To be included in the forthcoming Camille Pissarro catalogue raisonné being prepared by Joachim Pissarro and Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute.
In 1871, Pissarro returned from England and moved to Pontoise where he would remain for the next decade. Many of his most celebrated works from the years between 1871 and 1882 were painted in and around this region. The rural nature and rich variety of the landscape attracted other artists to the region; notably Cézanne and Gauguin who worked alongside Pissarro in the 1870s. Richard Brettell writes:
The great critic, Duret, was the first to recognize the rural character of Pissarro's sensibilty and to encourage him...to paint in a manner appropriate to his imagery. Duret advised Pissarro to stress in his painting 'a power of the brush' that the critic considered to be the essential character of Pissarro's aesthetic. Duret's remarks make particular sense when we confront a series of rural landscapes painted by Pissarro and his friends in and around Pontoise. The pictures tend more often than not to be strongly painted with thickly applied separate strokes of the brush or palette knife. It is precisely their power that accords with the ordinary rural subjects of the Pontoise school and is therefore the stylistic hallmark of these pictures (R. Brettell, A Day in the Country, Impressionism and the French Landscape, exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1984-1985, p. 180).
Pissarro painted the Oise river on many occasions. It afforded him an opportunity to explore the reflective quality of the water, a favorite motif of all Impressionist painters. Indeed, the present work captures the very essence of Impressionist landscape painting with the delicate transitions between shades of light and dark, the palpable brushstrokes, the sky thick with billowing clouds, and the open perspective across the sunlit countryside.
The newly erected factory of Chalon et Cie. is visible in the distance, hinting at the encroachment of modern industrial life into the rural landscape. Pissarro painted the factory frequently during this period, altering its appearance and the arrangement of surrounding trees to suite his own requirements.