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)

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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

Bought from the artist by (Durand-Ruel, Paris, France) on 05 October 1886; (Duval-Fleury, Paris) on 25 March 1918. {1} Possibly in the collection of Wilhelm Hansen [1868-1936], Ordrupgaard, near Copenhagen, Denmark. {2} Private collection, Paris and Belgium, from about 1920 until 2002; sold through (Galerie Daniel Malingue, Paris); Purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2002.

{1} Joachim Pissarro, Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro: Critical Catalogue of Paintings, vol. 3, Milan: Wildenstein Institute, 2005, p. 543. This information is based on material in the Durand-Ruel archives in Paris, and was also supplied to the IMA in correspondence with Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts between April and September 2002.
{2} Hansen was a prominent collector of French painting and a business partner of Emile Duval-Fleury. On their connections see Haavard Rostrup, “Wilhelm Hansen et sa collection de tableaux impressionnistes du Museé d’Ordrupgaard,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts, no.1358, vol. 99 (March 1982), pp.101-108, especially p. 104, and the essay by Anne-Birgitte Fonsmark, "Ordrupgaard: The collection of Wilhelm Hansen and his wife Henny Hansen” in the exhibition catalogue The Age of Impressionism: European Paintings from Ordrupgaard Copenhagen, The Walters Art Museum, 2002, pp. 8-23, especially p. 13. The catalogue of Hansen’s collection by Karl Madsen, Katalog over Wilhelm Hansen’s Samling: Fransk Malerkunst, Ordrupgaard 1918, lists 8 paintings by Pissarro, but none matching this title, description or date.

Object Information

artist
Camille Pissarro (French, 1830-1903)
creation date
1886
materials
oil on canvas
dimensions
25-5/8 x 31-7/8 in. (canvas)
37-1/4 x 43-1/2 x 3 in. (framed)
mark descriptions
Signed and dated, lower left: C. Pissarro. 1886
other title
Le grand noyer (The Big Walnut Tree)
accession number
2002.76
credit line
Anonymous
copyright
Public Domain
collection
European Painting and Sculpture 1800-1945
colors

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