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By Richard R. Brette/l, Scott Schaefer, 
Sylvie Gache-Patin, and Fran^oise Heillmin 

A Day in the Country, with its wealth of exquisite color- 
plates, is a glorious armchair excursion into the world of 
the French Impressionists. But it is also a newly opened 
window on what the great artists who created these 
masterpieces were trying to achieve. 

This is the first volume to approach Impressionist 
landscapes not merely as exaltations of physical beauty 
but as modem statements of important principles — 
artistic and social. The great new network of railroads 
that expanded the horizons of even the poorest city 
dweller, and the resulting new interaaions of city and 
country life, are part of this absorbing chronicle. 

Monet, Cezanne, Kenoir, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, 
Manet, Signac, Pissarro — these and other major painters 
are represented here in works that include the cream of 
the world-famous collection of French Impressionist 
landscapes that millions of visitors have enjoyed the 
femed Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris. 

These, together with a magnificent array of works 
fix)m The Art Institute of Chicago and other important 
museums and private coUeaions around the world, make 
A Day in the Country an extraordinarily vivid and varied 

A special essay on the landscape in French nineteenth- 
century photography makes a significant contribution to 
the literature on this most enchanting of art subjects. 

About the Authors 

Richard R. Brettell is Searle Curator of European Painting 
at The Art Institute of Chicago. Scott Schaefer is Curator of 
European Painting at The Los Angeles County Museum 
of Art. Sylvie Gache-Patin and Fran^oise Heilbrun are Cura- 
tors at the Musee d'Orsay, Paris. 

Index, bibliography. 228 illustrations , including 154 plates in 
full color 
















Impressionism and the French Landscape 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art 

The Art Institute of Chicago 

Reunion des Musees Nationaux 

in association with 

Abradale Press 

Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, New York 

Exhibition Itineran': 

Los Angeles Counti' Museum of Art 
June 28-Septemher 16, 1984 

The Art Institute of Chicago 
October 23, 1984-Ianuary 6, 1985 

Galerfes Nationales d'Exposition du Grand Palais, Paris 
February 8-April 22, 1985 

Edited by Andrea P. A. Belloli 
Designed by Dana Le\'^" 

Sections III/3, III/6, III/8, and V translated from the French by 
Michael Henry Heim. Except where noted, all other translations are 
by the authors of the sections in which they are included. 

The Checklist of the Exhibition was prepared by Paula-Teresa Wiens, 
and the Bibliography by Mary-Alice Cline. 

Typeset in Sabon by Continental Typographies Inc., Chatsworth, California. 

Display type and initials set in Lutetia by Flenry Berliner's Typefoundry, Nevada City, California. 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

A Day in the country: impressionism and the French landscape, 
p. cm. 
"Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the .^rt Institute of Chicago, Reunion des musees 
nationaux in association with Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, New York." 
Contributions by Richard R. Brettell and others. 

Reprint. Originally published: Los Angeles, Calif.: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1984. 
Includes bibliographical references. 
ISBN 0-8109-8097-5 

1. Landscape painting, French. 2. Landscape painting— 19th century — France. 
3. Impressionism (Art) — France. 4. France in art. I. Brettell, Richard R. II. Los .\ngeles 
County Museum of Art. III. Art Institute of Chicago. IV. Reunion des musees nationaux 

[ND1356.5.D39 1990] 

758'.144'0944074-dc20 90-33195 


Front cover: Claude Monet, Flowering Garden, c. 1866 (no. .8); 

back cover: Paul Gauguin, The Roman Burial Ground at Aries, 1888 (no. 133) 

Illustrations © 1984 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, unless otherwise indicated. 
Catalogue first published in 1984 by the Los .\ngeles County Museum of Art. 
This 1990 edition is published by Harry N. .\brams. Incorporated, New York. 
A Times Mirror Compan\'. .Ml rights reserved. No part of the contents of this book 
may be reproduced without the written permission of the publishers. 

