About Corot Experts

Return to France

Mademoiselle Alexina Ledoux, 1830

Mademoiselle Alexina Ledoux, 1830

In September, 1828, Camille Corot traveled back to France. While visiting his mother’s shop, he met the charming seamstress, Alexina Ledoux, whose portrait he painted two years later. Alexina was most probably the only serious love of his life, yet he seems to have given even her up for his all consuming dedication to painting. He would remain unmarried all his life, though he enjoyed a loving familial relationship with his sister’s family, filled with children and grandchildren at Ville-d’Avray, in which he shared ownership of the home with her, after their parents’ deaths. He went and came often over the years, traveling throughout Europe, most of all to Fontainebleau, Normandy and Brittany.

Then in 1830, he was driven out of Paris by the French July Revolution, taking refuge in Chartres where he executed two studies, from which he would later render the beautiful light-drenched Chartres Cathedral. Corot kept this painting in his studio most of his life and, in 1872, he gave it to Robaut. At that same time, he added the figure on the left and changed the one on the right. These corrections were confirmed by Robaut and are further authenticated by radiographs.

Corot became, thereafter, an avid traveler of the rural countryside, always surprising his friends by showing up in a different summertime locality as frequent as every two weeks. He would transition between en plein air, painting during the summer months, making small oil sketches of nature, and then utilizing his studio during the winter time for larger paintings that he would present at the Salon.

Chartres Cathedral, 1830

Chartres Cathedral, 1830