Camille Pissaro, Effet de neige à Osny, “La ferme à Noël”, 1882

Camille PISSARO

(Charlotte, 1830 - 1903, Paris)

Effet de neige à Osny, "La ferme à Noël"

1882

Oil on canvas,38 x 46 cm

Signed lower left "C. Pissarro" and dated "82"

Presentation

Effet de niege à Osny, “La Ferme à Noël” is a superb example of Pissarro’s stylistic experimentation of the early 1880s. The village of Osny is situated on a high plain several miles from the artist’s home in the river valley of Pontoise. Pissarro moved his family into temporary quarters here toward the end of 1882, partly as a stimulus to find fresh subjects and partly out of concern for his family’s health. The reduced emphasis on recession and spatial depth in this work is characteristic of Pissarro’s temptation to move beyond the spontaneous naturalism that had defined his work of the previous decade.

This painting also demonstrates the artist’s increasing fascination with the human figure during this period. “Whereas before they are carefully integrated in surroundings, now the human figure dominates the composition often at the expense of the backgrounds” (Pissarro (exhibition catalogue), Hayward Gallery, London, 1980, p. 116). Although he moves away from the viewer, the male figure here is central to the composition. Indeed, his position and movement on the snow-covered path provides both a link between the flattened foreground and background and a sense of narrative within the scene. It is no wonder then that among the circle of Impressionists, and in particular at this juncture of his career, Pissarro was often considered the bridge between landscape artists such as Monet and figural artists like Degas.

As for the application of paint itself, Pissarro began to use “small, cross-hatched strokes of separate hues, one over the other, which built up dense webbing of color and texture, like flattened, matted grass” (ibid., p. 158). As a result of this technique, Pissarro has rendered the surface of this canvas with lively impasto. His delicate mixtures of pastel blues, purples and greens conjure the crisp atmosphere of a winter’s day while his short, textured brushwork betray the earliest signs of development of a Neo-Impressionist technique, which would shock the Parisian avant-garde at the Eighth and final Impressionist Exhibition in 1886.

Condition report:

The painting is in very good condition.

Provenance:

Dr. Georges de Bellio, Paris & Bucharest

Victorine de Bellio, Paris (by descent from the above circa 1930)

Galerie Max Kaganovitch, Paris (acquired circa 1957)

Abraham & Nadia Jaglom, New York (acquired from the above in 1965)

Private collection, Switzerland

Bibliography:

Remus Niculescu, “Georges de Bellio, l’ami des impressionistes,” in Revue roumaine d’histoire de l’art, vol. I, Bucharest, 1964, no. 2, p. 241

Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro & Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro, son art—son oeuvre, Paris, 1939, vol. I, no. 555, p. 159; vol. II, no. 555, illustrated pl. 115

Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro, Catalogue critique des peintures, vol. II, Paris, 2005, no. 670, illustrated p. 449

Exhibitions:

Paris, Boulevard de la Madeleine, Oeuvres de C. Pissarro, 1883, no. 23 (possibly)

Paris, Musée de l’Orangerie, Centenaire de la naissance de Camille Pissarro, 1930, no. 71

Paris, Galerie Max Kaganovitch, Oeuvres choisis du XIXe siècle, 1950, no. 28

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Pissarro, 1956, no. 44

Berner, Kunstmuseum, Camille Pissarro, 1956, no. 59

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