Printed and bound in Japan 


Lenders to the Exhibition 




Contributors to the Catalogue 

List of Maps 

I. Impressionism in Context 

II. The Impressionist Landscape 
and the Image of France 

III. A Day in the Country 

L The French Landscape Sensibility 

2. The Cradle of Impressionism 

3. The Urban Landscape 

4. Rivers, Roads, and Trains 

5. Pissarro, Cezanne, and the School of Pontoise 

6. Private and Public Gardens 

7. The Fields of France 

8. Impressionism and the Sea 

9. The Retreat from Paris 

IV. Impressionism and the Popular Imagination 

V. Appendix: The Landscape in French 
Nineteenth-Century Photography 

Checklist of the Exhibition 



Trustees and Supervisors 

Richard Brettell and Scott Schaefer 
Richard Brettell 


Scott Schaefer 53 

Richard Brettell 79 

Sylvie Gache-Patin 109 

Scott Schaefer 137 

Richard Brettell 175 

Sylvie Gache-Patin 207 

Richard Brettell 241 

Sylvie Gache-Patin and Scott Schaefer 273 

Scott Schaefer 299 

Scott Schaefer 325 

Franqoise Heilbrun 349 



Lenders to the Exhibition 

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo 

The Art Institute of Chicago 

Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery 

The Brooklyn Museum 

Cincinnati Art Museum 

Ralph T. Coe 

The Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester 

The Detroit Institute of Arts 

Armand Hammer Collection 

The High Museum of Art, Atlanta 

Indianapolis Museum of Art 

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu 

The Joan Whitnev Payson Gallery of Art, 
Westbrook College, Portland 

John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia 
Museum of Art 

Mrs. Lyndon Baines Johnson 

Josefowitz Collection, Switzerland 

Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts 

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Musee d'Orsay, Palais de Tokyo, Paris 

Musee Marmottan, Paris 

Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh 

Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

The National Gallery, London 

National Gallery of Art, Washington 

National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 

Philadelphia Museum of Art 

The Phillips Collection, Washington 

The Phillips Family Collection 

Portland Art Museum 

Mr. and Mrs. A. N. Pritzker 

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art 

The St. Louis Art Museum 

Shelburne Museum 

Lucille Ellis Simon 

Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton 

Southampton Art Gallery 

Union League Club of Chicago 

Hal B. Wallis 

Mrs. Arthur M. Wood 

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven 

Several Anonvmous Lenders 


It is with great pleasure that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The 
Art Institute of Chicago, and the Reunion des Musees Nationaux, Paris, 
join in presenting A Day in the Country: Impressionism and the French 
Landscape. This exhibition, which focuses on the development of a mod- 
ernist vision as it can be observed in the evolution of French landscape paint- 
ing, brings together a remarkable selection of artworks from all over the 
world. A unique loan from Paris combined with generous support from The 
Art Institute of Chicago forms the core of the exhibition. We are deeply 
indebted to these and the many other lenders for their contributions, without 
which this exhibition could not have been realized. 

In recent years a great deal of scholarly attention has been focused on 
what might be termed the "geography of Impressionism." Several studies 
have resulted in the precise identification of the Impressionists' landscape 
sites and have featured photographs of the painters' motifs side by side with 
reproductions of their paintings. To date, however, no major international 
exhibition has been organized to show the range and breadth of Impression- 
ist landscape and to place it in its broader context. A Day in the Country, 
which focuses on the iconography of Impressionism as a key to the social, 
economic, and ideological issues of the second half of the nineteenth century, 
is intended to fill this gap. 

We would like to express our gratitude to Richard Brettell, Curator of 
European Painting and Sculpture, The Art Institute of Chicago; Scott 
Schaefer, Curator of European Paintings, Los Angeles County Museum of 
Art; Sylvie Gache-Patin, Curator, Musee d'Orsay; and Franqoise Heilbrun, 
Curator, Musee d'Orsay, for their contributions to the catalogue and for their 
work on the organization of the exhibition and the selection of the paintings 
to be included. We would also like to thank Robert J. Fitzpatrick, Director, 
Olympic Arts Festival, for his ongoing support of the exhibition. A Day in 
the Country: Impressionism and the French Landscape has received major 
support from the IBM Corporation, for which we are extremely grateful. We 
also wish to thank the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee; the 
Times Mirror Company, sponsor of the Olympic Arts Festival; the Associ- 
ation Franqaise d'Action Artistique; and The Consolidated Foods Founda- 
tion, the latter for its support of the Chicago showing. Finally, we acknowl- 
edge generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts and from 
the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities, which provided an indem- 
nity to cover the foreign loans. 

