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Le Jardin des Tuileries

Le Jardin des Tuileries
signed and dated 'C. Pissarro. 1899' (lower right)
oil on canvas
25 7⁄8 x 36 1⁄2 in. (65.8 x 92.8 cm.)
Painted in 1899
Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Paris (acquired from the artist, 18 May 1899).
Paul Cassirer, Berlin (acquired from the above, 1910).
Georg Caspari, Munich (acquired from the above, 26 July 1917).
Galeries Georges Petit, Paris.
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Paris (acquired from the above, 24 February 1926).
Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Paris (acquired from the above, 23 June 1926).
Mr. and Mrs. Chester Beatty, London (acquired from the above, 17 January 1929 and until at least 1955).
Wildenstein & Co. Inc., New York (by February 1968).
Harry W. Anderson, Atherton, California (acquired from the above, January 1969).
Marlborough Gallery, Inc., New York.
Acquired from the above by the late owners, 20 March 1973.
L'Etoile belge, 1 March 1901.
J. Leclerq, "Correspondance de Belgique. Salon de la Libre Esthétique" in La Chronique des arts et de la curiosité, 6 April 1901, no. 14, p. 109.
C. Kunstler, "Camille Pissarro" in Le Figaro: Supplément artistique, 8 March 1928, no. 184, p. 324 (illustrated).
L.R. Pissarro and L. Venturi, Camille Pissarro: Son art—son oeuvre, Paris, 1939, vol. I, p. 234, no. 1100 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. 219).
C. Kunstler, Camille Pissarro, Milan, 1974, p. 63 (illustrated in color).
J. Bailly-Herzberg, Correspondance de Camille Pissarro, Paris, 1991, vol. V, p. 26, letter 1637, no. 5.
R.R. Brettell and J. Pissarro, The Impressionist and the City: Pissarro's Series Paintings, exh. cat., Dallas Museum of Art, 1992, p. 213.
J. Pissarro and C. Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro: Catalogue critique des peintures, Paris, 2005, vol. III, p. 785, no. 1262 (illustrated in color).
(possibly) Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., C. Pissarro, January-February 1901, no. 9.
Brussels, Huitième Exposition du Salon de la Libre Esthétique, March 1901, p. 36, no. 371.
Venice, Palazzo dell'Esposizione, L'arte mondiale alla V esposizione di Venezia, April-October 1903, p. 217 (illustrated).
Helsinki, Exposition d'artistes français et belges, January 1904, p. 12, no. 42.
Vienna, Galerie Arnot, Französische Impressionisten, October-November 1911, no. 12.
Kunsthalle Basel, Französische Impressionisten, January 1912, no. 104.
Berlin, Galerie Paul Cassirer, Camille Pissarro, March 1914, no. 33.
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Tableaux par Camille Pissarro, February-March 1928, no. 88.
London, Royal Academy of Arts, Exhibition of French Art (1200-1900), January-March 1932, no. 510.
(possibly) London, National Gallery, 1956-1958 (on loan).
Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, The Collection of Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass, March-May 2015, p. 48, no. 23 (illustrated in color, p. 49).

