Lot 31
  • 31

Camille Pissarro

1,500,000 - 2,000,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Camille Pissarro
  • Vue sur le village d’Osny
  • signed C. Pissarro and dated 1883 (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 60 by 73cm.
  • 23 3/5 by 28 7/8 in.


Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the artist on 25th April 1883)

Mr & Mrs Potter Palmer, Chicago (acquired from the above on 29th April 1892)

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (donated by the above in 1922)

E. & A. Silberman Galleries, New York (acquired from the above in May 1949)

Gabriel & Madeleine Fodor, Paris (acquired from the above circa 1963)

Private Collection, France (by descent from the above. Sold: Christie’s, Paris, 21st May 2008, lot 50)

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, 1888, no. 85

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Camille Pissarro, 1892, no. 25

Chicago, Department of Fine Arts, World Columbian Exposition, 1893, no. 3004

Atlanta, High Museum of Art, Paintings and Sculptures: Gothic to Surrealism, 1950, no. 16

Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Auf den Spuren der Mater der Ile de France, 1963, no. 25, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Schmit Gallery, De Corot a de Staël: Maîtres français, XIXème-XXème siècles, 1997, no. 35, illustrated in colour (titled Vue d'Osny aux environs de Pontoise)

Paris, Schmit Gallery, Delacroix to Chagall: Maîtres français, XIXème-XXème siècles, 1999, no. 35, illustrated in colour (titled Vue d'Osny aux environs de Pontoise)

Hong Kong, Sotheby’s, Corot to Monet - French Landscape Painting in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 2012, no. 14, illustrated in colour in the catalogue


Albert Aurier, ‘Choses d'art’, in Mercure de France, vol. IV, no. 27, March 1892, mentioned p. 283

The Art Institute of Chicago (ed.), A Guide to the Paintings in the Permanent Collection, 1932, no. 22.435, mentioned p. 167

Hans Huth, ‘Impressionism comes to America’, in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1946, vol. XXIX, no. 6, illustrated p. 247

Janine Bailly-Herzberg, Correspondance de Camille Pissarro, Condé-sur-Noireau, 1988, vol. III, no. 768, listed p. 210 (letter to P. Durand-Ruel, dated 21st March 1892)

Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro & Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro, son art, son œuvre, 1939, vol. I, no. 584, catalogued p. 164; vol. II, no. 584, illustrated pl. 121

Joachim Pissarro, Camille Pissarro, New York, 1993, no. 132, illustrated p. 129 (incorrectly dated 1882)

Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro, catalogue critique des peintures, Paris, 2005, vol. II, no. 703, illustrated in colour p. 469

Catalogue Note

The present work was painted at Osny, a small farming village northwest of Paris near Pontoise. Painted in 1883, Vue sur le village d’Osny is a wonderfully accomplished work dating from Pissarro’s last ‘Pontoise Period’ before the artist left the region for Éragny in 1884. Osny provided Pissarro with a varied landscape in which to paint, and its charms are made wonderfully apparent in the present work and its counterparts from the period (figs. 1 & 2). The complex perspective, showing the two parts of the village bisected by a row of poplar trees and a foreground of dense impasto, illustrates the remarkable breadth of his technique. While the tactile qualities draw the eye to the surface of the canvas, Pissarro still maintains a balance between the physical nature of the paint itself and the complex spatial effects within the picture frame. These qualities position this picture both at the height of his first Impressionist phase and presage his experiments with Pointillism a few years later.

Joachim Pissarro and Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts describe the view shown in the present work: ‘The houses at the foot of the slope are still extant on the Grande-Rue at Osny (now rue Aristide-Briand). Glimpsed in the foreground is a small stretch of the sente de la Ravinière (now rue Jean-Larosa). The buildings on the left at the end of the row of tall trees in the middle ground now belong to the Grand-Moulin at Osny’ (J. Pissarro & C. Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, op. cit., p. 469). Pissarro’s younger contemporary, Paul Gauguin also spent time in Osny, and painted many of the same motifs, including a view of the wash-house at the Grand Moulin (fig. 3). Pissarro was one of the most accomplished landscapists among the Impressionists; thematically similar to the work of Jean-François Millet and the Barbizon painters, his landscapes depict the natural beauty of the French countryside and its inhabitants. However, Pissarro also chose to examine the complexity of space and perspective in a manner that was rare among the idealistic rural painters of the past. The relationship between Pissarro and Gauguin underlines the importance of the elder artist, not only as a painter, but as a teacher and critic whose influence on Gauguin and Cézanne can barely be overstated.

The early 1880s were important years of re-evaluation for several of the painters of the Impressionist movement. Whilst Monet and Renoir both travelled to the south seeking new and varied light conditions, Pissarro remained in the environs of Paris, focusing on the evolution of his technique. This picture clearly illustrates the artist’s developments during the years 1880-85, as discussed in the Arts Council’s 1980 exhibition catalogue: ‘Firstly regarding the compositions, there is less emphasis on recession and spatial depth. The basic elements - foreground, middle distance and background - tend to be flattened, so that the design is read upwards as a series of horizontal bands – Pissarro’s technique continues to evolve in favour of small, evenly distributed, and heavily loaded brushstrokes sometimes applied in parallel’ (Camille Pissarro (exhibition catalogue), Arts Council of Great Britain, 1981, p. 116). 

When the present work was first exhibited in 1892, it drew praise from the critic of the Mercure de France: 'At the Galerie Durand-Ruel, a large exhibition of the works of Camille Pissarro, make it possible to observe, in full, the multiple and yet logical developments of this sincere and conscientious artist, including his most paradoxical research. Of particular note among the works exhibited: Vue d'Osny, near Pontoise, the masterpiece of the series, perhaps, although in the master's earliest style; each intense, violent tone, all blended into an admirable symphony (Albert Aurier, ‘Choses d'art’, in Mercure de France, March 1892, vol. IV, no. 27, p. 283).

The first owners of the present work were Potter and Bertha Palmer of Chicago, whose vast collection of contemporary art reflected their recently acquired fortune. Between 1891 and 1893 Mr and Mrs Potter Palmer acquired thirty-three paintings by Monet from Durand-Ruel and dozens of paintings by other Impressionists including Pissarro and Sisley. In The Ultimate Trophy Philip Hook wrote about this extraordinary couple: ‘Mr Potter Palmer was the richest man in Chicago. He was a property developer who built hotels […]. At home in the Palmer residence there was a vast Louis XVI salon and all sorts of glamorous accoutrements. Mrs Potter Palmer was the unchallenged queen of Chicago social life. Advised by Mary Cassatt, Mrs Potter Palmer went to visit Monet in Giverny in 1891 and bought a painting from him. Many more followed. […] The Potter Palmer collection ended up in The Art Institute of Chicago and is the main reason why that museum is so rich in Impressionism’ (P. Hook, The Ultimate Trophy: How the Impressionist Painting Conquered the World, London, 2010, pp. 74-75). The present work was included in the Palmer’s generous bequest to the Art Institute and remained in the museum’s possession until it was sold in 1949.