Lot 19
  • 19

Camille Pissarro

1,400,000 - 1,800,000 USD
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  • Camille Pissarro
  • La Gardeuse de chèvre
  • Signed C. Pissarro and dated 81 (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 32 by 25 3/4 in.
  • 81.3 by 65.4 cm


Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the artist on June 13, 1881)

Durand-Ruel, New York (acquired from the above)

Martin A. Ryerson, Chicago (acquired from the above on December 29, 1891)

Durand-Ruel, New York (acquired from the above on July 29, 1902)

Hugo Reisinger, New York (acquired from the above on January 26, 1907 and sold: American Arts Association, New York, January 18-19, 1916, lot 74)

Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, New York (acquired at the above sale)

Adaline Havemeyer Frelinghuysen, Morristown (by descent from the above in 1929)

H.O.H. Frelinghuysen (by descent from the above)

By descent from the above


Paris, 251, Rue Saint-Honoré [Salons du Panorama de Reichshoffen], Septième Exposition des artistes indépendants, 1882, no. 120

Paris, 9, Boulevard de la Madeleine, Oeuvres de C. Pissarro, 1883, no. 56

Boston, Art Department, American International Exhibition of Foreign Products, Arts and Manufactures, 1883, no. 50

London, Dudley Gallery, 1884

Boston, Chase's Gallery, Paintings by the Impressionists of Paris: Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, 1891, no. 1

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Paintings by Camille Pissarro, 1903, no. 9

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Paintings by Pissarro, 1906

Newark, The Newark Museum, Owned in New Jersey, 1956

Morristown, McCullock Hall, Famous Paintings from Private Collections, no. 33

New York, Wildenstein, C. Pissarro, 1965, no. 41

Newark, The Newark Museum, New Jersey Collects, 1970, no. 60

New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection, 1993, no. 429, illustrated in color pl. 265

Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, Camille Pissarro and Impressionism, 1999-2000, no. 38

New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994 (on loan from 1994 to 2009)


Weekly Tribune Review, New York, February 3, 1906

American Art News, New York, February 3, 1906

Vogue,  New York, February 8, 1906

Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro & Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro. Son Art – Son oeuvre, vol. I, Paris, 1939, no. 546, catalogued p. 158; vol. II, no. 546, illustrated pl. 112 (titled La Femme a la chèvre)

Joachim Pissarro, Camille Pissarro, 1993, illustrated in color pl. 204

Ruth Berson, The New Painting: Impressionism (1874-86), vol. II, San Francisco, 1996, no. VII-120, listed p. 395

Marie-José Pellé, 'Vert Pissarro...'. Impressions de Normandie et d'ailleurs, Luneray, 2000, p. 84

Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro, Catalogue critique des peintures, vol. II, Paris, 2005, no. 656, illustrated in color p. 438


This work is in good condition. Original canvas. Apart from an expertly repaired tear in the upper-half of the canvas which is visible under ultra-violet light, this work is in good condition.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Portrayals of local peasant life capture the rural charm of Pontoise, where Pissarro lived from 1866 until 1883.   This location allowed Pissarro 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 in the fields and particularly the melding of the urban, suburban and rural worlds. 

Joachim Pissarro has written the following about Pissarro's depictions of rural life in Pontoise: "Pissarro's figures [....] do not purport to convey an exact account of what female and male peasants actually looked like in northern France during the last two decades of the nineteenth century.  While they are not allegories, neither are they sociological documents.  From this difficulty, which is both essential and highly characteristic of Pissarro's figure paintings - i.e., the fact that they are resistant to conveying any message and to being "read" as sociological or anthropological witnesses of the raw facts – the manifold interpretations of Camille Pissarro's work have arisen" (J. Pissarro, op. cit., 1993, p. 157).

The present work may be seen as a prime example of his Pontoise production.  The subject matter is reminiscent of Millet's idyllic scenes of French peasant life.  But unlike Millet's faceless laborers, Pissarro's subject is much more intimately depicted, affording us a more informal look into the lives of the humble people of the region.  In La Gardeuse de chèvre, we see the gestures of the young woman as she lures the goat with a sprig of leaves.  Pissarro's focus here is entirely on the figure, excluding the finer details of the landscape from the composition and instead rendering the scene with characteristic Impressionist flare.

Richard Brettell has noted, "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" (R. Brettell, op. cit., p. 134).

Please note that this work has been requested for the forthcoming exhibition Pissarro's People to be held at the De Young Museum in San Francisco and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown during the spring and summer of 2011.