In the 1860s and 70s, Corot often posed young, working-class Parisians in exotic costumes, perhaps evoking peasants he had painted in Italy in 1825–28. The introduction of studio props, however, situate the later works more squarely within the tradition of genre painting. In this work, the model’s expressionless face invites speculation about her state of mind, the book she has temporarily ceased to read, and the tenebrous sky.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): COROT
Hadengue-Sandras, Paris (until 1880; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, February 2–3, 1880, no. 17, as "Italienne," for Fr 1,305); [Brame, Paris, until 1897; sold on April 22, 1897 for Fr 11,000 to Durand-Ruel]; [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1897–99; stock no. 4180, as "Figure de femme, rêverie"; sold on August 31, 1899 for Fr 25,000 to Durand-Ruel, New York]; [Durand-Ruel, New York, 1899–1903; stock no. 2169, as "Rêverie"; sold on February 7, 1903 for $8,000 to Havemeyer]; Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1903–his d. 1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907–d. 1929; cat., 1931, pp. 64–65, ill.)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition," May 8–August 1920, unnumbered cat. (p. 9, lent anonymously).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 11–November 2, 1930, no. 14 [2nd ed., 1958, no. 76].
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Taste of Today in Masterpieces of Painting before 1900," July 10–October 2, 1932, no catalogue.
Paris. Musée de l'Orangerie. "Corot," 1936, no. 79 (as "La rêveuse au livre").
Musée de Lyon. "Exposition Corot," May 24–June 28, 1936, no. 83 (as "La rêveuse au livre").
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Corot, 1796–1875," May 11–June 16, 1946, no. 47 (as "Bohémienne rêveuse").
Art Gallery of Toronto. "J. B. C. Corot, 1796–1875," January 13–February 26, 1950, no. 19.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Barbizon: French Landscapes of the Nineteenth Century," February 4–May 10, 1992, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A102.
Alfred Robaut. L'Œuvre de Corot: Catalogue raisonné et illustré. [reprint 1965]. Paris, 1905, vol. 3, pp. 60–61, no. 1422, ill., calls it "Bohémienne rêveuse" and dates it 1860–65; observes that the model's clothes were selected for their harmony of coloration and values.
Julius Meier-Graefe. Camille Corot. 3rd ed. Munich, 1913, ill. p. 106, calls it "Träumerei".
"French, English, and American Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 15 (September 1920), p. 205, ill., calls it "Revery".
Arsène Alexandre. "La Collection Havemeyer: Courbet et Corot." La Renaissance 12 (June 1929), ill. p. 277.
C. Bernheim de Villers. Corot: Peintre de figures. Paris, 1930, p. 57, no. 228, ill., as "Bohémienne rêveuse"; discusses it with other "Bohémiennes rêveuses" (R1423–24) and related works, commenting on the contrast between the sitters's moods and their multicolored robes.
Julius Meier-Graefe. Corot. Berlin, 1930, p. 89, pl. LXXXVI.
H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, pp. 64–65, ill., calls it "Figure Piece—Rêverie"; dates it 1860–65.
Preface by Paul Jamot inExposition Corot. Exh. cat., Musée de Lyon. Lyons, 1936, pp. 38–39, no. 83, pl. XVII, calls it "La rêveuse au livre".
Paul Jamot. Corot. Paris, 1936, ill. p. 36, as "La rêveuse au livre".
Preface by Paul Jamot inCorot. Exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie. [Paris], 1936, p. 40, no. 79, pl. XVII, as "La rêveuse au livre".
David Rosen and Henri Marceau. "A Study in the Use of Photographs in the Identification of Paintings." Technical Studies in the Field of the Fine Arts 6 (October 1937), p. 83 n. 10, p. 86, figs. 12–13 (overall and detail).
Henri Marceau. Corot 1796–1875. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1946, p. 38, no. 47, ill., as "Bohémienne rêveuse"; calls it a study for "Bohémienne à la fontaine" (R1423, Philadelphia Museum of Art), citing the same costume and imagery in the background.
Henri Marceau. "Corot: His Techniques Explored and His Stature Heightened in Philadelphia's Show." Art News 45 (May 1946), pp. 29, 31, ill. (overall and detail).
A. Hyatt Mayor. "The Gifts that Made the Museum." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (November 1957), ill. p. 96.
François Fosca. Corot, sa vie et son oeuvre. Brussels, 1958, ill. p. 132, calls it "La Rêveuse au Livre".
Dorothy Gees Seckler. "The Art of Framing." Art in America 46 (Spring 1958), p. 81, ill.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The H. O. Havemeyer Collection. 2nd ed. New York, 1958, p. 15, no. 76, ill.
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. 54–55, ill.
Charles S. Moffett. Degas: Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1979, p. 15 n. 3, cites Theodore Reff's discussion of this picture as a possible precedent to Degas's "The Old Italian Woman" (MMA 66.65.2).
Judith Elizabeth Lyczko. "Thomas Wilmer Dewing's Sources: Women in Interiors." Arts 54 (November 1979), p. 155, fig. 14, remarks that this picture "provides a visual source for Dewing's poignant enjoyment of a serene and harmonious meditation on the past surviving into the present".
Frances Weitzenhoffer. "The Creation of the Havemeyer Collection, 1875–1900." PhD diss., City University of New York, 1982, p. 312 n. 9, as "Bohémienne rêveuse"; erroneously states that it was purchased by the Havemeyers on August 31, 1899 [see Refs. Stein and Wold 1993].
Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, p. 245, mentions that Louisine Havemeyer lent this painting anonymously to the Museum's "Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition" of 1920.
Antje Zimmermann. "Studien zum Figurenbild bei Corot." PhD diss., Universität Köln, 1986, pp. 18, 50, 58, 100, 152, fig. 43, as "Bohémienne rêveuse"; discusses this picture's representation of melancholy with other Corot paintings of contemplation and uninhabited landscape; suggests that our picture influenced Fantin-Latour's "La Liseuse, portrait de Marie Fantin-Latour" (Musée d'Orsay, Paris).
Charles F. Stuckey inThe Art of Paul Gauguin. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1988, ill. p. 229.
Jean Leymarie. Corot. 3rd ed. (1st ed., 1966). [Geneva], 1992, p. 152, ill. [English ed., 1979], calls it "Rêverie (La jeune Grecque)"; dates it 1868–70; compares it to other paintings by Corot of this period: "Woman with a Pearl" (R1507; Musée du Louvre, Paris) and "Gypsy Girl with a Tambourine" (R1425; private collection, Paris).
Susan Alyson Stein inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 233, 277, 285–86, pl. 229, dates it about 1860–65.
Gretchen Wold inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 307–8, no. A102, ill., dates it about 1860–65.
Dalton and Ettesvold (1980) note that the sitter wears a combination of southeastern European costumes, rather than the costume of one particular region.
The lone contemplative female figure in a landscape was depicted by Corot in Reverie (Robaut 1905, no. 1422) and several other related pictures of the mid- to late 1860s. Some of these paintings, called "Bohémiennes" by Robaut, depict either the same or a similar costume, including Bohémienne à la fontaine (Philadelphia Museum of Art; Robaut no. 1423) and Bohémienne rèveuse (location unknown; Robaut 1424).