Lot 36
  • 36

Camille Pissarro

Estimate
700,000 - 1,000,000 GBP
Sold
769,250 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • Camille Pissarro
  • FERME À MONTFOUCAULT, NEIGE
  • signed C. Pissarro and dated 1874 (lower left)

  • oil on canvas

Provenance

Bernheim-Jeune (acquired circa January 1920)
Eugène Blot, Paris (acquired circa 1930)
Etienne Bignou, Paris
Dr Brocq, Paris
Georges Bernheim, Paris (sold: Galerie Jean Charpentier, Paris, 7th June 1935, lot 72)
M Marx, France (purchased at the above sale)
Marlborough Fine Art, London
Israel Sieff (acquired from the above in 1961 and until at least 1963)
Mr & Mrs Josef Rosensaft, New York (acquired circa 1968. Sold: Parke Bernet Galleries, New York, 17th March 1976, lot 32)
Cynthia Wood, California (purchased at the above sale)
Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, Santa Barbara
Private Collection (acquired from the above in 1996. Sold: Sotheby's, New York, 3rd November 2008, lot 12)
Purchased at the above sale by present owner

Exhibited

Paris, Musée de l'Orangerie, Centenaire de la naissance de Camille Pissarro, 1930, no. 27
London, Marlborough Fine Art, A Great Period of French Painting, 1963, no. 25
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Collects: Paintings, Watercolors and Sculpture from Private Collections, 1968, no. 163
Santa Barbara, Museum of Art, Santa Barbara Collects: Impressions of France, 1998, no. 50, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Washington, D.C., The Phillips Collection; San Francisco, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco at the Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Gardens & New York, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Impressionists in Winter: Effets de Neige, 1998-99, no. 39, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Literature

Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro & Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro: son art - son œuvre, Paris, 1939, vol. I, no. 284, catalogued p. 120; vol. II, no. 284, illustrated pl. 57 (titled Neige à Montfoucault)
Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro, Catalogue critique des peintures, Paris, 2005, vol. II, no. 384, illustrated in colour p. 289

Catalogue Note

In 1874, when the present work was painted, Pissarro and his family visited the Piette family in the remote hamlet of Montfoucault, about a two-day journey from Pontoise. Feeling the pressures of the Parisian art world and his financial responsibilities to his family, Pissarro believed that the quiet solitude of the farms and enclosed fields of this cul-de-sac on the border of Brittany and Normandy would provide a much needed respite. Years before, Ludovic Piette, at whose farm the artist and his family would reside, had warned Pissarro of the creative stagnation that could occur if he abandoned Paris for Montfoucault: 'Do not think that the pleasure I would have if you stayed with us makes me so oblivious to your interest as to try to influence you to leave the Paris region while it is in your interest to remain there... I even think that you feel the pulse of life in Paris far more than here, where a benumbing and hopeless languor paralyzes you, no matter what you do' (quoted in Joachim Pissarro, Camille Pissarro, New York, 1993, p. 138). On the contrary, the artist's brief escape to this secluded area would prove to be personally and professionally cathartic.

 

It was, in fact, in Montfoucault that Pissarro began studying local peasant life, and this work is a compelling example of the stylistic development engendered by the artist's encounters in the country. In the present work, he depicted a farm scene with grazing animals amidst the tranquil winter landscape. Pissarro executed this scene as if the land has been untouched by any meddling industrial presence. Quite the opposite of the 'grands boulevards' and the towering buildings of Paris from which the artist had temporarily sought refuge, Montfoucault offered a poignant reminder of the overarching beauty of the natural landscape. In the present work, the predominantly silvery grey tones unify the composition and underscore the affinity of the otherwise disparate features of farm, land, sky and animals.

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