Earl A. Powell III James N. Wood Michel Laclotte 

Director Director Chief Curator 

Los Angeles Counry Museum of Art The Art Institute of Chicago Musee d'Orsay 


A Day in the Country: Impressionism and the French Landscape is 
one of the major cultural components of the 1984 Olympic Arts 
Festival. Of the more than 120 works on exhibit, roughly one third 
are on special loan from Paris and are not expected to travel again 
once they are installed in the new Musee d'Orsay. Thus their exhibition, or- 
ganized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in collaboration with The 
Art Institute of Chicago and the Reunion des Musees Nationaux, Paris, pro- 
vides an extraordinary opportunity- both for the people of California and for 
hundreds of thousands of Olympic visitors from around the world to view 
outstanding masterpieces by the major Impressionist artists in a unique 

The Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee wishes to express its 
appreciation to the three organizing museums who will host this superlative 
exhibition and to the Times Mirror Company as the official sponsor of the 
Olympic Arts Festival. We would also like particularly to thank Catherine 
Clement, Director, Association Franqaise d'Action Artistique, for her assist- 
ance in the creation of A Day in the Country. 

Robert J. Fitzpatrick 


Olympic Arts Festival 



Gratitude is expressed to the following individuals and institutions 
whose assistance and support have been invaluable in the preparation 
of A Day in the Country: Impressionism and the French Landscape: 
Luce Abeles; Hugues Autexier; Andrea P. A. Belloli; Genevieve Bonte; 
Wallace Bradway; Francois Braunschweig; Peter Brenner; Terry Brown; Mary-Alice 
Cline; Paula Cope; Corpus Photographique XIX^ CNRS-BN; Merle d'Aubigne; Ma- 
rie de Thezy; Anne Distel; Tom Fender; Hollis Goodall-Cristante; Gloria Groom 
Alia Theodora Hall; Katherine Haskins; Michael Henry Heim; Jacqueline Henry 
Frangoise Jestaz; Robert W. Karrow, Jr.; David Kolch; Anna Leider; William Leisher 
Timothy Lennon; Antoinette Le Normand-Romain; Francois Lepage; Dana Levy 
Gerard Levy; Bernard Marbot; Renee Montgomery; John Passi; Sylvain Pelly; Elvire 
Perego; Jean-Jacques Poulet-Allamagny; Jim Purcell; Larry Reynolds; Christiane, 
Roger; Anne Roquebert; Josiane Sartre; Samara Whitesides; Paula-Teresa Wiens; 
Gloria Williams; and Deenie Yudell. 

This exhibition and its catalogue are funded by a major grant from the IBM 

Additional support has been received from the National Endowment for the 
Arts; the Association Fran^aise d'Action Artistique(Ministere des Relations Exte- 
rieures); the California Arts Council; and an indemnity from the Federal Council on 
the Arts and the Humanities. 

The exhibition is a part of the Olympic Arts Festival of the 1984 Olympic 
Games, sponsored by the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee through the 
support of the Times Mirror Company. 



Contributors to the Catalogue 

Richard Brettell r.b. 

Curator of European Painting and Sculpture 

The Art Institute of Chicago 

Sylvie Gache-Patin s. g.-p. 


Musee d'Orsay, Paris 

Fran^oise Heilbrun f.h. 


Musee d'Orsay, Paris 

Scott Schaefer s.s. 

Curator of European Paintings 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art 


List of Maps 

Maps 3 — 8, all dated 1832, are reproduced courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chi- 
cago, from Nouvelles Cartes topographiques de la France, which was printed in Paris 
between that year and 1879 for the Depot de la Guerre. 

