398
398
Camille Pissarro
BASSE-COUR À LA 'MAISON ROUGE', PONTOISE
Estimate
600,000800,000
JUMP TO LOT
398
Camille Pissarro
BASSE-COUR À LA 'MAISON ROUGE', PONTOISE
Estimate
600,000800,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Camille Pissarro
1830 - 1903
BASSE-COUR À LA 'MAISON ROUGE', PONTOISE
Signed C. Pissarro and dated twice 1877 (lower right)
Oil on canvas
21 1/2 by 25 3/4 in.
54.6 by 64.5 cm
Painted in 1877.
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Provenance

Eugène Murer, France (acquired directly from the artist on December 26, 1878)
Paul-Émile Pissarro, France (the artist's son; a gift from the above in 1921)
Alfred A. Strelsin, New York (and sold by the estate: Christie's, New York, May 17, 1983, lot 14)
Private Collection, Tokyo (acquired in 1998)
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1999

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie Manzi-Joyant, Exposition rétrospective d'oeuvres de Camille Pissarro, 1914, no. 51

Literature

Janine Bailly-Herzberg, Correspondance de Camille Pissarro, vol. I, Paris & Saint-Ouen-l'Aumône, 1980, no. 52, pp. 108-09
Paul Alexis Trublot, "À minuit, La Collection Murer" in Le Cri du peuple, Paris, October 1887, no. 5, illustrated p. 3
Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro & Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro, Son art, son oeuvre, vol. I, Paris, 1939, no. 426, catalogued p. 141;  vol. II, no. 426, illustrated pl. 86
Paul Gachet, Deux amies des impressionnistes: Le Docteur Gachet et Murer, Paris, 1956, no. 15, illustrated p. 171
Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro, Catalogue critique des peintures, vol. II, Milan, 2005, no. 536, illustrated p. 370

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1877, the present work depicts the barnyard at "La Maison Rouge," the house at 18 rue de L'Hermitage 26 which Pissarro and his young family occupied from April 1874 to the summer of 1881. Pissarro moved to Pontoise in 1866 and remained there until 1883. Located some twenty-five miles northwest of Paris, Pontoise’s location on a hilltop, at a crossing of the river Oise made it a particularly picturesque locale, while its proximity to Paris ensured the development of industry to supplement the traditional agricultural economy. This in turn made for great subject matter, providing opportunities for Pissarro to record crowded semi-urban genre scenes, views of roads and factories, and more rural subjects such as farmers working on the fields and isolated landscapes devoid of human presence. Depictions of the artists’ house from this period show both the genteel bourgeois garden where Pissarro’s wife Julie enjoyed reading or working on needlework, the children playing in the sun and the more functional agricultural barnyard or basse-cour where the family kept poultry.

Pissarro set himself apart from his fellow Impressionist painters with his candid depictions of rural life and those working on the land, this made possible by his utter immersion in the life in Pontoise. The series of paintings created in this period provide intimate portrayals of the toils and daily experiences of the men and women of the heartland, away from the glamorous bustle of urban modernity in nearby Paris. While Pissarro did not overtly romanticize his subjects, he captured the authenticity of their experience through the filter of his dazzling Impressionist technique and rich chromatic choices. Depictions of chickens and geese are common in this period, reflecting his personal affinity for the subject matter as well as the continuing dialogue he had with other members of the Impressionist group, here notably with Claude Monet who exhibited his jaunty turkeys in a field, Les Dindons (1876), in the third Impressionist exhibition in 1877. The present work is part genre scene, part townscape, the tall wall separating the artist’s barnyard from the adjoining houses on the outskirts of the village.

The first owner of this painting was Eugène Murer, a pâtissier and restauranteur by profession and a renowned Impressionist art collector who would amass more than a hundred Impressionist canvases by 1890. He was a friend of many of the artists in the Impressionist group and sat for a wonderful portrait by Renoir, now in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in 1877, the year the present lot was painted (see fig. 1). Pissarro wrote to Murer in December 1878, discussing the purchase of the present painting and another: “I think you will be pleased with my two paintings… they are carefully studied canvases, especially the one of the red house. I’ve never done anything better’’ (unpublished letter, L. and S. archives, quoted in Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, op. cit., p. 371).

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