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House and Factory of Monsieur Henry

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, French, 1796 - 1875

Made in France, Europe


Oil on canvas

32 1/16 × 39 1/2 inches (81.4 × 100.3 cm) Framed: 45 × 52 1/4 × 4 3/8 inches (114.3 × 132.7 × 11.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 299, European Art 1500-1850, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1950

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Monsieur Henry, a cloth manufacturer and a friend of the artist’s father, commissioned this picture of his house and factory in Soissons, France. Corot also painted a view from the back of the house overlooking the spires of Soissons Cathedral; this painting is now in Otterlo, Holland. Regarding Corot as an amateur, Henry neglected to pay him for works that are now considered among the finest of the artist’s early career.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Early in his career, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot sought to capture the appearance of the physical world with an unblinking directness that seems to anticipate the photograph. During the 1830s he traveled in northern France, painting detailed architectural studies that in their simple volumetric clarity also recall the cityscapes and architectural views of seventeenth-century Dutch painters. Monsieur Henry was a cloth manufacturer, proud of his provincial prosperity, whose house and factory in Soissons, a suburb of Reims, he commissioned the artist to paint in 1833. A pendant showing another view of his property and, across the fields, the spires of Soissons Cathedral, is in the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo. Regarding Corot as an amateur who required no compensation, Henry neglected to pay him for the works, now considered to be among the finest of the artist's early career. Corot himself repainted parts of this picture in 1871, when he came to fear it looked too much like the kind of picture postcard that, ironically, had not been invented when he first worked on the canvas. Christopher Riopelle, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 188.


M. Henry, Soissons; sold to an anonymous dealer in Nancy; Hippolyte Lézaud, Paris; by descent to his son M. Lézaud, about 1890; Victor Antoine Desfossés (1836-1899). Jacques Emile Blanche (1861-1942), Paris by 1905 [1]. Paul Rosenberg & Co., New York, by 1942 [2]; purchased by the City of Philadelphia with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1950. 1. Robaut lists Blanche as the owner in his 1905 catalogue raisonné. The painting was exhibited in 1922 by Blanche and in 1925 and 1938 as belonging to an anonymous private collection, probably Blanche since he published it in his Les Arts plastiques, 1931, pp. 19-20. 2. A Rosenberg label with the inventory number 5050 and the title "Soissons-Maison d'Habitation et Fabrique de M. Henry" is in the curatorial files. Private communication with Elaine Rosenberg in July 2001 revealed that the painting was certainly with Rosenberg in New York in 1942, but the loss of the Rosenberg records for the wartime period makes it difficult to trace the painting any earlier.

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