Rue Saint-Honoré, Sun Effect, Afternoon (1898)
Oil on canvas
This vertically oriented canvas depicts an urban street scene, specifically a large square at the intersection of two avenues, painted from an elevated viewpoint. The long avenue on the left side of the composition recedes sharply into the distance, framed on either side by tall, multistoried buildings with street level storefronts. In the right foreground, a fountain is positioned in the middle of the square on a paved circular base planted with tall trees; a tall streetlamp on a smaller circular base is positioned just in front of the fountain. In the right middle ground, a band of Haussmann-style Parisian buildings stretches horizontally across the composition. The trajectory of the second avenue is suggested by the angle of the building at the far right. Numerous clusters of sparsely painted figures and horse-drawn carriages populate the streets and paved islands. The palette is a harmony of muted pastel tones punctuated by the dark brown and black forms of people, horses, and carriages. The brushwork is a mixture of short and long strokes rapidly applied in a loose, sketch-like manner.
Chestnut Grove at Louveciennes
(Bois de châtaigniers à Louveciennes)
Oil on canvas (1872)
"Pissarro lived at Louveciennes, a suburb to the southwest of Paris, from 1869 to 1872. His work from this period is characterized by an intense interest in shadow and structure. In this painting, the diagonal of a battered trunk interrupts the verticals of the other trees while strong lines of shadow animate the ground. In the distance in the center is part of the aqueduct of Marly that originally transported water from the river Seine to the royal gardens at Versailles.
During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), Pissarro fled to England. The studio he left behind at Louveciennes was used as quarters for Prussian soldiers, who destroyed large numbers of his pictures."
The Garden of Les Mathurins at Pontoise, 1876
The woman in the painting is believed to be Maria Deraismes a prominent author and political figure in 1860s France who fought for women’s rights and who was a friend of Pissarro.
"This painting is an unusual subject for Pissarro, who typically preferred more rustic scenes. Here we see a comfortable, middle-class environment, whose peace and prosperity are enjoyed by the well-dressed woman in white. To her right is a glass reflecting ball, and the arrangement of the garden demonstrates the 19th-century fashion for flowers with bright, strong colors. At the time this picture was painted, Pissarro was attempting to give more structure to his loose, Impressionist style. He does so through the solid contrasts of complementary colors-red and green, blue and orange-and dense brushwork applied with small strokes." -- Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
“Everything is beautiful, all that matters is to be able to interpret.” — Camille Pissarro