Pissarro and Cézanne became closer than ever in Pontoise, in the first half of the seventies. Cézanne discovered the region thanks to Pissarro, visited him often in Pontoise and eventually settled in nearby Auvers-sur-Oise for a while.
They had first met at the Académie Suisse and for more than 20 years, until 1885, they worked and experimented together.
Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne, c.1873. Musée d’Orsay, Paris
On a Bench in Pontoise (6)
Camille Pissarro made this portrait after a photograph that shows his wife Julie sitting on the bench with the maidservant in front of her. (See my previous post)..
Camille Pissarro, La bonne à Pontoise (The Maidservant), 1875 . Oil on canvas, 92 x 73 cm. The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia
On a Bench in Pontoise (5)
Only 15 years or so before this photograph was made, Julie Vellay started working as a servant for Pissarro’s parents. In 1871 she officially became Mrs. Pissarro (while she already carried Camille’s fourth child). Here we see her being served by her own house maid…
On a Bench in Pontoise (4)
Another less characteristic Pissarro. During the First Impressionist Exhibition of 1874, he had been severely criticized for his preference for “ordinary vegetables in place of noble vegetation” in his paintings.
Peasants, simple people and rural life are indeed the subject of many canvases. But he didn’t live as a rustic hermit amidst the peasants around Pontoise. He could fit in other social classes too. (In a letter to his son Lucien, he described himself as a “penniless bourgeois”).
So he also painted scenes in the park of Marie Desraimes (1828-1894), a member of the wealthy upper class and a committed republican.
Camille Pissarro, Coin de jardin à l’Hermitage, Pontoise (A Corner of the Garden at the Hermitage, Pontoise), 1877. Oil on canvas, 55 x 46 cm. Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
On a Bench in Pontoise (3)
Camille Pissarro with his wife, Julie Vellay in their garden on 54, Rue de l’Hermitage in Pontoise.
Photographer unknown, Private collection, c.1873
On a Bench in Pontoise (2)
This “Garden in Pontoise” looks so uncharacteristic for Pissarro and reminds me a lot of how Monet painted his Argenteuil garden repeatedly. It was Pissarro’s reaction to criticism heard during the first Impressionist Exhibition of 1874, where he was severely reproached for his propensity to ” portray the ordinary vegetable in place of noble vegetation”.
And it is not his garden too. The elegant lady sits in the park surrounding the property of Marie Desraimes (1828-1894), a member of the wealthy upper class and a committed republican. Pissarro’s anarchistic ideas and sympathy for simple people had their limits, so it seems.
Camille Pissarro, Le jardin à Pontoise (The Garden in Pontoise), 1877. Oil on canvas. Private collection
On a Bench in Pontoise (1)
In the mid seventies, Cézanne was a wellcome guest in Pissarro’s house at 54 bis, Rue de l’Hermitage in Pontoise. Here we see him sitting on a bench in the garden, with Pissarro standing in front of him. The boy on the bench is Camille’s son Lucien.
Archives du Musée Pissarro, Pontoise, c.1873