AUCTION UPDATE: Restituted masterpiece by Camille Pissarro, Boulevard Montmartre, Matinee de Printemps sells For £19.9/$32.1 million – almost 5 times the previous auction record.

A postcard showing the Boulevard Montmartre seen from the Grand Hôtel de la Russie.

LONDON - The scope and variety of the Boulevard Montmartre series – of which Boulevard Montmartre, matinée de printemps is an exquisite example – reveal Pissarro’s systematic exploration of a series of views of the same subject. For an artist who throughout his earlier career was primarily celebrated as a painter of rural life rather than the urban environment, the Boulevard Montmartre series confirms his position as the preeminent painter of the city.

Property from the Collection of Max Silberberg, Camille Pissarro’s Boulevard Montmartre, matinée de printemps, 1897. Estimate £7,000,000–10,000,000.

Boulevard Montmartre, matinée de printemps was once in the collection of Max Silberberg (1878–1942), an industrialist based in Breslau and the owner of one of the finest pre-war collections of 19th and 20th century art in Germany. Alongside examples of French Impressionism by Manet, Monet, Renoir and Sisley, Silberberg also collected masterpieces of Realism and Post-Impressionism including works by Delacroix and Courbet, together with paintings by Cézanne and van Gogh. In the 1930s Silberberg was forced by the Nazi authorities to consign most of his collection, including this work, to a series of auctions. Boulevard Montmartre, matinée de printemps was subsequently acquired by John and Frances L. Loeb, supporters of Jewish and cultural charitable organisations. In 1985, the Loebs promised the painting to The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, in honour of its founder Teddy Kollek on the occasion of its 20th Anniversary, and bequeathed it to The Israel Museum in 1997 through the American Friends of The Israel Museum. In 2000 the museum returned the work to the heir of Max Silberberg, who – as a gesture of appreciation for the museum’s exemplary efforts on her behalf – allowed it to remain on public display until her death in 2013.