- Camille Pissarro
L'Hermitage en été, Pontoise
- Signed C. Pissarro and dated 1877 (lower left)
Oil on canvas
Gustave Caillebotte, Paris (acquired from the artist)
Martial Caillebotte, Paris
Albert Chardeau, Paris
César de Hauke, Paris
M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York (acquired from the above on November 30, 1947)
Mrs John Barry Ryan, New York (acquired from the above on November 16, 1950 and sold: Sotheby's, New York, The Estate of Mrs John Barry Ryan, May 9, 1995, lot 50)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, L'Oeuvre de Camille Pissarro, 1904, no. 43
Columbus, Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, The Springtime of Impressionism, 1948, no. 17
Manchester, New Hampshire, The Currier Gallery of Art, Monet and the Beginnings of Impressionism, 1949, no. 22
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paintings from Private Collections, 1961, no. 69
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paintings from Private Collections, 1967, no. 77
London, Helly Nahmad Gallery, The New Painting: New Visions in Modern Art (1835-1956), 1998, no. 2
Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum & Tokyo, The Bunkamura Museum of Art, Monet and Renoir: Two Great Impressionist Trends, 2003, no. 17
New York, The Museum of Modern Art; Los Angeles, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art & Paris, Musée d'Orsay, Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro 1865-1885, 2005-06, no. 67, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro & Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro, son art - son œuvre, vol. I, Paris, 1939, no. 407, catalogued p. 138 (titled La Vallée en été, Pontoise)
Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro. Catalogue critique des peintures, vol. II, Paris, 2005, no. 518, illustrated in color p. 362
Painted in 1877, the present work depicts a landscape near the town of Pontoise, where Pissarro lived from 1866 until 1883. In deciding to move to Pontoise, the artist was partly guided by a desire 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 on the fields and isolated landscapes devoid of human presence.
Joachim Pissarro and Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts wrote about the present composition: "This landscape, commonly identified as a view of Le Valhermeil in the commune of Auvers-sur-Oise, is in fact a prospect of the district of L'Hermitage at Pontoise [fig. 1] from a spot on the côte des Jalais. In the foreground is a group of houses lining the rue du Fond-de-l'Hermitage (now rue Maria-Deraismes) with the côte des Gratte-Coqs above them. Down in the valley we glimpse the railway line running along the rivers Oise. The château of Épluches at Saint-Ouen-l'Aumône is recognisable in the background right, and the forests of l'Isle-Adam and Montmorency can be distinguished on the horizon" (J. Pissarro & C. Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, op. cit., pp. 362-363).
Combining the natural elements of the landscape with the man-made into a harmonious composition, L'Hermitage en été, Pontoise is characteristic of Pissarro's suburban views painted on the outskirts of Pontoise. Unlike many of his works executed in this region, in which he often depicted the local farmers going about their daily activities, in this large-scale canvas the artist depicted a panoramic vista of the region. He seems to have positioned his easel on a hilltop, offering a sweeping view of the town nestled between the hills and the meadows stretching towards the horizon.
In August 1872, Cézanne moved to Pontoise, where he joined Pissarro, and soon afterwards settled in the neighboring town of Auvers-sur-Oise. During his stay in the area with his wife Hortense and their son Paul, Cézanne frequently walked to Pontoise where he painted alongside Pissarro, often depicting the same views. It was under Pissarro's influence and guidance that he painted from nature, paying considerable attention to rendering the effects of light on the landscape and houses. This mutual influence and collaboration, nurtured at Pontoise, would prove to be a relationship pivotal to the development of Impressionism. Jennifer Field wrote: "Pissarro's and Cézanne's artistic dialogue around the time of the Third Impressionist Exhibition was fostered by their shared experiences in the region of Auvers-sur-Oise and Pontoise. [...] their shared interest in the harmony of the landscape and the effects of light on the hillsides and meadows can be seen in Pissarro's L'Hermitage in Summer, Pontoise [the present work] and in Cézanne's Auvers-sur-Oise, Panoramic View [fig. 2]" (J. Field, in Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro 1865-1885 (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 163).
The first owner of the present work was the great Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte, who acquired it directly from Pissarro. The two artists probably met in 1874, around the time of the First Impressionist Exhibition, which Caillebotte attended but in which he not participate. It was at this time that he befriended a number of artists including Degas, and most probably Pissarro. Caillebotte would later assemble an extraordinary collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art, including eighteen works by Pissarro, as well as notable pictures by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Sisley, Degas and Cézanne, many of which are now at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.