This work will be included in the forthcoming critical catalogue of pastels and gouaches of Camille Pissarro of Camille Pissarro being prepared by Joachim Pissarro and Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute.
Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris
Private Collection (sold: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 29, 1901, lot 55)
Feu M. Leclanché (sold: Paris, November 6, 1924, lot 65)
Galerie F. Gerard, Paris
Sam Salz, Paris and New York
Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, New York and Beverly Hills (by 1955)
Hilda Hatfield (Mrs. David Loew), Beverly Hills (acquired from the above and until 2006)
Executed in 1882, Paysanne rattachant sa marmotte depicts an everyday scene of a local peasant from the town of Pontoise, where Pissarro lived from 1866 until 1883. In deciding to move to Pontoise, the artist was partly guided by a desire to separate himself from the influence of his predecessors, the established French landscape painters, and to depict an environment previously scarcely recorded by other masters. Located some twenty-five miles northwest of Paris, Pontoise was built on a hilltop, with the river Oise passing through it, elements which made it a highly picturesque environment in which to paint en plein-air. The town’s economy included agriculture as well as industry, and offered Pissarro a wide range of subjects, from crowded semi-urban genre scenes, views of roads and factories, to farmers working on the fields and particularly the melding of the urban, suburban and rural worlds.
The present work may be seen as a prime example of this study, as it depicts a humbly dressed peasant woman leisurely strolling through the lush meadows of Pontoise on the outskirts of the village. The subject matter is reminiscent of Millet who presented peasants working the land. However, unlike Millet who presented faceless laborers, Pissarro presents us with intimate, casual portraits of the individuals he observed throughout Pontoise. In Paysanne rattachant sa marmotte, the young woman is harmoniously integrated into her natural setting through the style of execution. A sense of spontaneity and movement pervades the composition with the use of the fleeting brushstrokes in the lower right quadrant and the angle from which Pissarro renders the image.
“In the figure paintings of 1879-83, Pissarro enlarged the figures so that they are no longer staffage figures. He allows them instead to dominate their surroundings. He contorts their limbs in active, even distracting poses; he averts their gazes so as to deny psychological interaction with the viewer; he distorts the conventional relationship between the ground plane and the figure as Degas was doing at the same time, tilting the ground plane forward and pushing it around the figure so that the viewer seems most often to be looking down on the peasant” (Richard Brettell, Pissarro and Pontoise: the Painter in a Landscape, Yale, 1990, p. 134).
Fig. 1, Camille Pissarro, Paysanne dans un champ, 1882, oil on canvas, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires
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