Two Views Of “The Storm,” Pierre Auguste Cot

27 01 2008

Pierre Auguste Cot, 1837-1883, was a French painter who studied under, among others, William-Adolphe Bouguereau. I came across a print of his work, The Storm, at a local outlet and was immediately captivated by it. The image that follows is closest to the version that I have hanging in my living room. It is worth noting that, at the time, I knew nothing about the print, neither its title nor its creator, and I mistakenly thought that it might be a representation of the Rape of Persephone.

That turned out to be wrong, obviously. I remember an entire Sunday spent scouring the Internet looking for the image, and/or information concerning it. Not an easy task, as I was (and still am) quite ignorant of such lofty phrases as Academic Classicism, and so forth. All I knew was that I loved the print, and wanted to know more about it.

As to why I love this image, I cannot put my finger directly on it. When I view the print, I am immediately drawn to the faces of the subjects. The young woman is exquisitely beautiful, and the fearful expression on her face compels me to want to reach into the painting and protect her in some manner, defend her from whatever threat is looming above and behind her.

The young man’s expression is utterly fascinating. Even as they flee (from what I did not then know; I suspected the girl’s father, having been in a few similar situations in my life) the young man continues to gaze at her with such longing, almost lascivious desire. I can well understand the young man’s feelings, as they are similar to my own as regards this beautiful young woman.

Of course, it begs the question: why did the artist depict her in such a sheer garment? There is an obvious delight (at least for me) in the tantalizingly vague presentation of this young woman’s body, but I am at a loss as to how it makes “story sense.” Did girls regularly wander around outside dressed in such flimsy attire? If so, I am Miniver Cheevy indeed, born far, far too late, because as “full figured” as this girl may be, she puts any of a thousand half-naked young women that you might see on any trip to a shopping mall utterly to shame.

It was in my online search for information about this print that I came across the following image. This one, found on Wikipedia, purports to be “a faithful photographic reproduction of an original two-dimensional work of art.” Clearly I would have to view the original painting to know for sure, but let’s for the sake of argument give Wikipedia the benefit of the doubt. If this is the original, then the above (which I own) must be some sort of reproduction, by some other artist. And frankly, I like the above version better than the purported original. The “reproduction,” if such it is, is much more dramatic. The young woman in the reproduction is far more alluring to me, and the expression on the face of the young man in the original has lost all trace of lust, passion, or desire. In the original he has more of a bemused look on his face, a little smirky grin, as if to say “Dadgum storm! Looks like I won’t be getting to know you in any biblical sense today!”

And the young woman’s faint smile (which I do not see in my reproduction) seems to reply “No, you certainly won’t. By the way, your thumb is touching my left breast.”

On a more serious note, I feel a greater sense of urgency in the reproduction. The characters seem to be straining forward. In the purported original it seems more as if the young woman is leaning into her lover, and away from me, the viewer. Finally, I just like the “atmosphere” of the reproduction better (which, I believe, adds to the dramatic tension that I referred to earlier). The original has an added warmth, obviously, and I am usually a fan of that classical sort of “spotlighting” technique, but in this instance I feel that it detracts from my study of the characters that are being portrayed. It does, however, seem to make the approaching storm more of a character in the painting, which I do not see in the reproduction above.

I would be interested in comments regarding these two views…which version do you like better (if you like either one), and why?




53 responses

12 03 2008

I am interested in information about the original painting of The Storm. I have a friend who is 95 years old, whose father owned an original painting of The Storm in the 1920’s and she is very interested in getting information on the original, how many were painted, if anyone knows the whereabouts of them or their value.


9 03 2013

Hi Kelly, I have a painting, an oil. There apparently were three of these painted by Pierre-auguste cot, as I was told by the metropolitan art museum in new York, where the first original is hung. I have one other an the third is unknown. Sara

9 08 2015

I have one; although I am not sure if it an original. How could I find out?

14 04 2008

The Storm is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

20 04 2008
Max Chang

I remember there are 3 original versions (L, M and Small) of ‘The Storm’. Maybe that’s why we see different images now. The large version was first created in 1880, and other versions were created later.

