This painting depicts the road leading to the railway station at Ville d'Avray, a village where Corot spent long periods throughout his life at a house bought by his parents in 1817. This small hamlet fifteen kilometres west of Paris was one of the artist’s greatest sources of inspiration right up to the end of his life, as we can see by the late date on this canvas, executed just a year before his death.
Corot’s Ville d’Avray paintings are intimately associated with plein air and the thorough observation of nature, although sketches first made outdoors were frequently finished back in the studio with the aid of the artist's memory or imagination. There is spontaneity in the brushwork here that suggests it was produced on location, although it is likely that the positioning of the figures may be the result of a later need to organise the composition. The leaves on the trees, executed with fleeting brushstrokes that give a vibrant effect, are an example of the artist’s singular style.


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