Georges Manzana Pissarro
1871-1961 | French
Bretonne à la vache
(Breton Woman with Cow)
Signed, dated and inscribed “Manzana 1929 Pissarro / Pont Aven” (lower left)
Oil on panel
Vivid color defines this Post-Impressionist work by the great Georges Manzana Pissarro. The third child of the Impressionist Camille Pissarro, Manzana’s unique style reveals both the influence of his father and his own distinctive interpretation of Post-Impressionism, particularly the work of Paul Gauguin. The oil captures a woman in the traditional costume of Brittany, a region of north-west France where Manzana visited often. He was drawn time and time again to Brittany’s traditional costumes, which also connects to his interest in decorative art.
The influence of Paul Gauguin, an artist who was close to Manzana’s father, is clearly seen in Bretonne à la vache, as well as in Manzana’s decorative work. Before moving to Tahiti, Gauguin had founded the Pont-Aven school in Brittany, which was likely the reason that Manzana first visited the region. This oil, completed in 1929, represents the very best of his output from the period. The darkness of the cow is accentuated but not overpowered by the woman in the foreground, who is dressed in the traditional colorful dress of Brittany.
Born in 1871, Manzana studied with his father Camille from an early age and spent his formative years learning from some of the most important artists of the Impressionist movement, including Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne. He adopted the name Manzana in 1894 after the maiden name of his maternal grandmother, though he resumed using his family name after his father died in 1910. Subjected to rich and diverse influences, Manzana became a versatile artist, working with oil, pastel and watercolor as well as etchings, lithography and stencils. He exhibited his works at the Salon d'Automne and the Salon des Indépendants, as well as Durand Ruel and Druet galleries in Paris in the early 1900s.
In 1906 his work began to evolve, and he began experimenting with the decorative arts movement, creating tapestries, glassware, furniture, ceramics and metal work. It was the 1914 exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris that dramatically boosted his career — he exhibited 311 works including tapestries, carpets, furniture, glassware, decorative paintings, etchings and lithographs. The subsequent years were filled with bright ideas, gilded costumes and a glittering lifestyle as Manzana navigated the 1920s and 30s between Les Andelys and Paris, spending many summers in Brittany. The last years of his life were spent in Menton with his son Félix who was also an accomplished artist. There, Manzana returned to the Impressionist tradition of his early years, painting the serene landscapes surrounding him.
Panel: 21 1/8" high x 25 1 /2" wide
Frame: 30 3/4" high x 35" wide