The Storm, 1880. Pierre-Auguste Cot. Oil on canvas. Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Bequest of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, 1887.
When Cot exhibited this painting at the Salon of 1880, critics speculated about the source of the subject. Some proposed the French novel Paul and Virginie by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (1737–1814), in which the teenage protagonists run for shelter in a rainstorm, using the heroine’s overskirt as an impromptu umbrella; others suggested the romance Daphnis and Chloe by the ancient Greek writer Longus. New York collector and Metropolitan Museum benefactor Catharine Lorillard Wolfe commissioned the work under the guidance of her cousin John Wolfe, one of Cot's principal patrons. Like the artist’s earlier Springtime, it was immensely popular and extensively reproduced.