Lot 1
  • 1

Camille Pissarro

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 USD
2,546,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Camille Pissarro
  • La Vallée de la Seine aux Damps, jardin d'Octave Mirbeau
  • Signed C. Pissarro and dated 1892 (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 25 5/8 by 36 5/8 in.
  • 65 by 92 cm


Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the artist on December 3, 1892

Jules-Emile Boivin, Paris(acquired from the above on March 29, 1893, thence by descent and sold: Christie's, London, June 20, 2006, lot 104)

Richard Green Fine Arts, Ltd., London (acquired at the above sale)

Private Collection (acquired from the above)


Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Oeuvres récentes de Camille Pissarro, 1893, no. 30

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Camille Pissarro, 1904, no. 86

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Pissarro 1830-1903, 1956


Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro & Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro. Son Art – Son oeuvre, vol. I, Paris, 1939, no. 809, catalogued p. 194; vol. II, illustrated pl. 166

Janine Bailly-Herzberg, Correspondance de Camille Pissarro, vol. III, 1891-1894, Paris, 1988, no. 818, p. 260; no. 827, p. 269; no. 828, p. 270 (no. 5)

Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Camille Pissarro, Catalogue critique des peintures, vol. III, Paris, 2005, no. 956, illustrated p. 626

Catalogue Note

Pissarro's panoramic view of the Seine valley is one of four oils completed while the artist was a guest at the home of the writer Octave Mirbeau in September 1892.   Three of the paintings from his two-week stay depict Mirbeau's lush garden in Les Damps, near Pont-de-l'Arche, but the present work captures the greater landscape in its full splendor during the last weeks of summer.  Pissarro was exceedingly pleased with the results of this artistic venture, and expressed his gratitude in a letter to Mirbeau shortly after his visit:   "You spoiled me royally during my stay at Les Damps, spoiled me far too much, and I don't know how to thank Mme Mirbeau for going to such trouble" (quoted in J. Pissarro & C. Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, op. cit., p. 624).  This was the first and last time that the artist would ever be invited to paint at Mirbeau's, as the two men had a falling-out the following summer.  

Pissarro was clearly impressed by the sumptuousness of the countryside when he painted this picture, but he does add a subtle reference to the elements of urban life that exist in this natural world.  Far in the distance trails the tell-tale plume of a steam engine, making its way through the valley en route to the city.  The Impressionists were fascinated by the changing landscape of France, especially the increasing presence of modern life in rural settings.  Pissarro was particularly concerned with this theme, and often included trains, industrial bridges and factory smoke stacks in the background of his landscapes.  As opposed to the landscape painters of the early 19th century who often excluded any signs of modernity from their depictions, Pissarro was interested in capturing the profound cultural transformation that was underway in even the most remote corners of the country.

Pissarro gave one of his depictions of the garden to his host, and sent the three other Les Damps paintings, including the present one, to Durand-Ruel for an exhibition in 1893.  Durand-Ruel sold the picture that same year to Jules-Emile Boivin, the founder of the Sommier sugar company and a friend and patron of Edgar Degas.  Boivin was one of the leading collectors of Impressionist art during his day, and this picture remained with his family for over a century.