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 Pissarro, Camille (French painter and printmaker, 1831-1903) , The Pont Boieldieu at Sunset

Core Record

Title The Pont Boieldieu at Sunset
Original Translation Le Pont Boieldieu ŕ Rouen, Soleil Couchant
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Pissarro, Camille (French painter and printmaker, 1831-1903)
Date 1896 (dated)
Signed yes
Description Pissarro's Rouen scenes ignore the traditional, picturesque motifs of the city. Instead he painted scenes of commerce and industry taking place in the new, industrialised areas across from his hotel where he painted from an upstairs room. He was fascinated by the unfinished, jarring elements of the modern city that some critics found vulgar and banal such as the 'hideous Gare d'Orleans all new and shiny' (letter to Lucien, 2 Oct 1896).

This painting depicts the Pont Boieldieu, an iron bridge built in the mid-1880s to replace the famous seventeenth century bridge, often depicted in picturesque representations of the city. Pissarro captures the sense of energy and teeming life on the bridge which seems as if suspended in mid air, neither end being visible in the composition. The scene is subsumed in an all over pattern of nuanced strokes suggesting the 'constant mobility of light, atmosphere, water, smoke and steam' (Gerstein). Following Monet's lead, Pissarro painted a series of Pont Boieldieu pictures all based around the same motif. However, whilst Monet claimed that the actual motif was insignificant, a mere vehicle for the effects of light and atmosphere, Pissarro remained engaged with the human and political aspects of the modern city.

Current Accession Number 1950P23
Former Accession Number P.23´50
Inscription front ll 'C. Pissarro 1896'
Subject townscape (Rouen)
Measurements 74.2 x 92.5 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased from Reid, Alex & Lefevre Ltd 1950.
Provenance E. Decap; Maurice Barret-Decap; M. Fabiani, Paris; sale, London, 25 September 1950, bought by Alex Reid & Lefevre.
Principal Exhibitions Des Oeuvres Récentes de Camille Pissarro, Galerie Durand-Ruel, 1896, cat. no. 1; Pictures from Birmingham, Agnew's, 1957, cat. no. 13; Primitives to Picasso, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1962, cat. no. 445; Pissarro in England, Marlborough Fine Art, London Ltd, 1968, cat. no. 18; Camille Pissarro: Impressionism Landscape and Labour, South Bank Centre, London, 1990, cat. no. 80; French Impressionism: Treasures of the Midlands, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, 1991; The Impressionist and the City, Dallas Museum of Fine Art , 1992 (touring); Monet la Senna, le nifee. Il grande fiume e il nuovo secolo, linea d'ombra libri, 2004 - 2005.
Publications Pissarro, L. and L. Venturi, Camille Pissarro, 1930, p. 952; Rewald, J.D., Camille Pissarro, Letters to his Son, 1943, p. 266-81; Catalogue of Paintings in Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, 1960; Foreign Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, A Summary Catalogue, 1983, no. 112; Young, 1967, pp. 748-9.
Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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