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The Large Horseman in the Woods (Le Grand cavalier sous bois)

The cliché-verre (also called a photogenic etching or glass print) is closely associated with Corot and the painters of the French Barbizon School, who pioneered its use as an expressive medium. The technique involves drawing/scraping with a blunt tool on a piece of smoked glass or on a sheet dusted with lead white placed over a piece of black cloth, in order to see the lines. When the hand-drawn negative is exposed to a photo-sensitive sheet of paper and placed in the sun, it creates a positive print. This example is matted to show the margins of the cliché-verre, which often register random finger prints and scratches. A reversal of the artist’s signature is also common.

Corot produced more clichés-verre (a total of sixty-six) than any of his contemporaries. Two-thirds of his total print production employed this process. He used a variety of techniques, such as a stiff wire brush to achieve softer tones through a random pattern of dots called tamponnage.

Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection includes another example of Corot’s work in this medium (Eskenazi Museum of Art 63.178).

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
French, 1796–1875
The Large Horseman in the Woods (Le Grand cavalier sous bois)
ca. 1854/1911
Image: 11 1/8 x 8 13/16 in. (28.3 x 22.4 cm); sheet: 12 ¼ x 10 in. (31.1 x 24.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 75.6.1