| Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts (Inv. D.1954.9.1)
Date : Second half of the 19th century | Medium : Oil on panel, 26 x 43 cm
Lépine was a pupil and friend of Corot. Isolated from artistic circles, he preferred painting cities, and especially Paris with its views over the Seine and Montmartre; however, Lépine was interested in the lives of working people rather than in the academic beauty of a landscape.
This landscape shows a carpentry courtyard where work has been interrupted by snow. One lonely figure carrying a load shows just how difficult the work was.
As is also the case for Guillaumin’s pastel painting, the first mention of this work is found in the sale to Rudolf Holzapfel by Friedrich Welz on 24 November 1940 for 500 reichsmarks. He was the director of the Landesgalerie in Salzburg, as well as the director of a gallery of paintings. He was therefore both a curator and a dealer. This is why the back of this panel bears two labels demonstrating the painting’s journey from the Welz gallery to the museum: one from the “Welz Gallery - Salzburg - Vienna” and the other from the “Landesgalerie Salzburg”. Holzapfel is not very well known, but was actually a very active intermediary from whom Welz acquired more than a hundred works. Unfortunately, their origins are often unknown, as is also the case for other players in the Parisian art market under the occupation, such as Theodor Hermsen, from whom Gurlitt bought many works. It is therefore almost impossible to identify the former owners using German, French or American public archives, and therefore to consider returning them.
In 1943, Salzburg Museum’s collections were safeguarded at the St Gilgen monastery located close to the city. At the end of the war, the collections were handed over to the Americans responsible for this area of the country. On 18 April 1947, a large group of French works, which includes the Lépine, was returned to the French authorities before coming back to France.
Retained by the 4th Selection Committee on 21 December 1949 and assigned to the Louvre Museum, the painting was deposited in the Museum of Rouen by the decree of 29 January 1954.