PISSARRO Camille (1830 ; 1903)
Les boulevards extérieurs. Effet de neige.
toile (peinture à l’huile) H. 54 cm ; l. 65 cm (sans cadre) ; H. 74.2 cm ; l. 85.2 cm ; E. 6.5 cm ; VOLUM. 0,0411 (avec cadre)
Signé et daté en bas à gauche : Pissarro 79.
don Donop de Monchy Eugène et Victorine (donateurs) (23/05/1940 acquis)
Executed in 1879, this view of Paris under snow is one of Pissarro’s first paintings of the French capital. Indeed it was not until 1893 that he really took the city as a full-fledged subject in series that he would continue working on for the rest of his career. That makes this work exceptional. The boulevard, one of the many recently opened up by Baron Haussmann, is not identified but could well have been located close to the artist’s pied-à-terre in Montmartre. The framing and the viewpoint, only just higher than the scene, suggest that Pissarro may have been observing from the top of a stationary coach the vehicles, leisured walkers, and workers struggling forward through the snow. The artist conveys this elusive substance by juxtaposing touches of white, yellow, blue, and brown, concerning himself more with the effects of the snow than its simple perception. Paradoxically, Pissarro, who is often thought of as the painter of rural life, was also the Impressionist who most frequently represented the city.