Galerie de L’Elysée, Paris (purchased at the above sale; until at least 1948)
Wildenstein & Co., Ltd., London
Dr Max Leonard Slotover, London (acquired from the above on 3rd January 1956. Sold: Sotheby’s, London, 5th December 1973, lot 17)
H. Alexander (purchased at the above sale)
Mrs Pola Pasvolsky, Cape Town (sold by her estate: Christie’s, London, 29th June 1999, lot 10)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Paris, Galerie Marcel Bernheim, Pissarro et ses fils, 1934, no. 15
London, Wildenstein & Co., Ltd., Exhibition of Works by Camille Pissarro, 1936, no. 1
Paris, Galerie de l'Elysée, C. Pissarro: tableaux, pastels, dessins, 1936, no. 3
Paris, Galerie de l'Elysée, C. Pissarro: des peintures et des pastels, de 1880 à 1900 environ, 1948
Paris, Galerie André Weil, Pissarro, 1950, no. 7
London, Wildenstein & Co., Ltd., The French Impressionists and some of their contemporaries, 1963, no. 2, illustrated in the catalogue
London, Roland, Browse & Delbanco, La Vie intime, 1966, no. 28
London, Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., Pissarro in England, 1968, no. 3, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Jeanne au jardin, Pontoise)
Williamstown, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute & San Francisco, Legion of Honor, Pissarro’s People, 2011-12, no. 58, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
London, Royal Academy of Arts, Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, 2016, no. 15, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
H. Granville Fell, ‘From Gallery and Mart: A Camille Pissarro Exhibition’, in The Connoisseur, February 1936, mentioned p. 126
‘London Notes’, in The Art News, 8th February 1936, mentioned p. 13
Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro & Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro - son art, son œuvre, Paris, 1939, vol. I, no. 192, catalogued p. 106; vol. II, no. 192, illustrated pl. 38 (titled Jeanne au jardin, Pontoise)
Stefano Roffo, Camille Pissarro, Paris, 1994, illustrated p. 30
Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro. Critical Catalogue of Paintings, Paris, vol. II, 2005, no. 256, illustrated in colour p. 208
Richard R. Brettell in Pissarro’s People (exhibition catalogue), Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown & Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 2011-12, p. 95
Painted circa 1872, Pissarro’s intimately observed depiction of his young daughter illustrates the artist’s true mastery of technique and colour. Showing his characteristic elegance, Pissarro builds the painting with deft, individual brushstrokes combining them with a light palette that captures the essence of a warm summer’s day. The theme of the domestic garden was important to Pissarro and contemporaries such as Monet, who at this time was working just along the river at Argenteuil, and their technique was particularly suited to rendering the abundance of these surroundings. Several years later Monet would paint a series of similarly intimate portraits of Alice Hoschedé and his children in the lush garden of their home at Vétheuil (fig. 1).
Born in 1865, and the first of his daughters to survive infancy, Jeanne-Rachel – nicknamed Minette – occupied a special place in her father’s affection and he painted her frequently during her short life (fig. 2). The first formal portrait of her, painted the same year as the present work, shows the young girl posing stiffly and formally in front of a screen of floral wallpaper. In Jeanne Pissarro dite Minette, assise au jardin, Pontoise, however, Pissarro paints the seven-year-old Minette from a distance, as part of a rich garden landscape. Richard Brettell describes the work: ‘he painted her sitting on a wooden chair placed on a garden path, as she looks intently at a red-and-white toy or doll that she holds with both hands. It is a study of quiet absorption and, because of its profile pose, outdoor setting, and large scale, it is literally the opposite of her father’s tiny, earlier portrait' (R. R. Brettell in Pissarro’s People (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 95).
In the present work Pissarro is attempting something different to his other more formally posed depictions of 1872, and the relative spontaneity of the composition and the joyful abundance of the setting imbue the painting with a lively energy. In contrast, his later paintings of Minette are clouded by her increasing fragility, which was clearly a matter of concern to her doting father; in October 1873 he wrote to his friend Dr Gachet: ‘We have been half dead the last four or five days we are so worried… Jeanne is ill’ (quoted in J. Pissarro & C. Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, op. cit., p. 195). Her health would continue to deteriorate and she died in 1874 aged only nine.
Pissarro’s portraits of his daughter reflect his deep affection for her and the informal setting and sunny atmosphere of the present work render it, of all the depictions, the most uplifting expression of the artist’s paternal love and the great pleasure he took in her company. As with the majority of his portraits of Minette, Pissarro kept the work as part of his personal collection and it remained with his family until after the death of his wife, Julie Pissarro, in 1926.
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