DescriptionCamille Pissarro (French, 1830-1903)
Portrait d'Alfred Isaacson, circa 1883
Pastel on paper
19-3/4 x 16-3/4 inches (50.2 x 42.5 cm) (sheet)
Alfred Isaacson, artist's nephew, acquired from the above;
Carl Pissarro, Esq.;
Sotheby's, London, April 16, 1970, lot 44;
Christie's, London, November 28, 1972, lot 46;
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York;
Henry Pearlman collection, New York;
Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York;
Ludovic-Rodolfe Pissarro and Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro, Son Art-Son Oeuvre, Paris, 1939, vol. 1-2, p. 296, no. 1564, illustrated;
John Rewald,Camille Pissarro, Letters to His Son Lucien, edited with the assistance of Lucien Pissarro, 3rd ed., New York, 1972, pp. 49-51.
This lively sketch depicts Pissarro's nephew, his half-sister's son, Alfred Isaacson. The artist's own son, Lucien, stayed with Alfred and his family when in London. Writing to Lucien in a letter dated December 28, 1883, Pissarro mentions this portrait, stating that it is a good resemblance (see Letters in Literature above). The spirited letter mostly addresses popular philosophical matters, revealing the artist's passion for the groundbreaking liberal ideas of the day. Pissarro promises to send his son a copy of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal and also encourages Alfred to read books on socialism as well as the works of John Stuart Mill: "They are easy reading and should give him [Alfred] a general idea of the movement which points to the new road our society must take" (Letters, p. 50).
This work will be included in the forthcoming Pissarro Catalogue critique of gouaches and pastels being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute. The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts.
Sheet is hinged at top edge verso and is trimmed unevenly across all edges; a small 1.25 x .5 inch repaired tear at top right edge, not visible when matted and framed; spots of discoloration on verso and a number of these show through to the recto in background and body of figure; surface soiling along extreme edges and a few soft handling creases at lower right edge; framed under glass. Framed Dimensions 30 X 27.75 X 3.5 Inches
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