- Camille Pissarro
- L'ÉGLISE SAINT-JACQUES À DIEPPE, MATIN, SOLEIL
- signed C. Pissarro and dated 1901 (lower right)
- oil on canvas
Dr Max Emden, Hamburg (sold: Hermann Ball-Paul Graupe, Berlin, 9th June 1931, lot 42)
Dr Alexander Lewin, Guben
In the custody of Countess Hedwig Bopp von Oberstadt, Switzerland from 1934
Stored in Amsterdam from September 1938 until June 1946
Miss Lewin (daughter of Dr Alexander Lewin), New York (shipped to her from Amsterdam on 28th June 1946)
Sale: Christie's, New York, 15th November 1988, lot 25
Private Collection, New York (purchased at the above sale. Sold: Sotheby's, New York, 8th May 2002, lot 18)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Paris, Galerie Manzi-Joyant, Exposition retrospective d'œuvres de Camille Pissarro, 1914, no. 21
Paris, Galerie Nunès et Fiquet, Exposition de la Collection de Madame Veuve C. Pissarro, 1921, no. 7
Dallas, Museum of Art & Philadelphia, Museum of Art, The Impressionist and the City: Pissarro's Series Paintings, 1992-93, no. 130, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Charles Kunstler, 'Camille Pissarro', in La Renaissance de l'art français, Paris, December 1928, illustrated p. 505
Maurice Monda, 'Revue des ventes de décembre', in Le Figaro Artistique, Paris, 10th January 1929, illustrated p. 221
Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro & Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro, son art - son œuvre, Paris, 1939, vol. I, no. 1193, catalogued p. 246; vol. II, no. 1193, illustrated pl. 235
Dagmar E. Kronenberger, Die Kathedrale als Serienmotiv. Motivkundliche Studien zu einem Bildthema in der Malerei des französischen Impressionismus, Frankfurt, 1996, fig. 27, illustrated p. 222
Ulrich Luckhardt & Uwe M. Schneede (ed.), Private Schätze. Über das Sammeln von Kunst in Hamburg bis 1933, Hamburg, 2001, no. 27, illustrated p. 222
Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro. Catalogue critique des peintures, Paris, 2005, vol. III, no. 1385, illustrated in colour p. 850
L'Eglise Saint-Jacques à Dieppe, matin, soleil is a magnificent example of Pissarro's depictions of urban life, a theme that alternated with rural landscapes throughout his career. The main focus of this work is the imposing Gothic church of Saint-Jacques, located on the bustling Place Duquesne in the town of Dieppe (fig. 1). Pissarro spent the summer of 1901 in Dieppe, where he painted nine views of the church and the Place Duquesne as seen from the window of his room at the Hôtel du Commerce. Four of these canvases depict the vibrant open-air market of the square, while others, including the present work, focus on the majestic façade of the church. Three of the works from this series are now in major museums: Musée d'Orsay, Paris (fig. 3); The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (fig. 4) and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia.
Richard Brettell and Joachim Pissarro wrote about this group of works: 'This small series of nine paintings of the church is reminiscent of Monet's series of Rouen cathedral [fig. 2], as well as of Pissarro's small group of paintings of the Rue de l'Epicerie, Rouen, of 1898. However, unlike Monet's series, Pissarro's examined several sets of contrasts [...] One of the main oppositions explored is that established between the church building and the people around it. The church is seen in its human context, a context that occasionally overwhelms it, as in the market scenes [...]. The bustling crowd, assembled on market days, is temporary; on other days the church is seen almost in isolation, with only a few, interspersed figures present (The Church of Saint-Jacques, Dieppe: Morning, Sun [the present work], The Church of Saint-Jacques, Dieppe [fig. 2]). The spiritual, the eternal, the greyness of stone are offset by movement, noise, garish colours, market sheds; or, on the contrary, the church appears daunting, a huge character on a grotesquely empty stage, counterbalanced by only a few lost figures and the "picturesque houses"' (R. Brettell & J. Pissarro, The Impressionist and the City: Pissarro's Series Paintings (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 171).
The church of Saint-Jacques, which was first constructed in the twelfth century and continuously restored and expanded until the nineteenth century, was one of the most important landmarks in the port town of Dieppe. Situated in the central market square, its extravagant façade and ornate masonry served as a marker of the wealth and prosperity of the town during the Renaissance. Pissarro was impressed by the grandeur of the church, and here he captured the architectural splendour of this structure, with its flying buttresses, ribbed vaults and rhythmic arches glistening in the morning sunlight. The 1899 issue of Baedeker's popular travel guide describes the church just as Pissarro would depict it two years later: 'The church of St. Jacques [...] is an interesting florid Gothic edifice, dating from the 12th to the 16th century and possessing all that lace-like beauty of detail and elaborate finish, which charms in spite of soberer reason that tell us it is not in stone that such vagaries should be attempted. The 14th century portal is flanked with turrets, adorned with statues in niches; the west tower dates from the 16th century' (Karl Baedeker, Northern France, Leipzig, 1899, p. 40).
The window of the room Pissarro occupied in Dieppe offered him a view of a large portion of the church building and of a winding street to the right. As the artist described in a letter to his son Lucien, written on 19th July 1901: 'I am going to have a window that looks out over the market. [...] to the left, I have the portal of the church of Saint-Jacques and quite picturesque towers and houses' (quoted in ibid., p. 171). In the present composition, he depicted the north façade of the church, with the portal facing west. With the blue shadows cast by the western façade, Pissarro has accurately portrayed the rich nuances and subtleties of the clear morning light. Like his many cityscapes depicting the grand boulevards of Paris, L'Eglise Saint-Jacques à Dieppe, matin, soleil is characterised by a distinct sense of energy and movement. The richness and rhythmic quality of the church architecture, the colourful and picturesque town houses and the people dispersed around the square all combine into a beautifully vibrant, dynamic composition.
Fig. 1, A view of Dieppe with the church of Saint-Jacques
Fig. 2, Claude Monet, Cathédrale de Rouen, effet de soleil, 1893, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Fig. 3, Camille Pissarro, L'Eglise Saint-Jacques à Dieppe, soleil, matin, 1901, oil on canvas, Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Fig. 4, Camille Pissarro, La Foire autour de l'église Saint-Jacques, Dieppe, matin, soleil, 1901, oil on canvas, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg