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Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)

Éntrée du port du Havre et le briselames ouest, temps gris lumineux

Details
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)
Éntrée du port du Havre et le briselames ouest, temps gris lumineux
signed and dated 'C. Pissarro. 1903' (lower right)
oil on canvas
21 3/8 x 25 5/8 in. (54.3 x 65 cm.)
Painted in 1903
Provenance
Julie Pissarro, Éragny (by descent from the artist, 1904).
Georges Manzana-Pissarro (gift from the above, 1921).
Galerie Moos, Geneva.
Anon. sale, Christie's, New York, 16 May 1977, lot 29.
Private collection, United States.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Literature
J. Pissarro and C. Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro: Catalogue critique des peintures, Paris, 2005, vol. III, p. 918, no. 1519 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

In the summer of 1903, Camille Pissarro traveled to the bustling port of Le Havre, where he produced a series of views of the harbor that is filled with energy. Le Havre, and especially its harbor, had been the subject of paintings by many other artists, including Eugène Boudin and Claude Monet. Although Pissarro found the harbor changed from their day, he was nonetheless intrigued by the endless movements of boats and people. This filled him with great enthusiasm, the scene constantly changing before his eyes as ships and workers came and left, each fleeting scene presenting the artist with a new subject matter from the same view. Reflecting this, Pissarro painted the series of Le Havre pictures, of which Éntrée du port du Havre et le briselames ouest, temps gris lumineux is one, all taken from roughly the same vantage point--his room in the Hôtel Continental. This created a series that combines the rigorous discipline of the analysis of the same view with the ever-changing permutations of people and boats.

Pissarro's pictures from Le Havre showed the artist, now approaching the end of his life, still fuelled with his thirst to innovate. Indeed, the series format that he used was itself more intensely focused than any of his previous groups of works. These works have often been the objects of praise, most recently in a perspicacious analysis from Joachim Pissarro, showing as they do Pissarro's ability to reinvent himself and his art even in the last year of his life. Pissarro was the Impressionist par excellence. In Éntrée du port du Havre et le briselames ouest, temps gris lumineux, the gray weather and the industrial urbanity of the scene show that he was willing to disrupt the traditional aesthetic sense so favored by his companions, instead creating a work that is a lyrical paean to the real world, to real weather, and to modernity.

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