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Emily Kaplan
Emily Kaplan Senior Vice President, Senior Specialist, Co-Head of 20th Century Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Painted in 1899, Le Jardin des Tuileries, matinée de printemps is one of Camille Pissarro’s valedictory series of urban cityscapes. These works crowned him as the leading Impressionist chronicler of fin-de-siècle Paris. Unlike his former Impressionist comrades who had by this time turned inwards, away from the spectacle of modern life—Edgar Degas to the haloed inner sanctum of his studio, Claude Monet to his horticultural paradise in Giverny, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir to an arcadian world of classical bathers—in the final decades of his life, Pissarro, the pre-eminent landscape painter of rural France, made a radical about turn, embracing the urban tumult and architectural beauty of Paris, as well as the Norman harbor towns of Rouen, Dieppe, and Le Havre. “Not until Robert Delaunay became obsessed with Paris as a visual emblem of modernity in 1910,” Richard R. Brettell has written, “was Pissarro’s role as the primary painter of the modern dimensions of French cities challenged” (R.R. Brettell and J. Pissarro, op. cit., 1992, p. xviii).
In the mid-1890s, after more than a decade of painting almost exclusively at rural Eragny, Pissarro found himself seeking a new type of landscape. “I toil away,” he lamented, “without finding what I’m looking for. Manifestly, meadow motifs lack that distance which gives so much charm to a landscape; it’s too much of a fragment, too closed!” (quoted in J. Pissarro and C. Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, op. cit., 2005, p. 270).
Paris provided the perfect alternative. In January 1897, Pissarro arrived in the capital to give his dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, a group of gouaches he had commissioned. Though the deal fell through, he decided to stay on in the city, taking a room at the Hôtel Garnier in the Eighth Arrondissement. From there, he painted the view from his window, which looked out over the rue Saint-Lazare and the place du Havre. He re-located in February to the Hôtel de Russie, which offered a plunging perspective on the Boulevard Montmartre. A third Parisian series followed in January-April 1898, painted from the Hôtel du Louvre overlooking the Avenue de l’Opéra.
By this time, Pissarro was firmly committed to his new urban motifs and innovative serial methodology. Instead of scouting out yet another hotel room, he decided to rent an apartment in Paris, enabling him to stay for the entire winter and spring and to bring his family with him. “I am going to buy some furniture so that we can go to Paris every winter as soon as the bad weather returns,” he reported to his son Lucien. “I am also hoping that your mother, Cocotte, and Paul will be less bored than if they stayed on their own in Eragny, which is really not very jolly in winter” (quoted in ibid., p. 103).
After an extended search, Pissarro finally found a flat at 204, rue de Rivoli that suited his criteria, though it did not come cheaply. It was spacious enough for his wife Julie and their two youngest children, and its south-facing windows offered him a splendid variety of pictorial motifs—“with plenty of Parisian character,” as he had sought. “We have secured an apartment opposite the Tuileries,” he wrote to Lucien in December 1898, “with a magnificent view of the garden, the Louvre to the left, the houses at the bottom, the embankments behind the trees in the garden, the dome of the Invalides to the right, the spires of Sainte-Clothilde behind the clump of chestnut trees—it’s most attractive. I shall have a beautiful series to work on” (quoted in ibid., p. 103).
This panorama formed the basis for Pissarro’s longest and most varied urban series to date, consisting of twenty-eight canvases created during two separate campaigns (January-June 1899 and November 1899-May 1900). Looking directly out his window, he painted the Grand Bassin of the Tuileries, playing on the manifold variations of season, weather, and time of day to impart a unique character to each of the fifteen works on this theme. The present painting depicts the Grand Bassin on a tranquil, mid-spring morning under delicate, diffuse light, with just a few people strolling to and fro. Turning obliquely and then more sharply to the left, Pissarro created two smaller sub-series focusing on the Pavillon de Flore and the Jardin du Carrousel, each with the venerable façade of the Louvre in the middle distance. “The greater diversity of formats, motifs, techniques, and effects was a result of the fact that Pissarro could now take more time,” Joachim Pissarro has written, “to meditate on and absorb his work” (ibid., p. 103).
Unlike the artist’s earlier Parisian series, which treated city streets teeming with pedestrians and carriages, these new views develop the non-urban aspect of the metropolitan space. “Pissarro was now looking for new contrasts, new oppositions of themes—the parks where the city negates itself, opens itself on to nature” (ibid., p. 104). The compositional basis for the present painting is found in the interlocking circular and rectilinear patterns of Le Nôtre’s Tuileries, which confer on the view a solid, architectonic strength. The magnificently symmetrical layout of the formally planned gardens, however, is fragmented and disrupted here—forever in flux, like the modern metropolis itself. The organic forms of the trees in full leaf counterbalance the linearity of the sculpted gardens, while the twin steeples of Sainte-Clothilde in the distance punctuate the vast expanse of sky.
Pissarro completed this quietly luminous springtime scene by 17 May 1899, when he included it on a list of eleven paintings that he offered to Durand-Ruel for purchase. The dealer bought the whole lot the following day for a lump sum of 27,000 francs. In January 1901, this canvas was featured in a solo show of Pissarro’s work at Galerie Durand-Ruel, where his new views of Paris attracted particular enthusiasm. As François Thiébault-Sisson of Le Temps wrote, “He renders the delicate modulations in his views of the Tuileries Gardens with absolute mastery. Here, truly, he triumphs” (quoted in ibid., p. 299).

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