The large version, which I believe is the copy you have, is owned by the NY MET now and it can be viewed by appointment.

The small version is owned by a collector in my home country (Taiwan). I was lucky enough to view both large and small versions in person.

Kelly, if your friend’s father did own one of the original paintings, then it has to be the small or median version. The large one had always been owned by the Wolfe family and was donated to the MET later.

11 07 2010

I was interested to hear that there is actually more than one version of The Storm by P.A Cot. My grandfather was given an oil on canvas of The Storm, as a gift back in the 30’s or 40’s, from an old Estate. Which Estate I do not know. Before he passed away he gave it to my mother.
You say there are three sizes, do you happen to know the demensions of the medium and small versions?
I’d like to know if all of the originals are accounted for? Do you have any suggestions as to how I would go about finding out the details and where to take this to, to see if it’s an original?

14 02 2016

I purchased the Storm, and the Spring from a man who was having a yard sale. He states the woman who sold these art pieces to him at an estate sale was 75 or 85 years old and had them in her house since she was a little girl… Where do I find out if these are authentic? Advise if you can.

2 09 2008

I fell in love with this painting when I went to the MET and saw it and its comapanion, Springtime, next to each other (not by appointment). I regret now not taking a picture so I could compare it. I also came online to look for information and copies to print out, and found both versions, as well as this blog. I almost chose the brighter version, because I saw it as merely a better image, but when I read this post, I realized I agree. The first version is more intense in their gazes. I definitely prefer the first.

23 03 2013
Jo Strachan


15 10 2015

Well my friend u r in luck I have the middle size painting of the storm and if u want it we can talk a price .

5 10 2008

I have the painting of “The Storm” is about over 100 years old. I need to know who is the artist’s name A.D. Kenyon.

4 11 2008

I have a signed print of “The Storm” which has to be over 75 years old. How valuable is it?

16 12 2008

I recently bought the ‘reproduction’ version of ‘The Storm’ and I agree this version has some quality the second one lacks.

The girl’s eyes and the expression in them. I dont see fear but a kinda anger or something like ‘well! catch me if u can’ induced by the security of the guy’s arm? The young man’s eye expressing a sense of surrender. As if his whole world is jus the girl. A sense of adoration. May be its jus a personal choice, I find the face of the girl in the first pic more attractive than the second.


12 01 2009

I saw this picture a year and a half ago, when I was in a posters shop in Jerusalem, Israel, looking for posters for my apartment. I imediately fell in love with the picture, mostly because both characters were so beautiful and perfectly shaped. I was more interested with the amazing boy, but of courae the woman is beautiful as well. By the way, both figures were based on a young boy model named Antonio corsi.

I was surprised to discover this picture 2 weeks ago at the MET museum in New York. It was like meeting an old friend. However, I must admit that the picture I fell in love with in the past was darker then the one I saw in the MET. I think I liked the version you liked, while the MET has the more “lighted” version.

21 03 2009

The Wikipedia picture is not the original. I saw the original at the Met 2 weeks ago, and without any prior knowledge of this work, I was stunned immediately by it. Of course, the Met isn’t exactly lacking in masterpieces, but this particular painting really touched a chord with me…you have to see it in person. There is no digital photo I know of that has managed to capture the piercing gaze of the young girl, or the beautiful allure of her skin and body.

Truly a masterpiece.

25 01 2011
Rick taylor

I no of no digital photo.– But I saw the original at the Met.. A friend of mine is a painter and she painted the large version on the pic — oil on canvas and it is fantstic!! I was offered 10k for it, but no way–


15 08 2009

I love this painting as well, although I believe Wiki got the reproduction and original backwards. I went to the MET recently, fell in love with this painting, and bought a little postcard reproduction in the giftshop. Now i’m gonna go on ahead and assume that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is legit on this postcard, and it matches the first first picture you posted not the second. I agree that the wiki one just doesn’t have the same whatever it is that makes The Storm so fascinating, and the couples’ expressions bother me in the wiki pic.

