ProvenanceSale, Christie's, Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale Including Property from the Estate of Edgar M. Bronfman, 6 May 2014
Private Collection, California
LiteratureStockport Express, 7 January 1932.
The Rochdale Observer, 29 October 1932.
L.R. Pissarro and L. Venturi, Camille Pissarro, son art--son oeuvre, Paris, 1939, vol. I, p. 130, no. 356 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. 71).
R.R. Brettell, Pissarro and Pontoise: The Painter in a Landscape, New Haven, 1990, pp. 93-95 (illustrated, p. 95, fig. 86).
J. Pissarro and C. Durand-...More...Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro: Catalogue critique des peintures, Paris, 2005, vol. II, p. 329, no. 456 (illustrated in color).
After taking refuge in England during the Franco-Prussian war and Paris Commune of 1870-71, Camille Pissarro returned to settle at his former residence at Pontoise. He was surprised that the landscape had been substantially altered. Just across from the Hermitage quarter where he had settled, a large factory with its smoke piling skyward from the distillation of beets had been built at Chalon et Cie. It proved to be a solitary modern formal element he tackled with considerable energy in 1873. Direct representations of industry were uncommon, so that not surprisingly, they are in stark with Monet’s contemporaneous work at Argenteuil, where the younger painter devoted his efforts to painting sunshine and parasols, sailboats and well-appointed bourgeois strolling along promenades.
Le Quai de Pothuis a Pontoise is one of four closely related views (Pissarro and Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, nos. 454-458) painted in 1876. The factories here are not a jarring presence and do not reshape the landscape. It is clear that signs of industry interested him not as statements of vile or ugly encroachment, but as substantive facts worth commitment to paper, board or canvas. On the other hand, given his devotion to Millet and peasantry, these canvases advance a fuller appreciation of his commensurate preoccupation with the common laborer. Yet to a contemporary eye, Le Quai de Pothuis a Pontoise seems far less seductive as a political statement than one that seeks to adopt the integration of modern forms into the bucolic landscape.
Le Quai de Pothuis a Pontoise was painted from the left bank of the Oise looking upstream from the l’Hermitage quarter near his residence and wife and growing family. Pissarro seldom sacrificed compositional considerations in a headlong quest for color effects, but it is important to remember Le Quai de Pothuis a Pontoise was painted in 1876 — the year of the second Impressionist exhibition and at a time when the painters displayed a growing interest in light, color and atmosphere. With those considerations, Le Quai de Pothuis a Pontoise is a consummate example of Pissarro’s knack for creating highly unified studies; here, using to great advantage the strong diagonal lines of the quay attenuated by the verticality of smokestacks and the barge mast that add rhythm and structure to a composition finely balanced within the parlance of Impressionism at this decisive stage of its development.
Camille Pissarro, “Quai du pothuis a pontoise après pluie”, 1876, oil on canvas, 46 x 55 cm, The Whitworth, The University of Manchester
Camille Pissarro, “Vue de Pontoise, quai du Pothuis”, 1867, oil on canvas, 31 x 45.5 cm, Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Postcard, circa 1900
- The graph by Art Market Research shows that since 1976, paintings by Pissarro have increased at a 5% annual rate of return.
- Camille Pissarro has enormous growth potential. He is priced today where Monet and Cezanne were priced 20 years ago.
- A 2021 exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston displays a juxtaposition of Impressionist and post-impressionist works, including that of Pissarro. Museums continue to showcase the importance of Pissarro in art history, driving the strong demand for his work.
- Pissarro’s work is seen by many curators and scholars as an important bridge artist between the earlier 19th Century “Barbizon School” and the Impressionists. His prominent inclusion of the French peasantry in his work offers a social critique of his society and the potential dangers of rapid industrialization.
Top Results at Auction
Comparable Paintings Sold at Auction
- A later work with a more Pointilist/Post-Impressionist style than the earlier Impressionist masterpiece, “Le Quai de Pothuis a Pontoise”.
- A larger canvas, though not a Pontoise subject. Pontoise is one of the most important locations in the development of Impressionism.
- A desirable Pontoise subject, including figures working in the fields, which adds value. Our painting also features a figure in the field.
- Comparable in date and quality to “Le Quai de Pothuis a Pontoise”, though larger.
- A hillside Pontoise scene that shows the effects of diffused light.
- Comparable quality and subject, though slightly larger.
- Sold at auction for close to $3M six years ago, and the Pissarro market has increased since then.
- An exceptional painting executed four years before “Le Quai de Pothuis a Pontoise”.
- Both paintings address French country life and an Impressionist approach to capturing the light at a single moment.
- Sold for over $4.3M nearly ten years ago, and the Pissarro market has increased since then.