1 (p. 30): France (Julie Jacobsoti) 

2 (p. 31): Paris and Environs (Julie Jacob son) 

3 (p. 56): Melun and the Forest of Fontainebleau (detail of sheet 65) 

4 (p. 57): Paris and Environs (detail of sheet 48) 

5 (p. 80): Bougival, Port-Marly, and Environs (detail of sheet 48) 

6 (p. 138): Argenteuil, Neuilly, and Environs (detail of sheet 48) 

7 (p. 176): Pontoise and Environs (detail of sheet 48) 

8 (p. 274): Trouville and the Coast (detail of sheet 29) 







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Impressionism in Context 

THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT that Impressionist landscape paintings are the 
most widely known and appreciated works of art ever produced. 
They have become universal touchstones of popular taste, prac- 
tically supplanting the work of Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and 
Michelangelo in the collective imagination of the world. From South Africa 
to Japan, from Lisbon to Los Angeles, virtually every educated person knows 
about the landscapes of Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, and 
Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Attendance in the galleries devoted to Monet in the 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in the Impressionist galleries of The Art Insti- 
tute of Chicago, in the Meyer galleries of The Metropohtan Museum of Art, 
New York, in the Chester Dale galleries of the National Gallery of Art, Wash- 
ington, D.C., and, of course, in the French national museum of Impression- 
ism, the Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris (now the Musee d'Orsay), is truly 
staggering, and virtually every art museum — both large and small — owns at 
least one Impressionist landscape painting. The world knows more about 
France through the eyes of the Impressionists than it does through actual 
experience of that nation itself. It is undoubtedly true to say that more Ameri- 
cans — and Japanese — know about the tiny town of Giverny, where Monet 
lived and worked in his later years, than they do about such economically and 
artistically important French regional cities as Lyon, Poitiers, or Grenoble. 

What dp we learn of France from the Impressionists? The question is, 
at first glance, an odd one. We are most often taught that one learns nothing 
from landscape paintings. Impressionist pictures, according to the common 
wisdom, are meant to be enjoyed, not understood, and most analysts of their 
meaning — like Arnold Hauser in his superb essay, "Impressionism," in The 
Social History of Art^ — have treated them as essentially hedonistic works of 
art in which the world was passively accepted by artists who merely pre- 


sented it to the viewer for his enjoyment. Impressionist landscapes, for 
Hauser and many other commentators, are remarkable for their easy acces- 
sibility, their lack of subject, and their highly individual style. Because this 
view has dominated both scholarly and popular discourse about Impression- 
ism, few writers have attempted to discover what might be called its iconog- 
raphy, preferring to describe the history of its exhibitions or to chart the 
stylistic development of its key painters. Yet such an iconography surely must 
exist. The present exhibition — by grouping very well-known paintings nei- 
ther chronologically nor stylistically, as is usually done, but by subject — is 
intended to show that there are identifiable Impressionist themes, the mean- 
ings of which can be analyzed and understood. 

The major thesis of A Day in the Country: hnpressionism and the 
French Landscape is that Impressionist landscapes are saturated with mean- 
ing and that one needs to know a great deal before one can approach them in 
all their richness. Like many great works of art, they appear to be simpler 
than they are. Although they have been explained as naive transcriptions of 
reality. Impressionist pictures, like the novels of Gustave Flaubert, are studied 
in their very naivete. The more one reads of the vast secondary, and even 
vaster primary, literature about France during the period in which the 
Impressionists worked and lived, the clearer it becomes that their paintings 
were a central component of French culture, not an isolated, solely aesthetic 
phenomenon. Because we are so mdebted to Impressionist painting for our 
own notions of beauty, we owe it to ourselves to understand it — and the 
movement which produced it — more fully. Since the subject is such an enor- 
mous one, and so many books, pamphlets, articles, exhibitions, and ephem- 
era have been devoted to it, one might ask whether there is, in fact, anything 
more to be learned. We believe firmly that there is and that the line of inves- 
tigation taken here is worthy of even more extensive examination than has 
been possible in the creation of A Day in the Country: hnpressionism and the 
French Landscape. 

