Boatman among the Reeds

Camille Corot (French, Paris 1796–1875 Paris )

Oil on canvas
23 1/2 x 32 in. (59.7 x 81.3 cm)
Credit Line:
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    Since Corot often repeated compositions and motifs, his works are difficult to date. The present picture betrays similarities to Corot's "River with a Distant Tower," also in the Museum's collection, which, on the basis of style, seems to date to the early 1860s. The feathery brushstrokes and lighter palette of this work suggest it was painted later in the decade.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed (lower left): COROT.

  • Provenance

    Brébant, Paris; Maurice Gentien, Paris; Michael Friedsam, New York (until d. 1931)

  • Exhibition History

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Michael Friedsam Collection," November 15, 1932–April 9, 1933, no catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Barbizon: French Landscapes of the Nineteenth Century," February 4–May 10, 1992, no catalogue.

  • References

    John W. Mollett. The Painters of Barbizon: Millet, Rousseau, Diaz, Corot, Daubigny, Dupré. London, 1895, p. xi, calls it "The Banks of the Stream".

    David Croal Thomson. The Barbizon School of Painters: Corot, Rousseau, Diaz, Millet, Daubigny, etc. London, 1902, ill. p. 29 (lithograph), as "By the Side of the Water".

    Maurice Hamel. Corot et son œuvre. Paris, 1905, vol. 1, pl. 30, calls it "Les Bords de la rivière".

    Alfred Robaut. L'Œuvre de Corot: Catalogue raisonné et illustré. [reprint 1965]. Paris, 1905, vol. 3, pp. 172–73, no. 1709, ill., calls it "Le Batelier dans les roseaux et les paysannes à la rive" and dates it 1860–65; mentions a lithograph by Émile Vernier.

    William B. M'Cormick. "Michael Friedsam Collection." International Studio 80 (November 1924), p. 122, as "The Borders of the Stream".

    François Fosca. Corot, 1796–1875. Paris, 1930, pl. 39, as "Les Bords de la rivière".

    Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), p. 52, no. 91, call it "The Boatman among Reeds and Peasants on the Bank".

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX Century." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, 1966, p. 60, ill., note the similarity of the background in this picture to that in "Le Fagot attendu" (R1696, location unknown), dated 1865–70 by Robaut, and suggest that our picture also belongs to this slightly later period


    Sarah Burns. "A Study of the Life and Poetic Vision of George Fuller (1822–1884)." American Art Journal 13 (Autumn 1981), p. 30, fig. 26, dates it about 1860–70.

  • Notes

    A lithograph after this painting was made by Émile Vernier [see Ref. Robaut 1905].

  • See also