Painted around 1885, Le Clocher de Bazincourt shows the steeple of Bazincourt, the village neighbouring Eragny, where Camille Pissarro had settled the previous year. Leaving Osny in April 1884, Pissarro and his family had 'made up our minds on Eragny-sur-Epte. The house is superb and inexpensive: a thousand francs, with garden and meadow. It's two hours from Paris. I found the region much more beautiful than Compiègne' (JBH1, no. 222, quoted in Pissarro & Snollaerts, op. cit., p. 499). The journey from Pissarro's new home in Eragny to the neighbouring village of Bazincourt took only fifteen minutes or so on foot, and over the next decades Pissarro would paint more views of Bazincourt, with its characteristic steeple, than of any other motif in his oeuvre (Pissarro & Snollaerts, op.cit., p. 500).
However while painting the same motif, the changing times of day, seasons, years and weather offered Pissarro endless opportunities for diversity and variation. A comparison between the present work and a comparable view of the steeple from the opposite side, painted slightly earlier in the same year (P&S 787; Saint Louis Art Museum, St Louis; fig. 1), shows not only a variation in these effects, but also the style and technique with which the artist has experimented.
Painted around the time that Pissarro met Georges Seurat, in contrast to the earlier work, Le Clocher de Bazincourt also shows the growing influence of Neo-Impressionism on the artist, 'the small, evenly distributed brushstrokes that are sometimes accorded a specific directional flower foreshadowing the pointilliste technique' (C. Lloyd, p. 103). Pissarro was unique in being the only Impressionist who would also exhibited with the Post-Impressionists, working along Seurat and Paul Signac. This changing direction is all the more extraordinary for taking place when the artist had reached his fifties and was established as a leading figure of the Impressionist movement, and as Joachim Pissarro has noted, further reflects the artist's 'extraordinary capacity to change his art, revise his position and take on new challenges' (exh. cat., Camille Pissarro, New South Wales, 2005, p. 51).