Landscape painting is an art of selection and balance. When riding on 
a train, walking along a rural path, or sitting at the edge of a field, one is in 
the midst of nature. It unfolds in three dimensions and surrounds the viewer, 
who can never experience it fully. In "seeing" a landscape, one both 
"chooses" what to see and passively allows nature to act upon one's eyes and 
subconscious mind. Because of this continuous oscillation between will and 
passivity, one can never truly comprehend what scientists and painters alike 
have called the "champ de vision," or "field of vision." In the end, houses are 
perceived as houses, trees as trees, and roads as roads, and they are not simply 
colored light acting upon the retina. Certain forms contain powerful mean- 
ings and associations for individual viewers, others are blander, and each 
participates (unequally) in a larger abstraction called "the landscape." 

Painters, like all observers of nature, are attracted to certain forms and 
not to others. Some are moved by the chance discovery of the parallel align- 
ment of a tree and the edge of a house viewed from a particular point on a 
rural path; entire landscape paintings can hinge on such a fortuitous occur- 
rence. Others seek out intensely meaningful forms in nature and, by making 
these forms the "motifs" of their landscape, allow nature to conform pow- 
erfully to their will. The Impressionists followed both courses. Although 
many of their pictures appear to be the result of simple transcription, this is 
not the case. Studies of the landscapes of Pissarro and Monet have shown 
that each artist altered nature to suit his own requirements. Pissarro moved 


buildings from one area of the actual landscape to another to achieve picto- 
rial balance or to insert a meaningful counterbalance to a large tree or a 
factory. And many of the Impressionists willfully altered the shape, scale, and 
character of vegetation and topography to add greater variety to their land- 
scapes as well as to intensify or diminish the importance of certain buildings, 
figures, or even other vegetation (no. 89). Thus, although none of these art- 
ists wandered very far from their homes in Normandy and the He de France, 
they painted landscapes with an astounding variety of moods and meanings. 

Most writing about the Impressionists has stressed the modernity of 
their landscapes. This aspect of their work was very real, as this catalogue 
demonstrates. Yet the temporal structure of Impressionist landscapes is more 
complex, both seasonally and historically, than has been supposed. Many 
paintings represent highly stable, even traditional, worlds (see below, II and 
III/5), and their creators' evident fascination with rural villages and with the 
fields of the He de France is surely evidence of their concern for the enduring 
elements of French civilization. Such images as Monet's grainstacks (nos. 
104-112) are, in a sense, landscapes of memory. While actual, they seem at 
the same time immutable and speak of continuity in the midst of change, of a 
timeless time. 

The preoccupation with change that has been so persistent a theme of 
writers about Impressionism was certainly important to the painters. Yet 
time, like form, is an mfinitely complex and variable abstraction, and, if one 
were to attempt a temporal analysis of Impressionist landscape paintings, one 
would confront a considerable task. In each painting, there is the time "repre- 
sented" or referred to in the title. This might be a time of day (midday, after- 
noon, and morning are the most common) or a season. Most Impressionist 
landscapes also contain evidence of a "temporality" suggested by the repre- 
sentation of moving forms — walking figures, gliding boats, rustling leaves, 
or windblown clouds — each of which aids the viewer in his quest for the 
momentary structure of time that underlies the cyclical rhythms of days and 
seasons. As landscape painters the Impressionists were obsessed with history 
and its action upon the landscape through the works of man. Old buildings 
stand next to trains and newly constructed factories in their pictures (see 
below, III/5), and most of the man-made forms serve as referents to historical 

The first Impressionist exhibition was held in the spring of 1874. 
Strong memories of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) and the Commune 
(1871) lingered in France, the national humiliation of one scarcely greater 
than the sense of shame generated by the other. The nation still was paying 
heavy reparations to the Germans, and the economy, committed to expensive 
modernization and industrialization, strained under their burden. Both the 
cityscape of the capital, Paris, and the landscape of its suburbs were filled 
with the scars of war next to those of modern development; buildings and 
bridges under construction vied with those destroyed by war for dominance 
in the landscape (see below, II and III/3). Change, the impetuous forward 
motion of history, had, in a sense, stopped in the France of early Impression- 
ism, and the nation was busy repairing itself and its pride. The awareness of 
time that one might term the historical consciousness of France was confused 
during the decades following the Franco-Prussian War, and, as we shall see, 
the Impressionists' landscapes represent their artists' responses to the am- 
biguities inherent in the nation's recent history. 

