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Camille Pissarro (1830 - 1903)

Paysanne Rêveuse Assise, Soleil Couchant

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Oil on canvas
81 x 65 cm (31 ⁷/₈ x 25 ⁵/₈ inches)
Signed and dated lower left, C. Pissarro 1892
Executed in 1891-1892

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  • Provenance

    The Artist's estate
    Lucien Pissarro, London, by descent from the above, by 1904
    Orovida Pissarro, London, by descent from the above
    O'Hana Gallery, London
    Private collection, Greece & London, by circa 1954
    Alan Bond, Sydney, by circa 1989
    Falcone Gallery, Paris
    Collection B.C.P. (Banque Commerciale Privée), Paris
    Briest, Paris, 28th November 1996
    Private collection, London, acquired at the above sale

  • Exhibitions

    Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Camille Pissarro, January - February 1892, no. 48
    Paris, Galerie André Weil, Pissarro, June 1950, no. 26, n.p.
    London, O'Hana Gallery, Three Generations of Pissarros, 1830-1954, April - May 1954, no. 14, n.p.
    Canberra, Australian National Gallery, Irises and Five Masterpieces: Alan Bond Collection, June - July 1989, n.p. (illustrated n.p.); this exhibition later travelled to Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, July 1989; Brisbane, Queensland Art Gallery, July - August 1989; Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, August 1989; and Perth, Art Gallery of Western Australia, August - September 1989
    London, Thomas Gibson Fine Art, 19th & 20th Century Masters, May - July 1990, p. 16 (illustrated p. 17)
    Paris, Falcone Gallery, Impressionist and Modern Masters, Autumn 1993.
    Tokyo, Isetan Museum of Art, Pissarro: Camille Pissarro & The Pissarro Family, March - April 1998, no. 52, pp. 82 & 161 (illustrated p. 82); this exhibition later travelled to Osaka, Daimaru Museum, April - May 1998; Fukuoka, Mitsukoshi Gallery, May - June 1998; Mie, Mie Prefectural Museum, June - July 1998; and Yamaguchi, Prefectural Museum of Art, August 1998
    Fort Lauderdale, Museum of Art, Impressionism to the Present: Camille Pissarro and His Descendants, January - April 2000, no. 45, p. 74 (illustrated)
    London, Stern Pissarro Gallery, Camille Pissarro, 1830-1903: St Thomas to Paris, November - December 2003, no. 35, n.p. (illustrated n.p.)

  • Literature

    G. Lecomte, M. Camille Pissarro, in Art et critique, Paris, 6th February 1892, p. 16
    G. Geffroy, Chronique Artistique: L'Exposition de Camille Pissarro, in La Justice, no. 4402, Paris, 2nd February 1892, p. 1
    Joleaud-Barral, Un Maître Impressionniste, in La Justice, no. 4402, Paris, 2nd February 1892, p. 2
    A. Alexandre, Chroniques d'Aujourd'hui: Camille Pissarro, in Paris, 3rd February 1892, p. 2
    A. Paulet, Les Petits Salons: Camille Pissarro, in Le Jour, Paris, 5th February 1892, p. 2
    F. Fénéon, Exposition Camille Pissarro, in L'Art moderne, Brussels, 14th February 1892, p. 55
    G.A. Aurier, Choses d'Art, in Mercure de France, no. 27, Paris, March 1892, p. 283
    C. Saunier, L'Art Nouveau: Camille Pissarro, in La Revue indépendante, vol. XXIII, no. 66, Paris, April 1892, p. 37
    C. Kunstler, Un Fondateur de l'Impressionnisme, Camille Pissarro. Des Lettres Iédites de Camille Pissarro à Octave Mirbeau (1891-1892) et à Lucien Pissarro (1898-1899), in La Revue de l'Art, Ancien et Moderne, vol. LVII, Paris, January - May 1930, p. 186
    L.R. Pissarro & L. Venturi, Camille Pissarro, Son Art, Son Oeuvre, vol. I, Paris, 1939, no. 824, p. 196 (illustrated vol. II, pl. 169)
    J. House, Camille Pissarro's Seated Peasant Woman: The Rhetoric of Inexpressiveness, in Essays in Honor of Paul Mellon, Collector and Benefactor, Washington, D.C., 1986, pp. 165-166 (illustrated fig. 6, p. 165)
    J. House, Camille Pissarro's Idea of Unity, in Studies on Camille Pissarro, London, 1986, p. 30 (illustrated fig. 19, p. 24)
    J. Bailly-Herzberg, Correspondance de Camille Pissarro, vol. III, 1891-1894, Paris, 1988, nos. 706, 713, 745, 750 & 776, pp. 142, 149, 189, 193 & 220
    J. Pissarro, Camille Pissarro, London, 1993, pp. 160, 163 & 165 (illustrated fig. 165, p. 162)
    S. Roffo, Camille Pissarro, Paris, 1994, p. 27
    T.J. Clark, Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism, New Haven & London, 1999, pp. 59 & 133 (illustrated fig. 24, p. 59)
    J. Pissarro & C. Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro, Catalogue Critique des Peintures, vol. III, Paris, 2005, no. 914, pp. 601-602 (illustrated p. 601)

