1830-1903 | French
Paysanne nouant son foulard
(Peasant Arranging her Scarf)
Initialed "C.P." (lower right)
Pastel on paper
This intimate work by Camille Pissarro represents a period of significance for the Impressionist master. The early 1880s was a time of great experimentation for the artist, after he spent much of the preceding decade devoted to landscape painting. Shifting focus, he embarked on a series of works in a range of media dedicated to the human figure - particularly peasant women. In watercolor, gouache, pastel, and print, Pissarro captured the rural female and the minute moments of domestic life.
Depicting a peasant woman tying her scarf, Paysanne nouant son foulard displays the harmony of color and composition that typifies his work of the 1880s. Composed of a symphony of color and strokes of paint, the work exemplifies the plein air technique of Pissarro's best Impressionist canvases.
A true master of his art, no other artist successfully chronicled rural peasant life quite like Pissarro. Counted among the most respected artists of the 19th century and widely considered the father of Impressionism, Pissarro’s works experienced a surge in interest in the early 2000s. This is reflected in Pissarro’s new auction record of over $32.1 million, set at a 2014 Sotheby’s auction in London, which far surpassed his previous record of $14.6 million.
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.
Paper: 24" high x 18 1/2" wide
Frame: 27 1/4" high x 22" wide
Pissarro's People, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, June 12-October 2, 2011
Pissarro's People, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, October 22, 2011 - February 26, 2012