That these responses virtually exclude all evidence of this upheaval 



and its resulting doubts is surely no accident. The Impressionists' France was 
a beautiful, a simple, and a prosperous France. Sailboats and barges — float- 
ing symbols of leisure and commerce — maneuvered its waters (nos. 5, 17). 
Promenaders and rural workers shared its paths (no. 65). Newly built coun- 
try houses stood next to farms, and village women washed their clothes 
across the river from restaurants catering to suburban tourists (no. 14). 
Impressionist landscapes are either straightforward celebrations of the new 
or carefully balanced constructions in which traditional elements have been 
placed together with those of the new age (see below, III/5). Even their mo- 
dernity is fragile. 

In selecting and grouping the works of art for this exhibition, we have 
chosen not to be doctrinaire in our methods. It would have been easy, for 
example, to decide that the site represented in each painting should be the 
most important determinant of subject. In this way, a picture by Monet of the 
Seine River at the town of Vetheuil would be analyzed as an image of 
Vetheuil, while another painted by the same painter along the same river at 
nearby Vernon would fit into an "iconography" of that town. The analysis of 
paintings by site is certainly not futile; we have learned a great deal from Paul 
Tucker's extensive examination of Monet's many paintings of the suburban 
city of Argenteuil.- There are many students of local history in France, such 
as Rodolphe Walter, who have worked assiduously and with obvious success 
to identify the sites painted by the Impressionists. 

It is clear, however, that the site at which a painting was made is only 
part of its "subject." In the search for an iconography of Impressionist land- 
scape, it is also necessary to define certain "subjects" (in this broader sense) 
common to the work of all the artists. These collective subjects are not 
always easy to find. In many landscapes, for example, the Seine itself, more 
than the site at which it was painted, can be called the "subject" of the paint- 
ing (see below, III/4). Yet even this observation fails to tell us just what such 
paintings "mean." If we know, however, that the Seine was defined by many 
writers as the "national" river of France and that one contemporary guide- 
book writer called it "the great street of a capital with Rouen and Le Havre as 
its suburbs, the swift passageway that begins at the Arc de Triomphe de 
I'Etoile and ends at the ocean,"' we can understand the significance of this 
river as the great national route connecting Paris and its monuments with the 
rest of France and, ultimately, the world. This knowledge takes us to a further 
realization: that rivers are like roads, boulevards, streets, and railways in that 
they form part of a landscape of linkages in which "place" per se is less 
important than movement (see below, III/4). 

The same collectivity of subject can be observed in most other Impres- 
sionist paintings. When analyzing the many seascapes representing the coast 
along the English Channel, for example, it is often less significant to know 
that a picture was painted in Honfleur or Etretat than to realize that sea 
bathing increased in importance during the latter half of the nineteenth cen- 
tury in France or that trade with Great Britain was of extraordinary eco- 
nomic importance for France during the period of the Impressionists. The 
same kind of general knowledge helps in understanding the urban landscapes 
of the Impressionists, their faithful recording of village life, and their pictorial 
devotion to the controlled nature manifested in fields, parks, and gardens (see 
below, III/6-7). 

Ultimately, the search for the "subject" of a landscape must take us 
beyond these crucial, but general, issues into an analysis of the paintings 



themselves. Although most landscapes of the Seine have certain underlying 
common meanings, each embodies the particular attitudes of its painter 
toward actual stretches of her banks. Therefore, in order to understand an 
individual landscape, the dominating forms placed in central or composi- 
tionally crucial places must be named and understood in terms of French 
experience of the period. It is clear, for example, that a landscape dommated 
by a lavoir, or v^'ash house, floating in a river (no. 17) has substantially dif- 
ferent meanings than do similar river landscapes centered on sailboats, res- 
taurants, or bridges. And, by extension, a landscape given over to a field of 
poppies (no. 103) has different meanings than one in which a harvested field 
is dominated by a massive, solitary grainstack (nos. 104-112). Such an anal- 
ysis of the "motifs" of landscape painting is based essentially upon methods 
of naming and defining familiar to iconographers, yet it rarely has been 
applied systematically to landscape paintings, no doubt because forms in the 
landscape are not read as easily as symbols or emblems. 

