Archive for May, 2013

PISSARRO — The exhibition in Madrid

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

It’s a safe bet that this gorgeous painting by Pissarro will be in the exhibition opening at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid next week.  Here is the description from the museum’s website.  A full report on the exhibition will appear in this blog soon after my visit on Wednesday.


From 04 June to 15 September 201

In the summer of 2013 the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza will be presenting the first monographic exhibition in Spain on the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro (1830-1903). A key figure within Impressionism (he wrote the movement’s foundational letter and was the only one of its artists to take part in all eight Impressionist exhibitions from 1874 to 1886), Pissarro was nonetheless eclipsed by the enormous popularity of his friends and colleagues, in particular Claude Monet. The exhibition includes more than 70 works with the aim of restoring Pissarro’s reputation and presenting him as one of the great pioneers of modern art. Landscape, the genre that prevailed in his output, will be the principal focus of this exhibition, which offers a chronologically structured tour of the places where the artist lived and painted: Louveciennes, Pontoise and Éragny, as well as cities such as Paris, London, Rouen, Dieppe and Le Havre. While Pissarro is traditionally associated with the rural world, to which he devoted more than three decades of his career, at the end of his life he shifted his attention to the city and his late output is dominated by urban views. Curated by Guillermo Solana, this exhibition will subsequently be shown at the CaixaForum, Barcelona.





PISSARRO’S PLACES — Now Widely Available


promo cover



PISSARRO’S PLACES can be purchased from anywhere now.  It’s on, Barnes &  and you will get a special for Pissarro’s friends at the book’s website:




The Normandie Impressioniste Festival also includes an exhibition at the Musee des Beaux Arts in Rouen called DAZZLING REFLECTIONS. The lovely painting by Camille Pissarro pictured here is NOT included in the exhibition, although it would have been a fitting addition. (This is the Pissarro that comes immediately to mind when it comes to reflections.) Perhaps they felt this would intrude on the Pissarro exhibition in Le Havre.

Instead, much of the exhibition are early paintings of Monet and it concludes, predictably, with a few of his waterlilies. The most striking Monet is a very large canvas taken up primarily by dark blue water with only a few streaks to show movement on the surface. Far in the upper right corner is a small boat with its end extending into the water.

The exhibition also includes a large number of Sisley paintings, which put the “dazzling” in the reflections. One interesting painting is of a regatta on the Thames River, the wind throwing the sails and flags on the boats into a colorful flurry.

The MUST-DO of this exhibition is in a small room in the second section, which places four renditions of Sisley’s true masterpiece, “The Inundation at Marly,” side-by-side. One of the paintings is from the Rouen museum’s collection. To its right is a similar painting of the same scene from the National Gallery in Washington. There are two other paintings of that same scene. It’s just a guess on my part, but I suspect that this may be the first time these four paintings have been seen together.

In the first section, the Rouen museum pairs its lovely Berthe Morisot painting from Nice with a similar painting, also from Nice, borrowed from the Dallas Museum of Art. A very thoughtful pairing and a real treat.

The BIG SURPRISE was the large number of Caillebottes. Most of us know that he was an avid sailor, so it’s no surprise that he would also paint sailboats. However, we are much more familiar with the realistic paintings of Caillebotte, Rainy Day in Paris from the Art Institute, Chicago, and the one of men stripping old paint off the floors, the vegetable market, and the lovely gardens of his home. The paintings of sailboats and water are much looser, more Impressionistic with sparkling water and shimmering skies, not what we are used to from Caillebottte but throughly delightful.

Sadly, the galleries at the Rouen exhibition were sparsely populated, in stark contrast to the galleries of three years ago which were packed. The Pissarro exhibition at Le Havre was well-attended, with jockeying for views of paintings. The Signac exhibition at Giverny also had full galleries, and attendance at the Caen exhibition was also good. Perhaps the Rouen exhibition will pick up speed as the Normandie Impressioniste Festivale winds its way through the summer.






PISSARRO was center stage Wednesday night at the American Library in Paris, where around 65 people gathered to see a presentation on the book PISSARRO’S PLACES.
The slide show was a whirlwind view of the book, following Pissarro to Louveciennes, Pontoise, Montfoucault, London, St. Thomas, Eragny, Rouen, Belgium, Dieppe, Le Havre and finally Paris.


The audience were all familiar with the Paris sites and many of them had been to Dieppe and Rouen. Perhaps some of them were surprised that Pissarro took part in the movement in Rouen to preserve the Old House on Rue Romain, which was a landmark even in his day. He wrote a letter to the committee working to keep the house and made a contribution to their effort!! However, he did not paint the Old House or the Big Clock, choosing instead to paint the modern docks and ships on the Seine.


Some of the audience were surprised to learn that Pissarro was actually born in St. Thomas, and that he remained a citizen of Denmark all his life. However, since his father was born in France, and his mother was a child of French parents, he was brought up as French children are, attending school in Passy at age 12-18

What a wonderful opportunity to bring PISSARRO back to his “hometown,” and to share with so many people the many exciting discoveries in his paintings.





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So far, I’ve seen three of the four headliner exhibitions. And I think it is safe to say that the Festival is a great success. And the museums were all full, and it is just the first week!

PISSARRO AND THE PORTS is predictably my favorite.  It is quite interesting to see how much variety  Pissarro was able to find from hotel windows in Rouen, Dieppe, and Le Havre. Of course, he captured all the different weather changes, but he also varied his view by turning to the left, the right, and looking straight ahead.  He seemed to be fascinated by the ever-changing scenes before him.  While other Impressionists chose to focus on one specific motif, such as water lilies, Pissarro was constantly challenging himself with different motifs.

SIGNAC, the exhibition at Giverny, is a superb collection of the Neo-Impressionist’s work.  It ranges from very early works to his initial Neo-Impressionist paintings to his mature works in that style.  He was, of course, a friend of Pissarro’s.  In fact, he was first a friend of  Pissarro’s oldest son Lucien, who actually introduced him to Signac. Signac in turn introduced both of them to Seurat and the Neo-Impressionist movement took flight. Pissarro became frustrated with the dots because the time required to create a painting in that manner caused a lack of spontenaeity.

UN ETE AU BORD DE L’EAU in Caen is a very interesting exhibition, featuring a number of less-familiar artists.  There were several very nice paintings by Lepine and predictably a few Monet’s and Renoir’s.  My favorites were a couple of very fine paintings by Berthe Morisot and an exquisite painting by John Singer Sargent.  Perhaps you can see some of them on the website.

Soon I will go to Rouen, which is sure to have an excellent exhibition.  It’s one of my favorite French museums.

And, of course, I will go to the two museums at Pontoise, one of which is the Musée Pissarro.  There are always good things to see at both of them, and the book PISSARRO’S PLACES is on sale there.

More from France and then Madrid, as I continue to follow Pissarro.








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