Artist's Biography

Camille Pissarro was one of the most influential members of the French Impressionist movement and the only artist to participate in all eight Impressionist exhibitions.

Born 10th July 1830 on the island of Saint Thomas in the Danish West Indies, Camille was the son of Frédéric and Rachel Pissarro. At the age of twelve, he went to school in Paris, where he displayed a penchant for drawing. He returned again to Paris in 1855, having convinced his parents to pursue a career as an artist rather than work in the family import/export business. Camille studied at the Académie Suisse alongside Claude Monet, and, during this time, he met Paul Cézanne, Édouard Manet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

In 1869, Camille settled in Louveciennes. The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 prompted him to move to England, and, with Monet, Camille painted a series of landscapes around Norwood and Crystal Palace, whilst studying English landscape painting in the museums.

Upon returning a year later at the end of the War to Louveciennes, Camille discovered that his studio was looted by Prussian soldiers and around 500 of his works destroyed or disappeared. In fact, only around 180 of the approximately 700 works he would have painted from 1855, the year he began painting in oil until 1870, remained undamaged as it is recorded in the 2006 catalogue raisonné.

Camille settled in Pontoise in the summer of 1871, remaining there and gathering a close circle of friends around him for the next ten years. He reestablished relationships with Cézanne, Manet, Monet, Renoir and Degas, expressing his desire to create an alternative to the Salon, so that their group could display their own unique styles. Camille married Julie Vellay, with whom he would have seven children. Cézanne repeatedly came to stay with them, and, under Camille’s influence, he learned to study nature more patiently, even copying one of Camille’s landscapes, in order to learn his teacher’s technique.

The first Impressionist group exhibition, initiated by Monet in 1874, earned the Impressionists much criticism for their art. While mainly interested in landscape, Camille introduced people – generally peasants going about their rural occupations – and animals into his works, and they often became the focal point of the composition. It was this unsentimental and realistic approach, with the complete absence of any pretence, which seemed to stop his work from finding appreciation in the general public.

One of the few collectors who did show interest in Camille’s work was a bank employee called Paul Gauguin, who, after acquiring a small collection of Impressionist works, turned to Camille for advice on becoming a painter himself. For several years, Gauguin closely followed his mentor, and, although their friendship was fraught with disagreement and misunderstandings, Gauguin still wrote shortly before Camille’s death in 1903: “He was one of my masters, and I do not deny him”.

In the 1880s, Camille moved from Pontoise to nearby Osny, before Eragny, a small village much further from Paris. At a time when he was dissatisfied with his work, in 1885, Camille met both Paul Signac and Georges Seurat. He was fascinated by their efforts to replace the intuitive perceptive approach of the Impressionists with a “Divisionist” method, or scientific study of nature’s phenomena based on optical laws. Despite having reached his mid-fifties, Camille did not hesitate to follow the two young innovators. The following year, he passed on this new concept to Vincent Van Gogh, who had just arrived in Paris and was keen to learn of the most recent developments in art. However, after a few years, Camille felt restricted by Seurat’s theories and returned to his more spontaneous technique, whilst retaining the lightness and purity of colour acquired during his Divisionist phase.

In the last years of his life, Camille divided his time between Paris, Rouen, Le Havre and Eragny, painting several series of different aspects of these cities, with varying light and weather effects. Many of these paintings are considered amongst his best and make an apt finale to his long and prodigious career.

When Camille Pissarro died in the autumn of 1903, he had finally started to gain public recognition. Today his work can be found in many of the most important museums and collections throughout the world.

Camille Pissarro