Estate of the artist.
Veuve Rodo Pissarro, Paris (by descent from the above and until at least 1956).
Acquired by the family of the present owner, circa 1950.
For Pissarro, drawing was an activity which was central and indispensable to his art. As he wrote to his son, Lucien, in 1883, “It is good to draw everything, anything…When you have trained yourself to see a tree truly, you know how to look at the human figure.” This statement underscores a radical innovation of the Impressionists: the redistribution of the hierarchical roles and functions of all media, and a redefinition of drawings as autonomous works of art rather than merely ancillary techniques to prepare for the creation of a nobler end. Amongst the Impressionists, Pissarro, along with Edgar Degas, pushed an interest in diverse techniques, media and processes the furthest.
Christie’s is honored to present the following selection of works on paper by Pissarro, which demonstrates the artist’s lifelong interest in drawing. He was against picturesque or romantic notions of nature, and his drawings are accordingly populated with peasants, field workers, and ordinary people going about their daily chores. Pissarro strongly believed in the representation of the world in its raw, unadorned form, and his obsession with drawing lied in its lack of artifice, false effects or deception. For Pissarro, the act of drawing held with it pure, straight sincerity.
We would like to thank Joachim Pissarro for his assistance in cataloguing these works.
Property from an Important Palm Beach Collection
Williamstown, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and San Francisco, Legion of Honor, Pissarro’s People, June 2011-January 2012.