1899, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art PDRS 1263
Pissarro often gives us lots of information about his paintings. Here, he tells us the location, the time of day, the season, and the weather. But Spring can be changeable. On this April day in 2012, the sun creates the illusion of warmth, but it is cold enough for coats and hats and a brisk wind keeps things chilly. It is impossible to tell from Pissarro’s painting if it was warm or chilly, but many people are enjoying the sun.
The sunny glow of the Tuileries Gardens creates a green oasis in the midst of the city, with its lines of trees, formal lawns and flower beds framing the circular fountain. Looking from his apartment window on the rue de Rivoli, Pissarro uses the very symmetrical design of the Tuileries Gardens to form a distinctly asymmetrical painting. He places the circular pond on the far left, a bright patch of blue, and allows the various walkways between the green lawns to lead our eyes to the right.
It is interesting to note that this view looks very nearly the same today as it did when Pissarro painted it. In the distance, we see the steeples of Sainte-Clotilde, across the Seine on Paris’s Left Bank. In other paintings of this same view that Pissarro made in 1900, the construction of the Gare d’Orsay (now the Musée d’Orsay) is visible. Durand-Ruel, Pissarro’s art dealer was well pleased with both of his Tuileries Garden series and bought a number of them to sell to his clients.