Camille Pissarro, born 183 years ago today on the island of St. Thomas, was not much for city life. Although he spent some time in Paris developing his craft and seeing his work accepted into the Paris Salon, Pissarro had a penchant for the pastoral-–not unlike those artists whose work he admired and studied like Camille Corot (who was also Pissarro’s teacher) and Gustave Courbet.
The timeless, crowd-pleasing, (and my favorite) works by Pissarro that include French boulevards peppered with voyeurs, dandies, and stagecoaches, number few in comparison to the volume of his work focused on a simpler and quieter way of life. Much like that of his own with wife and children in the French countryside of Pontoise and later Louveciennes, village life remained a constant in his work.
Megan Clark, Manager of Center Initiatives
This drawing is a wonderful way to celebrate Pissarro’s birthday. It looked familiar to me, and when I checked the catalogue raisonne, I found a remarkable resemblance to a painting Pissarro did around 1869 near Louveciennes–Le Village a travers les arbres PDR 134.
The tip-off was the village screened by slender trees. The viewpoint for the painting is closer but all the elements are in the right places, the church steeple, the road and the trees screening the view. The catalogue raisonne says, “This is the first known instance in Pissarro’s work of this particular kind of composition, where the motif is at once revealed and partly concealed by a curtain of trees.”
He used this technique frequently throughout his career, most notably in the famous painting Le Cote des Boeufs, Pontoise, 1877 (PDR 488) which can be seen at the National Gallery in London.
Thank you for sharing this superb drawing by Pissarro.