Octave Mirbeau, Damps (acquired from the artist and sold: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, February 24, 1919, lot 31)
Collection Hauser, United Kingdom
Private Collection, Paris (by descent from the above and until at least 1995)
Stoppenbach & Delestre, Ltd, London (acquired from the above)
Anderson Galleries, Beverly Hills (on consignment)
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, 4e Exposition particulière Camille Pissarro, 1893, no. 31, illustrated in the catalogue
London, Stoppenbach & Delestre, Ltd., French 19th and 20th Century Paintings and Works on Paper, 2002, no. 13
Ludovic Rodo-Pissarro & Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro, son art, son oeuvre, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1939, vol. I, no. 806, catalogued p. 194; vol. II, no. 806, illustrated pl. 166
Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro, Critical Catalogue of Paintings, vol. III, no. 953, illustrated in color p. 624
Pissarro's richly colorful depiction of the garden 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 grounds in Les Damps, near Pont-de-l'Arche, while a fourth captures the greater landscape in its full splendor during the last weeks of summer. The present work is perhaps the most glorious depiction of the bright foliage and flowers in full bloom, and is the most intimate view of the four canvases. The artist 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.
Although he had initially intended to send this canvas, along with the three others, to Durand-Ruel in Paris, Pissarro decided to give the present picture to Mirbeau in a gesture of gratitude for his hospitality. The following March, the picture, along with its companion canvases, was featured in an exhibition at Durand-Ruel's gallery.
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