it "Wheelwright's Yard on the Banks of the Seine"
George Sakier. "La Peinture française du XIXe siècle au 'Metropolitan Museum of Art' de New-York." L'Amour de l'art 7 (June 1926), pp. 197, 203, ill. p. 200, calls it "Cour d'un charron sur les bords de la Seine".
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, XIX Century. New York, 1966, pp. 61–62, ill., call it "A Wheelwright's Yard on the Seine" and tentatively date it to the second half of the 1860s.
Hans-Peter Bühler. Die Schule von Barbizon: Französische Landschaftmalerei im 19. Jahrhundert. Munich, 1979, fig. 54.
John Pope-Hennessy inProfil du Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York: de Ramsès à Picasso. Exh. cat., Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux, 1981, pp. 98–99, no. 117, ill., calls it "La cour d'un charron sur les bords de la Seine" and dates it about 1865–70; remarks that it was apparently painted directly before the motif in contrast to other Corot landscapes executed from memory in the studio.
Sjraar van Heutgen et al. inFranse meesters uit het Metropolitan Museum of Art: Realisten en Impressionisten. Exh. cat., Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1987, pp. 32–33, no. 3, ill. (color, overall and detail).
Jean Leymarie. Corot. 3rd ed. (1st ed., 1966). [Geneva], 1992, ill. p. 170 (color) [English ed., 1979], calls it "La cour d'un maréchal-ferrant près de la Seine".