Image Resources | Currently on View in Robert H. and Ina M. Mohlman Gallery

The House of the Deaf Woman and the Belfry at Eragny (La Maison de la Sourde et Le Clocher d'Eragny)

Camille Pissarro (French, 1830-1903)

In 1885 Impressionist Camille Pissarro adopted Seurat's revolutionary new methods. The patterns of sunlight and shadow in this landscape demonstrate his deft division of warm and cool hues and use of lively dotted strokes. Its quality and size make this rare canvas a key example of Neo-Impressionism.

Set in the yard of Pissarro's home in Normandy, the vista shows the steeple of the parish church rising beyond his neighbor's brick house.

The frame was reproduced according to Pissarro's specifications, blending his preference for white versus his dealer's demand for gold.

Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

By 1885, Camille Pissarro was an experienced painter with a solid reputation as an Impressionist. That fall he met the Neo-Impressionist pioneer Georges Seurat, and, despite his dealer's protests and his colleagues' disapproval, he eagerly adopted the young artist's revolutionary new methods. Pissarro considered Seurat's principles, derived from recent optical studies, to be logical extensions of the Impressionists' treatment of light and color.

Pissarro painted this lush landscape during the summer of 1886, at the peak of his enthusiasm for Neo-Impressionism. Its brushwork, one of the artist's most consistently dotted efforts, demonstrates Seurat's method for dividing contrasting warm and cool hues. He used small points of violet, blue, and deep green for the shadows and stippled dots of yellow, rose, and orange to indicate the dazzling effect of the morning sun. The title refers to his neighbor's home and the spire of the church in Eragny, the tiny Normandy village where Pissarro lived with his large family.

The artist clearly considered this composition an important work, as he submitted it to high-profile exhibitions in 1887. By 1889, however, frustrated with the laborious method, he returned to a more spontaneous approach. As a result, Pissarro's Neo-Impressionist paintings are rare, and the quality, size, and execution of this canvas make it a key work in the history of the movement.

I explained to M. Manet, who probably didn't understand anything I said, that Seurat has something new to contribute, which these gentlemen, despite their talent, are unable to appreciate.
-Camille Pissarro, 1886

Object Information

Camille Pissarro (French, 1830-1903)
creation date
oil on canvas
25-5/8 x 31-7/8 in.
37-1/4 x 43-1/2 x 3 in. (framed)
mark descriptions
signed and dated, L.L.: C Pissarro 1886
other title
Le grand noyer (The Big Walnut Tree)
accession number
credit line
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture to 1945