DescriptionCamille Pissarro (French, 1830-1903)
Landscape with houses
Watercolor over pencil on paper
4-7/8 x 6-3/4 inches (12.4 x 17 cm) (sheet)
Initialed lower left: C.P.
Dr. Maurice Wolf, New York;
By descent to the present owner.
According to scholar Alma Egger on behalf of Joachim Pissarro, Ph.D., in a letter dated May 24, 2016, which accompanies this lot:
"Thank you for contacting Dr. Joachim Pissarro regarding expertise for the drawing Landscape with Houses believed to be by the hand of Camille Pissarro.
"Camille Pissarro lived in the small village of Éragny from 1884 until his death in 1903. During those years, Pissarro made numerous paintings and watercolors of the village of Éragny and its surrounding countryside. For twenty years Pissarro concentrated on this very confined area, on the visual material offered by the stretch of meadows lying in front of him, the surroundings of Éragny. He produced over two hundred paintings and hundreds of drawings and watercolors. Often Pissarro inscribed his watercolors of this period with the date and details about the weather and/or time of day, however he did not do so on this occasion. During the early 1890s Pissarro showed a renewed interest in climatic occurrences such as fog, hoar frost, mist, the changing seasons, and the different effects of the sun, which he had first essayed during the 1870s.
"Landscape with houses is a watercolor, a medium favored by Pissarro from the second half of the 1880's onwards. Watercolor enabled Pissarro to give free expression to those sensations he experienced before nature and at the same time to produce works quickly which were easier to sell. You may want to refer to the artist's correspondence where Pissarro often evokes the powerful qualities he found in watercolor. He said to his eldest son, for instance: 'il ne faut chercher que des sensations directes et instantanées. Rappelle-toi que l'aquarelle est un bon moyen pour aider la mémoire, surtout dans les effets fugitifs; l'aquarelle rend si bien l'impalpable, la puissance, la finesse' (translation: 'You should only try to reach your direct sensations of the moment, especially when it comes to capturing fugitive effects. Watercolor translates so well the intangible and powerful finesse of the instant.') (Letter to Lucien, 13 May 1891. Correspondance de Camille Pissarro, ed. J. Bailly-Herzberg, Paris, 1988, vol. 3, p. 81).
"By 1891 Pissarro had in mind to organize an exhibition of his recent watercolors of which he was quite proud. Pissarro wrote, 'j'ai fait monter sur papier libre toutes mes aquarelles, que je mets en séries dans des cartons, afin de ne pas les laisser traîner. Si je pouvais les exposer? ...J'en ai cent soixante et une. Georges trouve qu'elles sont beaucoup plus belles que ma peinture' (translation: 'I have mounted all my watercolors, and I am arranging them in portfolios so that they do not get scattered around. What if I could exhibit them? ... After all, I have 161. Georges [the artist's second son] finds them more beautiful than my paintings.') (Letter to Lucien, 14 January 1891, Bailly-Herzberg, p. 21; Rewald, 1943, p. 146).
"This particular watercolor appears to be most closely related to another watercolor by Pissarro titled Gisors executed in 1890 sold as lot 101 in the Christie's sale of Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper on November 4, 2004 in New York.... Gisors, is compositionally, technically and stylistically very similar to Landscape with houses. Both watercolors share a fluent and confident brushwork. The similarities in brushwork and measurement indicate that both watercolors are from Pissarro's sketchbook XXIV. Another watercolor from that sketchbook by Pissarro is titled Distant View of the Houses of Parliament seen from Victoria Embankment Gardens, no. 243F in Brettell & Lloyd's Catalogue of Drawings by Camille Pissarro in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.....This suggests that Pissarro was using the same sketchbook during his trip to London in 1890 and in Éragny where he lived. It is therefore likely that Landscape with houses was executed around the same time, c. 1890. Pissarro made several beautiful watercolors of motifs at Éragny partly as an antidote to the slow, methodical and disciplined pointilliste style he was using for his paintings at that time. Landscape with houses does not appear to relate directly to any known oil paintings by Pissarro.
"We are therefore pleased to inform you that Landscape with houses will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of Drawings by Camille Pissarro."
Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000.
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