Lot 31
  • 31

Camille Pissarro

1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
1,570,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Camille Pissarro
  • Le Louvre, matin, printemps
  • Signed C. Pissarro and dated 1902 (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas


Dr. Alexander Lewin, Guben 

Alice J. Kurz, Hastings-on-Hudson (by descent from the above)

Wildenstein & Co., Ltd., New York (acquired from the above in January 1952)

Acquired from the above in 1955


New Orleans, Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, Masterpieces of French Painting through Five Centuries (1400-1900), 1954, no. 70

New York, Wildenstein & Co., Ltd., C. Pissarro, Loan Exhibition, 1965, no. 83, illustrated in the catalogue


Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro & Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro, son art, son oeuvre,
Paris, 1939, vol. 1, no. 1225, catalogued p. 251; vol. II, no. 1225, illustrated pl. 240

Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Camille Pissarro: catalogue
critique des peintures, Paris 2005, Vol. III, no. 1424, illustrated p. 870

Catalogue Note

Around the turn of the century, Pissarro embarked on his second artistic study of Paris with a series dedicated to views of the French capital. Painted in 1902, Le Louvre, matin, printemps is one of the compositions from this series. After decades of concentrating on rural subjects, Pissarro spent the last years of his life examining the urban landscape of Paris becoming the preeminent painter of the City. These series paintings are among the greatest achievements of Impressionism, taking their place alongside Monet’s celebrated series of Rouen Cathedral, poplars and grainstacks and the later waterlilies. Yet, his approach was very different to that of his contemporary: "By contrast, it seems as though Pissarro ‘tested the waters’ of urban view painting, found them temptingly warm and stayed in them less as a result of a grand design than because he was enjoying the experience. One senses little of the intense struggle to redefine painting that occupied Monet in his series. Rather, Pissarro appears almost to have been liberated by urban view painting" (Richard R. Brettell in The Impressionists and the City: Pissarro's Series Paintings (exhibition catalogue), Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, 1992, p. xv). Over these years he changed addresses frequently, looking for new locations that might offer suitable motifs and choosing his living quarters accordingly. As Glenway Wescott describes, Pissarro "painted Paris rather as Corot painted Rome, in a spirit... of mature admirer, unrelated lover, enthralled traveller... Even his selection of motifs was rather in the way of fame and general preference, as if it were a public choice: the big boulevards and noble bridges and public gardens. It makes these pictures especially appealing to others who have loved Paris like that, somewhat from the outside" (G. Wescott, Paris by Pissarro (exhibition catalogue), Carroll Carstairs Galleries, New York, 1944, p. 2).

Le Louvre, matin, printemps, belongs to a series that depict a view of the Seine looking out over both right and left banks with the majestic façade of the Louvre emerging in the background. Joachim Pissarro described this view as presenting the ‘ultimate point’ for the artist’s explorations of the city, going on to write, "Looking at the two mutually exclusive banks of Paris, the artist focused on the dividing line of the city: the Seine, which separates the city physically, as well as ideologically… The oppositions in this penultimate Paris series are expressed climactically: left bank versus right bank, the bridges perpendicularly joining the two opposite banks, while breaking the flowing continuum of the downstream perspective" (J. Pissarro in The Impressionist and the City: Pissarro's Series Paintings (exhibition catalogue), Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, 1992, p. 124).

Pissarro painted this view from a flat on the Place Dauphine which he had moved into in the November of the previous year. This arrangement allowed him to return to the scene at leisure, capturing it at different times of year and in different conditions, alternating between views of the right bank and the Louvre and views that took in more of the Square du Vert-Galant and the imposing statue of Henri IV in its centre. A letter of 1902 emphasizes the necessity of such an arrangement: "Since I’ve been in Paris, unable to go out, I’ve been able to work from my window incessantly; I’ve had winter effects that charmed me in their finesse; the view of the Louvre on the Seine is an absolutely exquisite and captivating subject" (quoted in, ibid., p. xxxviii). Whereas earlier series had often focused on views of Paris that emphasized the bustle and energy of the city, in this series Pissarro creates a more contemplative atmosphere; the human figures tend to appear alone or in pairs often engaged in the act of looking out at the same view that Pissarro was painting. The result is a series of paintings which celebrate this small corner of Paris in all its many moods, from a rainy winter afternoon to the crisp, spring sunshine of the present work.