Alice J. Kurz, Hastings-on-Hudson (by descent from the above)
Wildenstein & Co., Ltd., New York (acquired from the above in January 1952)
Acquired from the above in 1955
New York, Wildenstein & Co., Ltd., C. Pissarro, Loan Exhibition, 1965, no. 83, illustrated in the catalogue
Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Camille Pissarro: catalogue
critique des peintures, Paris 2005, Vol. III, no. 1424, illustrated p. 870
Le Louvre, matin, printemps, belongs to a series that depict a view of the Seine looking out over both right and left banks with the majestic façade of the Louvre emerging in the background. Joachim Pissarro described this view as presenting the ‘ultimate point’ for the artist’s explorations of the city, going on to write, "Looking at the two mutually exclusive banks of Paris, the artist focused on the dividing line of the city: the Seine, which separates the city physically, as well as ideologically… The oppositions in this penultimate Paris series are expressed climactically: left bank versus right bank, the bridges perpendicularly joining the two opposite banks, while breaking the flowing continuum of the downstream perspective" (J. Pissarro in The Impressionist and the City: Pissarro's Series Paintings (exhibition catalogue), Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, 1992, p. 124).
Pissarro painted this view from a flat on the Place Dauphine which he had moved into in the November of the previous year. This arrangement allowed him to return to the scene at leisure, capturing it at different times of year and in different conditions, alternating between views of the right bank and the Louvre and views that took in more of the Square du Vert-Galant and the imposing statue of Henri IV in its centre. A letter of 1902 emphasizes the necessity of such an arrangement: "Since I’ve been in Paris, unable to go out, I’ve been able to work from my window incessantly; I’ve had winter effects that charmed me in their finesse; the view of the Louvre on the Seine is an absolutely exquisite and captivating subject" (quoted in, ibid., p. xxxviii). Whereas earlier series had often focused on views of Paris that emphasized the bustle and energy of the city, in this series Pissarro creates a more contemplative atmosphere; the human figures tend to appear alone or in pairs often engaged in the act of looking out at the same view that Pissarro was painting. The result is a series of paintings which celebrate this small corner of Paris in all its many moods, from a rainy winter afternoon to the crisp, spring sunshine of the present work.
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