Camille Pissarro

Le clocher d’Eragny vu de l’atelier

Oil on canvas: 13.7(h) x 10.7(w) in /

34.9(h) x 27.3(w) cm

Signed and dated lower left C. Pissarro. 94

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CL 3538

 

CAMILLE PISSARRO

Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas 1830 – 1903 Paris

Le clocher d’Eragny vu de l’atelier

Signed and dated lower left C. Pissarro. 94

Oil on canvas: 13 3/4 x 10 ¾  in / 35 x 27 cm

Frame size: 17 x 21 in / 43.2 x 53.3 cm

In a ….frame

Provenance:

Drouot, Paris, 18th June 1925, lot 85 (bt. Lehmann);

Maurice Lehmann (1895-1974), Paris;

by descent in a private collection, Paris;

private collection, Europe

Literature:

LR Pissarro & L Venturi, Camille Pissarro, son art – son oeuvre, Paris 1939, vol. I, p.205, no.893; vol. II, pl. 181

J Pissarro and C Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro, catalogue critique des peintures, Paris and Milan 2005, vol. III, p.672, no.1049, illus. in colour

Exhibited:

London, Stern Pissarro Gallery, Camille Pissarro: St Thomas to Paris, 11th November-6th December 2003, no.46

Utsunomiya, Utsunomiya Museum of Art, Camille Pissarro: Patriarche de la Modernité,

24th March-27th May 2012, no.82 / Kobe, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, 6th June-19th August 2012

Paris, Musée du Luxembourg (Sénat), Pissarro à Eragny. La Nature retrouvée, 16th March-9th July 2017, pp.87, no.30, illus. in colour; 202

Claude Monet’s paintings of his garden at Giverny focus on wild, natural abundance, albeit abundance artfully maintained by armies of gardeners. Sometimes his house is included, but there is rarely a sense of its setting within a village. Camille Pissarro was an Anarchist by political persuasion and liked to let his garden at Eragny run wild, yet his paintings always have a sense of order, of productivity and neighbourliness within an agricultural community. Many are taken from a high viewpoint, with a patchwork of fields, hedges and mellow old buildings nestling within the vivid greens of nature.

Le clocher d’Eragny vu de l’atelier was painted from the creeper-clad barn which Pissarro decided to remodel into a studio in June 1893. In October 1894 he put in a three-metre wide, arched picture window on the upper floor, facing north for even light. Having worked en plein air for much of his life in every type of weather, Camille expressed in a letter to Lucien that his paintings might be less immediate and authentic if conceived in the comfort of the studio. ‘It’s a first-rate studio, but I keep saying to myself, what’s the point of having a studio? In the old days, I did my painting anywhere; in every season, in sweltering heat, under rain, in horrid cold spells, I found it in me to work enthusiastically….My imperviousness used to exasperate your mother, but that wasn’t the feeling that drove me, on the contrary: the greater the hindrance, the more I felt a need to work….Am I going to be able to work in this new environment….my painting will put on gloves, gosh almighty, I’ll be official!!!’[1]

In fact, as Joachim Pissarro comments, the studio gave Camille renewed energy: ‘far from trapping him in academicism, it refreshed his painter’s spirit’[2]. This can be seen from the brio of Le clocher d’Eragny, which depicts the church steeple and the handsome dwelling known as the Deaf Woman’s House, which faced Pissarro’s large picture window. The warm tones of the houses and Pissarro’s garden wall and path are embowered in exuberant, richly-impasted green vegetation, but the composition is grounded by its geometric organisation into interlocking diagonals and triangles. The overall sense is of neighbourliness, calm, wellbeing. The whole is presided over by the church steeple, a symbol of community in landscapes reaching back to the Brueghels.

The Deaf Woman’s House (also known as the Englishman’s House, today 33 Rue Camille Pissarro) appears in eleven paintings by Camille and two by Lucien Pissarro[3]. Camille made a more sketchy version of the same view around the same time as the present work (private collection)[4]. In 1886 he had painted Vue de ma fenêtre, la maison de la sourde, Eragny (private collection)[5], taken from an attic room of his own house, looking over the tops of his pine trees to his neighbour’s house and the rolling landscape beyond.

[1] Quoted in Pissarro and Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, op. cit., vol. III, pp.661-2. See Janine Bailly-Herzberg, Correspondence de Camille Pissarro, vol. III, 1891-1894, Paris 1988, letter 935.

[2] Pissarro and Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, ibid., vol. III, p.662.

[3] Pissarro and Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, ibid., nos.822, 827, 915, 1049, 1050, 1072, 1083, 1185, 1274, 1465, 1466.

For Lucien’s paintings, see Anne Thorold, A Catalogue of the Oil Paintings of Lucien Pissarro, London 1983, pp.44, no.9, La maison de la sourd (later called la maison de l’anglais), 1886, illus.; p.56, no.45, Effet de neige, Eragny, 1892, illus.

[4] Pissarro and Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, no.1050.

[5] Pissarro and Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, no.822.

ImpressionistCamille Pissarro