1830-1903 | French
Bords de l’Oise, environs de Pontoise
Signed and dated "C. Pissarro 1872" (lower right)
Oil on canvas
An exceptional example of early Impressionism, Bords de l’Oise, environs de Pontoise represents the dedication of Camille Pissarro to capturing modern France on canvas. The oil depicts the river l’Oise in Pontoise, a place closely associated with the painter, who settled there in 1872. When he arrived, the town was flourishing under industrialization. From the rural tranquility of the surrounding countryside to the bustling activity of the busy river, the town presented Pissarro with a wealth of possible subjects.
In the present work, the Impressionist reveals the inherent modernity of the landscape. The two barges, one moored in the foreground and the other mid-river, are placed against a backdrop in which the distinctive silhouette of a factory chimney dominates the horizon. His interest in depicting the changing face of France is not only at the heart of this work but was also an important tenant of early Impressionism. Pissarro was evidently intrigued by the idea of showing industrial features within a more rural setting, and he returned to paint a number of similar scenes the following year.
Painted early in his career in 1872, Bords de l’Oise, environs de Pontoise also represents his early experimentations with the Impressionist style. It is a celebration of the nuances of atmosphere, weather and light, as Pissarro skillfully juxtaposes the solidity of the boats against a broad sweep of sky that is reflected in the river beneath. Painted with small, deft brushstrokes, Bords de l’Oise, environs de Pontoise perfectly captures the quiet industry of this riverside scene.
Born in St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies, Pissarro was sent to school in Paris at the age of 11, where he first displayed a talent for drawing. In 1855, having convinced his parents of his determination to pursue a career as an artist rather than work in the family shipping business, he returned to Paris where he studied at the Académie Suisse alongside Claude Monet. At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Pissarro moved to England. With Monet, he painted a series of landscapes around South-East London and studied English landscape painters in the museums. When he returned home to Louveciennes a year later, Camille discovered that all but 40 of the 1500 paintings he had left there - almost 20 years of work - had been vandalized.
In 1872, Camille settled in Pontoise where he remained for the next 10 years, gathering a close circle of friends around him. Gauguin was among the many artists to visit him there, and Cézanne, who lived nearby, came for long periods to work and learn. In 1874, Pissarro participated in the first Impressionist exhibition and became the only painter to exhibit in all eight of their shows. His revolutionary approach to painting and thought-provoking compositions had a profound effect on his contemporaries and the entire future of modern art. Today, his work can be found in many of the most important museums and private collections throughout the world.
Canvas: 12 3/4" high x 16 1/8" wide
Frame: 21 1/4" high x 24 1/4" wide
Pissarro (1830-1903), Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1956, no. 11
Pissarro, Paris, 1924, by A. Tabarant, pl. 13
Camille Pissarro Son Art-Son Oeuvre, Paris, 1939, by L-R. Pissarro & L. Venturi, vol. I, catalogued no. 161, p. 102; vol. II, no. 161, pl. 32
Pissarro, Bern, 1950, by G. Jedlicka, pl. 8
Pissarro, Lausanne, 1950, by T. Natanson, pl. 8
Pissarro and Pontoise: The Painter in a Landscape, 1990, by R. Brettell, referenced on p. 158
Pissarro, Catalogue Critique des Peintures, vol. II, Paris 2005, by J. Pissarro and C. Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, p. 218, no. 274 (illustrated)
Hector Brame, Paris
Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, acquired from the above, 24 October 1921
Terves, acquired from the above, 1 March 1924
Bruno Stahl, Berlin, placed in storage at the Wildenstein Gallery, Paris
Confiscated by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) in occupied Paris and transferred to the Jeu de Paume, Paris
Lager Peter, Altaussee, Austria, 15 January 1943
Central Collecting Point, Munich, 20 June 1945 (inv. no. 212/21)
Repatriated to France on 18 April 1946
Restituted to Georges Wildenstein on 21 March 1947 and returned to Bruno Stahl
Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York, acquired from the above, January 1949
Jacques Guerlain, Paris, 1951
Private collection, France
Private collection, USA