Lot 35
  • 35

Camille Pissarro

2,500,000 - 3,500,000 USD
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  • Camille Pissarro
  • Prairie √† √Čragny
  • Signed C. Pissarro and dated 1886 (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 24 1/2 by 28 7/8 in.
  • 59.4 by 73 cm


Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the artist on September 8, 1886)

Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York (acquired from the above in 1887)

Allston Burr, United States (acquired from the above on March 25, 1915)

Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York (acquired from the above on June 1, 1924, and owned until at least 1948)

Sam Salz, New York (acquired in 1955)

Mr. & Mrs. Josef Rosensaft, New York (acquired from the above in March 1957 and sold: Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, March 17, 1976, lot 34)

Private Collection (acquired at the above sale and sold: Christie’s, New York, May 14, 1997, lot 30)

Richard Green, London

Acquired from the above by the present owner


Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Exposition internationale de peinture et de sculpture, 1887, no. 105

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Paintings by Camille Pissarro – Views of Rouen, 1897, no. 32

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Paintings by Camille Pissarro, 1903, no. 24

Memphis, Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Modern European Painting, 1924, no. 19

Baltimore, Museum of Fine Art, Exhibition of Modern French Art, 1925, no. 99

Toronto, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Inaugural Exhibition, 1926, no. 83

Rochester, Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, Inaugural Exhibition
Commemorating the Opening of the Enlarged Gallery, 1926, no. 153

Dallas, Fair Park Gallery, State Fair of Texas, 1933, no. 67

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Paintings – Camille Pissarro, 1936, no. 4

Vevey, Musée Jenisch, De Monet à Chagall: Collection Rosensaft, 1958, no. 16

New York, Acquavella Galleries, Four Masters of Impressionism, 1968, no. 42 illustrated in color in the catalogue

New York, Wildenstein & Co., One Hundred Years of Impressionism: A tribute to Durand-Ruel, 1970, no. 64

Jerusalem, Israel Museum & New York, Jewish Museum, Camille Pissarro, Impressionist Innovator, 1995, no. 79, illustrated in color in the catalogue


H. Sayre, "New Exhibitions of the Week. Developments in the Style of Pissarro", in The Art News, 14th March 1936, mentioned p. 8

Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro & Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro, son art - son oeuvre, Paris, 1939, vol. I, no. 700, catalogued p. 179; vol. II, no. 700, illustrated pl. 145

Josef B. Rosensaft, "Le Néo-Impressionnisme de Camille Pissarro", in L’Oeil, February 1974, no. 233, illustrated in color p. 53

Janine Bailly-Herzberg, Correspondence de Camille Pissarro, Paris, 1986, vol. II, no. 421, mentioned pp. 161-163 & no. 422 mentioned p. 195, no. 445, listed as no. 3

Martha Ward, Pissarro and the Avant-Garde, Chicago, 1996, p. 270

Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro: Catalogue critique des peintures, Milan, 2005, vol. III, no. 829, illustrated in color p. 545


Canvas is lined. The paint layer is stable and fresh. Under UV light, there are scattered specks of retouching in the sky and along the extreme framing edges. This work is in very 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

The resplendent Prairie à Éragny, painted in 1886, introduces the new neo-Impressionist style that Pissarro would help to pioneer in the years to come. This picture dates from the same time that Georges Seurat was working on his Un dimanche après-midi à l'Ile de la Grande Jatte, and the divisionist technique was still unchartered territory for many artists of the avant-garde.  Pissarro, however, was well ahead of his Impressionist contemporaries in this regard, boldly exploring the individuated dots of color that created such visually arresting effects.   

A year after Pissarro completed this picture, the dealer Georges Petit installed a large "International Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture" at his gallery in Paris.  Pissarro reluctantly participated in the exhibition at the insistance of Renoir and Monet, although his tastes did not mesh well with those of the "flashy" Georges Petit.  More to the artist's displeasure, Petit temporarily removed Prairie à Éragny from the hanging on account of someone being "offended by [its] luminousity."  Pissarro was furious at the dealer's "slavish" behavior, and Petit returned the work to its proper place in the exhibition the next day.  That another of Petit's artists could feel threatened by the "luminousity" of Pissarro's splendidly colorful composition evidences just how radical the present painting appeared amidst the more reserved and prosaic offerings at Petit's gallery that day.  Durand-Ruel evidently had no such reservations upon acquiring this picture shortly after the exhibition, and even brought the picture to New York as part of a revelatory exhibition of the artist's work the following year.

Prairie à Éragny was one of the first of the artist's works to be exhibited in the United States, introducing an American audience to the most current of stylistic transformations occuring in Paris at the time.  One of the first owners of this picture was Allston Burr (1866-1949), a preeminent Bostonian and Harvard University alumnus whose name is now associated with several institutions at the university.  The picture would later come into the possession of Josef Rosensaft (1911-1975), a widely-respected leader of the Jewish community who established the Central Committee of Liberated Jews and was a tireless advocate for Holocaust remembrance efforts.  A testament to his amazing resilience, Rosensaft's impressive art collection assembled in the 1950s and 1960s included some of the best-known examples of Impressionist & Post-Impressionist art, including Gauguin's Still-life with Japanese Woodcut.