Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)
Property from a Private New York Collection
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)

Femme lavant une casserole

Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)
Femme lavant une casserole
signed and dated 'C. Pissarro 79' (lower left)
oil on canvas
28 7/8 x 23 ¾ in. (73 x 60 cm.)
Painted in 1879
Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Paris (acquired from the artist, 14 January 1881).
Catholina Lambert, Paterson, New Jersey (acquired from the above, 18 April 1888); Estate sale, Auctioneer T.E. Kirby, The Plaza Hotel, New York, 21-24 February 1916, lot 151.
Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York (acquired at the above sale and until 1950).
Private collection, Switzerland.
Sam Salz, New York.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner, circa 1960.
E. Veron, "Cinquième Exposition des Indépendants" in L'Art, Paris, 1880, vol. II, p. 94 (titled Récureuse de casserole).
"Pissarro at Durand-Ruel's" in American Art News, 13 December 1919, vol. XVIII, no. 8, p. 7 (titled Laveuse).
L.R. Pissarro and L. Venturi, Camille Pissarro: Son artson oeuvre, Paris, 1939, vol. I, p. 148, no. 473 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. 96).
"Marlborough Fine Art Ltd." in Art News, April 1956, vol. 55, no. 2, p. 7 (illustrated).
C. Lloyd, Camille Pissarro, New York, 1981, p. 92 (titled Woman cleaning a saucepan).
R. Berson, The New Painting: Impressionism 1874-1886, San Francisco, 1996, vol. II, p. 152, no. V-133 (illustrated, p. 169; titled Récureuse de casserole).
J. Pissarro and C. Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro: Catalogue critique des peintures, Paris, 2005, vol. II, p. 400, no. 590 (illustrated in color).
Paris, Rue des Pyramides, Cinquième exposition de peinture, April 1880, p. 13, no. 133 (titled Récureuse de casserole).
Paris, Boulevard de la Madeleine, Oeuvres de C. Pissarro, May 1883.
New York, The Lotos Club, Paintings by French & American Luminists, December 1910, p. 5, no. 23 (titled Washing Day).
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Recently Imported Works by Pissarro, December 1919, no. 5 (titled Laveuse).
The Baltimore Museum of Art, C. Pissarro, November 1936, no. 5 (titled Washerwoman).
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, In Aid of the Save the Children Fund and Children and Youth Aliyah, June-July 1955, p. 12, no. 8 (illustrated, p. 15).

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Jessica Fertig
Jessica Fertig

Lot Essay

Included in the seminal Fifth Impressionist Exhibition that took place in 1880, Camille Pissarro’s Femme lavant une casserole encapsulates the quintessential Impressionist style and subject matter of the artist’s figure paintings. As well as rustic, quotidian scenes of the rural French landscape, Pissarro frequently painted women absorbed in daily activities. Indeed, from 1879, the year that he painted the present work, Pissarro began to create a number of monumental figure studies that reflected his growing interest in the primacy of the human form within the landscape setting, a theme that would continue throughout his career. Here, a woman is framed by blossoming shrubs and flowers, bending over slightly as she washes objects in a bowl. The theme of the washerwoman had appeared frequently in Pissarro’s art from 1875 onwards, a reflection of the artist’s desire to capture rural life in his art.
Femme lavant une casserole demonstrates the way in which Pissarro’s painterly technique changed at the end of the 1870s. Pissarro replaced his painterly, Impressionist style with small, comma-like brushstrokes that he built up in layers on the surface of the canvas. “There is little about it that is fleeting or ephemeral,” Richard Brettell has described Pissarro’s surfaces after 1879, “It is clear from the sheer multiplicity and the insistent minuteness of the strokes that the surface took a long time to create” (R. Brettell, Pissarro and Pontoise: The Painter in a Landscape, New Haven, 1990, p. 154). The painter’s artistic exchanges with Cézanne and intense collaboration with Edgar Degas and Paul Gauguin in 1879 further fueled Pissarro’s nascent concerns. Describing this moment of transition, Brettell has written: “All these interests suggest a fundamental questioning of the kind of painting normally associated with Impressionism, the plein-air sketch, and a more complicated, highly mediated relationship with 'reality' than a simply optical one” (ibid., p. 184).
Paul Durand-Ruel acquired Femme lavant une casserole directly from Pissarro in 1881, before selling it, a few years later, to one of the leading Impressionist collectors of the time, the Yorkshire-born Catholina Lambert Paterson, who, in 1851 left Britain for a new life in America, where he acquired a large collection of Impressionist works, including Monet’s L’Escalier.

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