Lot 10
  • 10

Camille Pissarro

900,000 - 1,200,000 USD
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  • Camille Pissarro
  • Pommes en fleurs, temps gris, Eragny
  • Signed and dated C. Pissarro, 97 (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 23 3/4 by 28 3/4 in.
  • 60.3 by 73 cm


Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the artist on September 4, 1897)
Durand-Ruel, New York (acquired from the above on October 21, 1916)
Joseph F. Flanagan, Boston (acquired from the above on April 2, 1917 and sold: American Art Association, New York, January 14, 1920, lot 56)
John Hay Whitney (acquired at the above)


(probably) Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Exposition d'oeuvres récentes de Camille Pissarro, 1898, no. 17
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Tableaux et gouaches par Camille Pissarro, 1910, no. 52
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Camille Pissarro, 1910, no. 52
New York, Durand-Ruel Gallery, Exhibition of paintings by Pissarro, 1917, no. 15
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, The John Hay Whitney Collection, 1983, no. 19


Ludovic Rodo Pissarro and Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro son art - son oeuvre, vol. 1, Paris, 1939, p. 220, no. 1001; vol. 2, illustrated pl. 201

Catalogue Note

In the 1880s, Pissarro purchased a cottage in Eragny, a small hamlet near Gisors about two hours away from Paris by train.  Many of the landscapes he painted here depict the lush environs near his home, where for many years he often retreated to escape the stress of the city.  Like Pontoise, Eragny was an important market town, and the countryside was divided into small family-run farms that lent a picturesque appearance to the region.  In his monograph on the artist, Christoph Becker has written the following of Eragny’s influence on Pissarro’s oeuvre:  “As a refuge for an artist whose reputation was already established, Eragny served Pissarro rather as Giverny served Monet.  But while Monet created a world in his house and garden which was soon attracting painters and art dealers alike, in Eragny the family was on its own, and Pissarro used his time there – long stretches between trips to Paris, Rouen and other towns – for tireless uninterrupted work.  Many views in paintings from that time show the surrounding field and orchards with the hamlet of Bazincourt on the rise in the distance, or his garden.  And there was no season or time of day that Pissarro did not portray, indeed he would impatiently wait for certain atmospheric changes, so that he could set up his easel in the open air and return to work with palette and brush” (Christoph Becker, et. al., Camille Pissarro. Ostfidern, 1999, p. 105).

Like Jean-François Millet and the Barbizon painters, the natural beauty of the French countryside comprised the subject of many of Pissarro’s finest compositions.  In Pommes en fleurs, temps gris, Eragny, the artist has placed prominence on the tall, verdant grass and the blossoming orchard.  The peasant woman to the right of the composition appears weighed down by her basket, as she walks home before the arrival of an impending storm, indicated by the gray sky and tree branches swaying in the wind.  These atmospheric qualities, as well as the shock of red from the woman’s bonnet, align the present work with the landscapes of Corot.  From early in his career, Pissarro was drawn to the out of doors and the agrarian lifestyles of rural laborers.  He frequently referred to the work of older artists as he developed his own personal style to record this subject matter.  As noted by Joachim Pissarro, “Several artists provided examples of interesting visual data, to which Pissarro responded significantly.  Corot was perhaps the most obvious mentor:  Pissarro owned two known drawings by Corot and formally referred to himself as ‘pupil of Corot’ when he submitted works to the Salons of 1864 and 1865.  As a pupil or an observer, he also knew the work of Gustave Courbet, Charles-François Daubigny, and Antoine Chintreuil, and other Barbizon artists” (Joachim Pissarro, Camille Pissarro, New York, 1993, p. 41).

Pommes en fleurs, temps gris, Eragny reflects the compositional challenges that Pissarro embraced throughout his career as he strived to present his subject matter in new and interesting ways.  In the present work, the artist has captured the threat of inclement weather and the daily experience of country life through a variety of visual techniques.  The small, solitary human figure is positioned on the far right of the composition, so as to emphasize the vast beauty of nature which surrounds her. Pissarro’s apple trees bend and sway in the wind, their movement contrasting with the deliberate steps of the peasant woman as she makes her way home.  Unburdened and graceful, the trees dominate the picture plane.  Surrounded by thick tufts of untrammeled grass, these organic elements reflect Pissarro’s admiration for the simplicity of life in the country and the beauty of the outdoors.