25 08 2009

The artist is Pierre Auguste Cot. I took several pictures of this picture during a recent visit to the Met. Your print is closer to the shading of the original than the Wiki version. I can email you a photo of the original if you like. Luckily the Met lets you take pictures. It’s lovely – isn’t it? I can also email you my photo of the description of the paint the Met had beside it – it might provide you with some insight.

1 09 2009

Scott I would love to see the photos you have. I realize that I am rather late in a response here…but if you happen back by, my email address is thank you for reading!

27 08 2009

Did Cot do small paintings to sell larger commissioned ones?

16 09 2009

I strongly agree with you in that the painting you have is far more interesting and eye catching. Although the first glance at each, they both look identical. The male in the painting is glaring at the beautiful woman with such desire and lust. The difference in their facial expression is quite a contradiction in that he is so invovled with what he is holding (the woman), and she looks frightened and helpless but at the same time angered in some way? She’s not so involved with him as he is with her.

Simply breathtaking,,
I love it.

Reply (:

22 03 2010

what period is this from?

8 07 2010

Details from a postcard of this picture I just bought yesterday from the Met:

Oil on canvas, 92 1/4 x 61 3/4 in., 1880
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection
Bequest of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, 1887

10 07 2010

I have a lovely small reproduction of this painting and have often wondered as to it’s subject myself. I sometimes thought perhaps it was Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden of Eden, but hadn’t really thought carefully about it. Apparently, I am alone in coming up with this interpretation, so I would guess I’m incorrect.

To round out this discussion, there is a good article from the Met Journal at on the painting.

Basically, there is no definitive answer as to the subject of the painting, but many believe it is at least in part a reference to the Greek story of Daphnis and Chloe (see )

The first picture shown above is a reproduction of the original as can be seen from the article. The second is from an unknown source.

28 12 2010

15 years ago, in an antique store in Ogden Utah, I bought an old wooden framed print 9″ x 13″ that is a beautiful sepia toned lithograph of “The Storm” by Pierre August Cot. The image is the same as the one you show above and the one that is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At the base of the print it reads in very tiny letters: “By Cot property of the Metropolitan Museum of Art gravure Anderson & Lamb Co, NY Littig & Co. bklyn NY”. In larger script letters centered below, is “The Storm” You can see the impression of the lithographic stone around the print. I always thought it was probably brought West from NY during the late 1800, early 1900’ds. The frame is dark oak and looks to be original to the print. I’m wondering if others exist and the approximate value.

27 09 2011

i have one that is exactly as you are describing and am also wondering what it is worth. It was in my grandmother’s attic and appears to be quite old

31 01 2011

Can someone tell me the dimensions of all 3 original works and also the value on reproductions of each. I recently acquired what must be a replica and it is just beautiful. Should I have it restored? There are scratches and such.

18 07 2011
Justin Wolfe

I have a beautiful copy of The Storm, that is actually a postcard. It is in an approptiate frame. I love it!

14 11 2011

As usual wikipedia is wrong, that is the craziest picture I have ever seen of this work. The print you have is a lot closer to the original. If you can’t get to the European section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC here’s a link directly from their website:

Although it is absolutely nothing compared to seeing it yourself so hopefully you get a chance to go! If you like this work you would appreciate “Springtime” by P.A. Cot.

15 11 2011

Thanks for the link and for adding to the conversation, Anna. I have seen “Springtime,” I think. Isn’t it a companion piece to “The Storm?”

29 02 2012
maureen lackey

I also have an Elya Peker 85 print as well

12 03 2012
brandi okiulski

I have a oil painting on canvas of the storm and it has pierre cot’s signature. How do I find out if I actually have the 3rd painting that no one can seem to locate? Please email me at I appreciate any advice or knowledge…thanks Brandi

12 03 2012
brandi okiulski

I have an oil painting on canvas of “The Storm.” How can I find out if it is actual work. It is obviously old and has his signature. I am grateful for any advice or commentary.

