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Title A Quiet Backwater
Collection Beecroft Art Gallery, Westcliff-on-Sea
Artist Trouillebert, Paul Désiré (French painter, 1829-1900)
Date Earliest about 1883
Date Latest about 1889
Signed yes
Description At first glance, this tranquil landscape, with its soft light and delicate, impressionistic trees and figures, appears to be a work from the late 'silvery' phase of Camille Corot's career. Trouillebert was one of Corot's pupils, and because of his fidelity to the master, unscrupulous dealers were not above forging Corot's signature on his paintings to increase their profits. Trouillebert was so angered by this practice that in 1883 he sued all parties involved with a work of his that had been falsely signed as a Corot. The particularly large signature on this painting may have been a result of that trial and Trouillebert's reluctance to allow his work to be mistaken for Corot's.
Current Accession Number SOUAG:B115
Inscription front ll 'Trouillebert'
Subject landscape; figure
Measurements 38 x 45 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Walter G. Beecroft 1961
Provenance H. Terry-Engell(;); purchased by Walter G. Beecroft before 1961.
Principal Exhibitions Millennium Exhibition, Beecroft Art Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, 2000, cat. no. 55.
Publications Hunt, C., Highlights from the Beecroft Art Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, 2000, p. 32, pl. 55.
Notes Part of a handwritten label on the back names the dealer as Engell, almost certainly H. Terry-Engell who is known to have sold one other work to Beecroft (SOUAG:B97, Duck Shooting on the Banks of the River Allier by Henri-Joseph Harpignies). The work of Corot, Trouillebert's teacher, was often forged; Corot is even said to have signed his name to works by his pupils as a gesture of generosity to make them more saleable. However, Trouillebert wanted to be recognised as an artist in his own right and in 1883 went so far as to haul into court all parties involved with a work of his that had been falsely signed as by Corot (see Clarke, M., Corot and the Art of Landscape, London 1991, p. 132, for details of the trial). The particularly large and flamboyant signature on this painting may be a direct result of that trial. The red-hatted boatman was a motif used by Corot in some 40 works in his late oeuvre.
Rights Owner Copyright Southend Borough Council
Author Dr Rachel Sloan



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