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by [?]

Turner made over a million dollars by the work of his hands (reinforced by head and heart); and left a discard of nineteen thousand sketches to the British Nation. Was ever such an example of concentration, energy and industry known in the history of art? Corot, six feet one, weight two hundred, ruddy, simple, guileless, singing softly to himself as he walked, in peasant blouse, and sabot-shod, used to come up to Paris, his birthplace, two or three times a year, and the gamins would follow him on the streets, making remarks irrelevant and comments uncomplimentary, just as they might follow old Joshua Whitcomb on Broadway in New York.

British grandees often dress like farmers, for pride may manifest itself in simplicity, but the disinterested pose of Camille Corot, if pose it was, fitted him as the feathers fit a wild duck. If pose is natural it surely is not pose: and Corot, the simplest man in the world, was regarded by the many as a man of mannerisms. His work was so quiet and modest that the art world refused to regard it seriously. Corot was as unpretentious as Walt Whitman and just as free from vanity.

During the War of the Rebellion, Whitman bankrupted himself in purse and body by caring for the stricken soldiers. At the siege of Paris, Corot could have kept outside the barriers, but safety for himself he would not accept. He remained in the city, refused every comfort that he could not divide with others, spent all the money he had in caring for the wounded, nursed the sick by night and day, listened to the confessions of the dying, and closed the eyes of the dead. To everybody, especially the simple folk, the plain, the unpretentious, the unknown, he was “Papa Corot,” and everywhere did the stalwart old man of seventy-five carry hope, good-cheer and a courage that never faltered.

Corot, like Whitman, had the happiness to have no history.

Corot used paint just as if no one had ever painted before, and Whitman wrote as if he were the first man who had ever expressed himself in verse–precedent stood for naught. Each had all the time there was; they were never in a hurry; they loafed and invited their souls; they loved all women so well that they never could make choice of one; both were ridiculed and hooted and misunderstood; recognition came to neither until they were about to depart; and yet in spite of the continual rejection of their work, and the stupidity that would not see, and the ribaldry of those who could not comprehend, they continued serenely on their way, unruffled, kind– making no apologies nor explanations–unresentful, with malice toward none, and charity for all.

The world is still divided as to whether Walt Whitman was simply a coarse and careless writer, without either skill, style or insight; or one with such a subtle, spiritual vision, such a penetration into the heart of things, that few comparatively can follow him.

During forty years of Corot’s career the critics said, when they deigned to mention Corot at all, “There are two worlds, God’s World and Corot’s World.” He was regarded as a harmless lunatic, who saw things differently from others, and so they indulged him, and at the Salon hung his pictures in the “Catacombs” with many a sly joke at his expense. The expression, “Corot Nature,” is with us yet.

But now the idea has gradually gained ground that Camille Corot looked for beauty and found it–that he painted what he saw, and that he saw things that the average man, through incapacity, never sees at all. Science has taught us that there are sounds so subtle that our coarse senses can not recognize them, and there are thousands of tints, combinations and variations in color that the unaided or uneducated eye can not detect.

If Corot saw more than we, why denounce Corot? And so Corot has gradually and very slowly come into recognition as one who had power plus–it was we who were weak, we who were faulty, not he. The stones that were cast at him have been gathered up and cemented into a monument to his memory.