13 03 2012

A friend passed away and I found what looks like a print framed. At the bottom left it has “P + A + Cot 1880”
On the back has a label from Vanguard Studio in Beverly Hills, CA and listed as No. 3983.
Does anyone have any info on this? Thanks much!

17 05 2012

i have the original print brought it in 1961 from a gallery and on the left is P+A+COT 1880 love to know how much it is worth THE STORM

23 06 2012

I have a painting on canvas of “The Storm” by artist B. or G. Lorandi It is very old and measures 4′ by 2’8″. Do you know this artist?

23 05 2013

Hi Klara,

I am familiar with the artist G. Lorandi…there are several paintings in my family by this artisit. I’m not sure if the artist is male or female; however, I believe the artist was an art instructor in the Philadelphia area. My great aunts took lesson with him or her. I would love to know more about the artist but have not found much info. regarding him or her.

30 12 2012
Lori Lustica

Many years ago at a flea market I came across an old framed picture that captivated me from the second I saw it. I bought it immediately and have enjoyed looking at it for years. Recently, while researching something on the internet, I come to find out that the picture is called The Storm, by Pierre Auguste Cot. It measures 16×20 (w/o frame) and with sepia tones. How does one go about authenticating a lithograph vs an engraving vs a print? Any advice would be most welcomed.

1 07 2013
Judi Cahill

I was so enthralled and touched really by The Storm that, as an artist, I decided to create my own interpretation. I didn’t set out to create a bit of age on the subjects faces, but that is what happened.
I am drawn to the “impossible light” cast in this painting.
She has removed her outer garment of beautiful gold cloth to protect them from the storm (much to the boy’s delight).
I first painted the female figure nude and then added the sheer cloth.
While painting this it seemed to take on a life of its own and evolve. I was in my cabin in the mountains, painting from dawn to dark in gloomy light.
I couldn’t get the right “glow” of light to pass through the horn hanging on the boys waist. A bit frustrated I stopped painting for the night.
When I walked into the room the next morning the sun was shining on the canvas and it had exactly the “light from within” that drew me in and I saw that “impossible light” that I had been struggling with.
It made me smile and that is when I knew it was done!
After studying the original print I think that Cot created all the detailed work himself and may have had an apprentice do the simpler background and sky etc. This was common practice for artists then.
If you look closely at the styles you may see the difference in skills.
In my version I took artistic license and created a sky that I feel is more in keeping with the more detailed part of the painting. I felt that the lightening should be an important part of the sense of urgency in the faces of the figures so I created my version to reflect that moment that may have caused the expression on the girl’s face… a combination of fear and excitement caused by the unexpected storm in the sky and in her body.
I guess that is why I consider it my interpretation, although I have tried to create much of it as it was originally so that I would have that image to enjoy.
I’ve heard that the original is huge and over scale. It is a life goal to see it.
In the meanwhile I am enjoying my own original version done in acrylics.
I would love to attach my version to this post but haven’t figure out how to do so.
Judi Roberts-Billingsley-Cahill

9 08 2013
Joan Huns

I may have the third…it has been in my family over 100 years. It came to America by way of a dining room table. My grandfather was in the furniture business in England and loved this painting. It was given to him in trade for furniture. My grandfather hollowed out the leg of a table and put in the painting of The Storm. It hung in my grandparents home up until they died in the 70’s then went to my parents till 2000. Coming from a large family no one wanted the painting but I couldn’t part with it. It is 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide on velvet….(NO I don’t have a picture of Elvis next to it) For the past 13 years, it has been under a bed in my guest room. Today I met a friend for lunch and on the menu was a picture of the STORM…I asked the owner about it and she just loves the painting. I am about ready to either sell it to her cheap or give it to her unless someone can confirm that it’s worth anything…..I did send pictures to a few appraisal houses and no one dared make a comment. Was this good or bad? I don’t know but I wish I could get some help. I do know my dad also back in the 70’s took it to a few appraisers and none of them knew anything about the painting…if anyone has a clue as to how t find out more I’d love to know..
In Scottsdale

18 11 2013

As I was cleaning out some of my grandmother’s things, I found what I think is a print of the storm on a tapestry. It appears to have been signed Pierre Auguste Cot on the left hand side. Also it seems to be a picture that focuses on the boy and girl more with out much if the back ground appearing In the picture. It’s very old and in pretty rough shape. Just was needing some more information on it. Not sure if I want to spend any money restoring it.

