Camille Pissarro

Le Pont-Royal, après-midi, temps couvert, 4e série

Oil on canvas: 20(h) x 25.6(w) in /

50.8(h) x 65.1(w) cm

Signed and dated lower left: C. Pissarro. 1903

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BV 129



 Saint Thomas 1830 – 1903 Paris


Le Pont-Royal, après-midi, temps couvert, 4e série


Signed and dated, lower left: C. Pissarro. 1903

Oil on canvas: 20 x 25 ⅝ in / 50.8 x 65.1 cm

Frame size: 28 x 32 in / 71.1 x 81.2 cm


Painted in 1903



Bernheim-Jeune, Paris; Durand-Ruel, Paris, acquired from the above, 29th November 1917 Duval-Fleury, Paris, acquired from the above, 25th March 1918 Philippe Bemberg, Lausanne & Paris, acquired circa 1964;

by descent in a private collection, Paris



Copenhagen, Charlottenborg, Fransk Malerkunst, 1918 Lausanne, Palais de Beaulieu, Chefs d’oeuvres des collections suisses: de Manet à Picasso, 1964 Paris, Hôtel de Ville, Paris sous le ciel de la peinture, 2000, p.113, illus.



LR Pissarro and L Venturi, Camille Pissarro – Son Art, Son Oeuvre, Paris 1939, no.1249, pl.251 John J Rewald, C Pissarro, Paris 1974, no.48, illus. (incorrectly catalogued)

J Pissarro and C Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro: Catalogue critique des peintures /Critical Catalogue of Paintings, Paris 2005, vol. III, p.900, no.1487, illus. in colour 



In 1893, Camille Pissarro began to paint almost exclusively urban landscapes, leaving behind his devotion to the French countryside and the rural communities that had contributed to an essential period within his oeuvre. The last decade of Pissarro’s life was dedicated to defining the city, as he reimagined the cityscapes of Rouen, Le Havre, Dieppe and Paris.


In 1897 Pissarro took a room at the Hôtel de Russie, where he painted his famous views of the Boulevard Montmartre and the Boulevard des Italiens. The following year, he completed a series of views of the Avenue de L’Opéra from the Hôtel du Louvre. He then rented an apartment at 204 rue de Rivoli and began his paintings of the Tuileries Gardens. In 1900, he chose an apartment on 28 Place Dauphine where he depicted the Square du Vert Galan and the Pont Neuf. In late March 1903, Pissarro began another series from a hotel at 19 Quai Voltaire, one that explored the Pont-Royal opposite the Louvre’s vast Denon wing. He explained in a letter to his painter son Lucien, then living in England, that he was undertaking ‘a series of canvases [showing] the Pont Royal and the Pont du Carrousel, as well as the houses strung out along the quai Malaquais, with the Institut [de France] and, to the left, the retreating banks of the Seine, motifs where the light is magnificent’([1]).


Le Pont-Royal, après-midi, temps couvert, 4e série belongs to this final series of fourteen Paris views, painted between late March and late May 1903([2]). Pissarro looks leftwards towards the traffic streaming along the Pont-Royal and the Quai Voltaire, with the Pont de Solferino in the distance. He delights in the grandeur of the capital’s architecture and the teeming energy of the modern city. The urban view is softened by the tree in the foreground, just about to quicken with the new growth of spring.


John Rewald writes of this Quai Voltaire series, made a few months before Pissarro’s death in November 1903: ‘The paintings Pissarro did from this new location show colours and brushwork that are quite different from his previous canvases. The colourations appear softer, more akin to pastel tones, the strokes are broader, more heavy with pigment, so that they fuse readily, at the same time providing an uneven texture. From under a sweeping brush that proceeds with great deftness there emerges a surface that is both thick and wonderfully rich in nuances. This new departure is yet another sign of the vitality of a man ready to evolve new techniques when his subjects inspire him to do so. Many of his last pictures are among the finest Pissarro created, making a worthy finale to his long and varied career. Nothing betrays his age and his suffering….If anything, his love for nature, his capacity for emotion, and his technical proficiency seem to have increased with the years; everything is fresh, painted so originally and felt with such enthusiasm, such optimism, and youthfulness that it inspires veneration’[3].



Camille Pissarro, The Seine and the Louvre, 1903.

Musée d’Orsay, Paris.






Saint Thomas 1830 – 1903 Paris



Camille Pissarro was perhaps the greatest propagandist and the most constant member of the Impressionists and the only one to participate in all eight of their exhibitions. Born in 1830 in the Danish colony of Saint Thomas([4]) in the West Indies, of Sephardic Jewish parentage, he went to school in Paris and then worked in his father’s business for five years. Ill-suited to being a merchant, Pissarro decided to become a painter, studying at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and the informal Académie Suisse. He was considerably influenced and encouraged by Corot and to a lesser extent by Courbet.


During the 1860s Pissarro exhibited at the official Salons and in 1863 at the Salon des Refusés. He increasingly associated himself with the Impressionists, especially Monet and Renoir, and with the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 fled to London, where Durand-Ruel became his principal patron and dealer.


After the war, Pissarro returned to France and settled at Pontoise, spending much time with Cézanne, whom he directed towards Impressionism. In 1884 he moved to Eragny. During the 1890s the meadows at Eragny-sur-Epte, looking across to the village of Bazincourt, became one of Pissarro’s principal subjects, painted at different times of the day and year.


In 1885 Pissarro came into contact with Seurat and Signac and for a brief period experimented with Neo-Impressionism. The rigidity of this technique, however, proved too restrictive and he returned to the freedom and spontaneity of Impressionism. From 1893 Pissarro embarked upon a series of Parisian themes, such as the Gare St Lazare and the Grands Boulevards. He continued to spend the summers at Eragny, where he painted the landscape in his most poetic Post-Impressionist idiom. Pissarro died in Paris in 1903.


[1] Quoted in J Pissarro and C Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, op. cit., vol. III, p.894.

[2] Pissarro and Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, ibid., pp.900-906, nos.1486-1499.

[3] J Rewald, Camille Pissarro, New York 1963, p.158.

[4] Today part of the US Virgin Islands.

ImpressionistCamille Pissarro