The Stonecutters featured in the posthumous retrospective of Corot’s work held in 1875 in Paris––the first public homage to the fame of the deceased master––where it was purchased by a Parisian, Dr. Cambay. The inclusion of the painting in an exhibition three years later at the influential Galerie Durand-Ruel––the last time it was publicly exhibited until its recent rediscovery––testifies to its importance in the artist’s oeuvre. The Stonecutters appears to have been bought by an American collector in the 1880s or early 1890s and is among the first works by the artist to have entered this country, where it remained in various private collections until acquired by the Kimbell.
Corot has chosen a scene that could have been easily witnessed along the outskirts of Paris––a stonecutter is shown swinging his mallet, alongside a horse-drawn cart already full of hewn rock. As the horses turn to carry the wagon’s heavy load of stones, the viewer might speculate that their destination is Paris, which had recently suffered from the turmoil of uprisings against the state; the vast urban reconstruction project, which was carried out in the 1870s, required millions of tons of stone.
Acquired by Dr. Cambay at (exhibition, l’École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1875, no. 68);
(Knoedler, Paris), c. 1897.
John T. Martin;
(his sale, American Art Association, New York, 16 April 1909, no. 106);
purchased by C. K. G. Billings for $30,000;
(his sale, American Art Association, New York, 8 January 1926, no. 18).
purchased by O. W. Peabody;
Eli B. Springs [1852-1933];
(his sale, American Art Association, New York, 23 November 1934, no. 55);
purchased by W. Seaman;
by descent to W. Seaman’s grandchild;
(sale, Sotheby’s New York, 12 October 1994, no. 12);
(Acquavella Galleries, Inc., New York);
purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1994.