21 01 2014

I recently purchased an very old Oil on Canvas of “The Storm” thru an old estate auction. The painting measures 32 1/8″ x 48 1/4″. The signature on the lower right corner appears to be Payne. Based on the look of the aged and fragile canvas and how it was nailed to the wooden frame, it also appears to be from the 1800’s. This painting isn’t nearly as defined as the pictures above but a beautiful piece of art. I am searching for more information on the artist and help in determining it’s value.

12 02 2014
Paul nosak

I was asked to purchase a storm p a cot 1880 3’x4′ oil very fine quality and flawless of damage. Any idea how to purchase. Was in family’s possession for 50 yrs minimum please contact me so I can forward photos to you magnification of the signature and everything

24 07 2014
Stan Williams

All of these comments are most interesting, especially that the original hangs in the Met.; I have a copy of a magazine article showing the eight foot tall original hanging in the mansion of Larry Flynt (Hustler Magazine fame) and the reason I have that magazine article is because of the thirty by fifty inch oil painting of the same that has been hanging in the entrance hall of my home for 119 years. It is my understanding that it was a housewarming present for the original owner of the home in 1895 painted by the next door neighbor, an art student. It is quite dark, as it has never been cleaned, but captures all the nuances previously noted and my imagination as well. I took it down for the first time to have a restorer quote me a repair on a small tear about ten years ago and when I hung it back on its very secure double screw anchors after deciding not to have it done, it flew off the wall across the hall (about six feet) into the opposite wall doing a great amount of damage to the frame. The spirits that occupy our home did not like me removing it even for a short time and it has not been moved since. I wonder what will happen next as we are selling our home soon. I have been fascinated with this print for many years and find so little reference to it anywhere that it was very exciting to find this post. Thank you. Stan Williams – Smithville, TX

25 10 2014
Stan Williams

p.s. – the magazine article I referred to named the print “Fleeing The Storm”.

3 12 2014
Kurt Møller

I have got The Storm and Le Printemps made as a silk gobelin. I is on a 2-wing fireplace cover. Goldframe and behind glas! Very beautiful and with a very special lighteffect. The picture changes constantly by the light in the room.
Both motives are about 45 x 70 cm. Signature:Apres P.A.Cot
Kurt Møller

20 02 2015
Christine y

I have a found a large print in a gold frame of The Storm it cost £5 and it is stunning, I love this painting and it seems that the characters are possibly from a novel by Bernard De Saint-Pierrepont 1788 titled Paul et Virginne who are the couple in th painting possibly Christine England Wigan C

24 03 2015
javier franco

les cuento tengo una pintura de la tormenta creo que es una heliografia ya que no creo se en lienzo esta , no conozco mucho pero si veo en ella la firma del artista P+A+Cot 1880 en el lado iqq abajo y la pintura se nota el relieve y un poco lo curteado de la misma se ve bien alguien me puede orientar al respecto.


24 03 2015
javier franco

se me pasola medida es un poco grande como aprox de 0.90 x 0.60 cms aprox

14 05 2015
Debra lopez

I have two his paintings which are signed and dated I am interested in knowing how much they are worth one looks like the orginal

1 09 2015
15 10 2015

Hello to the world of art it is by all means changing everyday something like the past present an future of the artist themselves .not one the same as the other as everything on this wonderful planet we grace . Now with out due delay to the ones who enjoy art in not just to have to profit from I have the middle sizepiece of the one and only storm embracing done by P+A+COT.(1880) enjoy J.P.Day

18 12 2015

Beautiful !!!! Wish I had a copy. I could look at it all day.

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