ProvenanceErnst Poensgen, Dusseldorf, acquired in Paris, before 1914
Adolf Wuster, Munich, by 1954
Private Collection, Switzerland
M. Knoedler & Co., New York, jointly purchased with Galerie Nathan, Zurich, July 17, 1956
Private Collection, New Jersey, acquired August 31, 1959
LiteratureJoachim Pissarro and Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro, Catalogue critique des peintures, vol. III, Paris, 2005, no. 1314, illus. in color p. 812
Le Jardin des Tuileries, après-midi, soleil belongs to a series of canvases Camille Pissarro painted from the apartment he rented at 204 rue de Rivoli during his second stay there in 1899 and 1900. Unlike Monet, Pissarro’s approach to serial painting did not involve methodically working several canvases simultaneously to capture a single motif in varying light and atmospheric conditions. Instead, he varied his point of view — sometimes ever so slightly turning his gaze to the right or left working within a wide range of atmospheric conditions, the motifs completely autonomous and self-sufficient. This particular apartment afforded the opportunity to move from one window to another and three distinct views that included this frontal view of Grand Bassin des Tuilere, another of the Pavillon de Flore and the southern wing Denon wing of the Louvre, and lastly to east the Pavillon de Marsan on the left, the Jardin du Carrousel in the center and the Denon wing in the distance. The possibilities clearly excited the septuagenarian. In December 1898 he wrote his son Lucien that, “we got an apartment opposite the Tuileries with a magnificent view on the garden, the Louvre on the left ,the dome of Invalides on the right, the arrow of Sainte-Clotilde behind the bouquet of chestnut trees — it’s absolutely charming.” (Pissarro, Hayward Gallery, London, 1980, page 146)
The view faces the network of circular and rectilinear features surrounding Grand Bassin des Tuilere located in the eastern section of the gardens. Pissarro cropped and otherwise manipulated this perspective on fifteen of the twenty-eight canvases he produced of Tuileries. Designed by seventeenth-century landscape architect Andre Le Norte, the formality of these interlocking elements do not betray Pissarro’s well-regarded knack for avoiding cleverly arranged compositions in part because he fragmented the austere, symmetrical layout. He also achieved a natural elegance by accentuating the horizon and lending a stronger sense of a panoramic expanse and because he utilized a rather sly compositional device by ‘squaring up’ the view to the distanced twin spires of the neo-gothic basilica Sainte-Clotilde, a centered point of interest that rises above that deep expanse reinforced by strong diagonals. Lastly, he forgoes any touristy affectations by limiting figural references to the actual garden sculptures intact at Tuileries though admittedly, it is difficult to discern whether or not the painter coyly added a warm body or two amidst mythological deities of stone or bronze.
The view is southwesterly, the shadows suggesting Pissarro worked this canvas during the waning hours of a late spring afternoon. He deepens our appreciation of that time of season and day by creating an intoxicating optical mix of predominately analogous cool-toned hues plied together — soft greens and yellows, as well as tamped-down blues and mauves that coalesce into an atmospheric halo-like effect. It comes as close to one of nature’s most glorious lighting phenomenon; a harmonic sensation brought to full effect here by the airy arboreal effect of the tree branches that rake the sky and provide veils of an ameliorating guise.
After 1889 when Camille Pissarro began to suffer from a chronic eye infection and found himself increasingly unable to work out of doors, he painted separated from the world by windows frequently traveling and living a life tethered to hotels in order to vary his subjects. Le Jardin des Tuileries, après-midi, soleil was executed with that profound physical deficit. Yet it retains all the vitality and dexterity of the best Impressionism of the period. That is no surprise. In a career that spanned the second half of the nineteenth century, Camille Pissarro is as celebrated for his ever-present freshness of eye and spirit as his well-known openness to new ideas. We tend to think of Pissarro as the most rural of the Impressionist painters, yet he produced eleven urban series encompassing more than 300 cityscapes during the last decade of his life. Le Jardin des Tuileries, après-midi, soleil may come as a revelation to some, but it is among those paintings that establish his place as a painter of his own epoch that found the sublime everywhere.
Camille Pissarro, c. 1890
204 rue de Rivoli, Paris. From this apartment Pissarro painted his view of Jardin des Tuileries
Photograph of Tuileries Garden, Paris
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), “Le jardin des Tuileries,effet de neige”, 1900, oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 21 1/4 in.
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903),”The Bassin des Tuileries, Afternoon”, 1900, oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 36 1/4 in.
- The top Pissarro paintings sold at auction vary widely by date range and subject matter, indicating that the foremost considerations for Pissarro collectors are quality and aesthetics.
- Beautiful examples by the artist are the most desirable.
- The top 8 paintings sold at auction, shown here, include cityscapes, landscapes, and figurative paintings, and were created from the 1870s to 1901 (2 years before Pissarro’s death in 1903).
- The record price for a Pissarro painting at auction was set in February 2014 when Le boulevard Montmartre, matinée de printemps (1897) sold for over $32 million USD.