Although there is no Cesare Ripa for the student of landscape motifs, 
such sources as dictionaries, encyclopedias, guidebooks, official statistics, 
real-estate records, novels, and memoirs can help us in our search for the 
meanings of forms in French landscape paintings. For that reason, a "read- 
ing" of these misleadingly simple works of art like that outlined here requires 
a great deal more time in general libraries and archives than in art libraries. 
One can learn profitably about the real-estate transactions that doomed to 
development certain bucohc fields memorialized by Monet in the 1870s. ■* 
One must know about the physiognomy of contemporary boats to under- 
stand Renoir's Bridge at Argentenil (no. 45), and a knowledge of the changes 
in rural dwellings of the time helps one to respond intelligently to the bright 
red and blue roofs which dominate the village in Pissarro's Climbing Path in 
the Hermitage, Pontoise (no. 66) or Paul Cezanne's Auvers, Panoramic View 
(no. 69). Yet neither the understanding of the broad cultural associations of 
certain places nor the naming and analysis of individual motifs in a landscape 
is sufficient to comprehend the many meanings of a landscape painting. 

Such pictures, as they are interpreted in this book, are among modern 
man's principal attempts to make viable "patterns" of his world, to distill its 
essential qualities for his own generation and for posterity. For this reason, 
the "reader" of a landscape painting must be careful not to rely too heavily 
on the techniques of the traditional iconographer who selects certain forms 
from the entire picture for intensive analysis. Indeed, landscapes are as much 
about the arrangement and ordering of the many diverse forms included 
within them as they are about the meaning of any one — or several — among 
these forms, no matter how dominant. In fact, writings about landscape 
painting from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries have repeat- 
edly made it clear that powerful motifs distract from the homogeneity nec- 
essary for a painting to achieve its status as a landscape. Students of such 
paintings could learn a great deal about landscape in this sense from the four 
generations of modern geographers, many of whom have worked in France, 
and most of whom have come to understand the world through a process of 
intensive and detailed analysis of its topography.^" Only these investigators 
have looked as carefully and patiently at landscape as have its best painters. 

There must be no mistake about the ultimate relativity of landscape 
meaning. When one knows that a thatched peasant dwelling in a picture by 
Cezanne or Pissarro had widespread associations with the traditional, pre- 
Revolutionary order of the rural world, one does not know the meaning of 


the landscapes that contain those dwelHngs. Indeed, it is their placement — in 
the space of the landscape, along the surface of the picture, in juxtaposition 
or association with other forms — that must be understood before "mean- 
ing" can be fully comprehended. When a detached farmhouse dominates a 
landscape, as in Cezanne's Farmyard at Auvers (no. 70), the meaning of that 
landscape is very different than when a similar building is either juxtaposed 
bilaterally with what was in the nineteenth century a newly constructed coun- 
try house, as in Pissarro's Red House (no. 62), or simply included as one of 
many forms in a larger view, as in Paul Gauguin's Market Gardens at 
Vaugirard (no. 74). Considered in this way, landscapes are like sentences or 
paragraphs in which words create different meanings as they are moved and 
juxtaposed with other words. A dictionary can give various definitions of a 
word, but it cannot tell what a specific sentence means. The same can be said 
for forms in a landscape painting. One could know everything about the 
construction of grainstacks in the north of France in the nineteenth century 
and yet know very little about the meanings of Monet's series of paintings 
with grainstacks as their motifs (nos. 104-112). 

A careful reading of landscape titles as they are recorded in the cata- 
logues of the Impressionist exhibitions tells us that many matters — time of 
day, season, identification of a building, or even a generic evocation of 
place — were signified as "subject."*' Certain landscape paintings were exhib- 
ited with titles that make no mention of their sites, in spite of the fact that we 
can easily identify a great many of them today. An entire species of landscape 
titles tells us simply that the painting is a landscape or a view painted in, 
around, or of a certain place (no. 69). Others spell out a season or time of 
day, stressing that time is as important to an understanding of the pictures as 
place (no. 126). Still others tell us that a path, hillside, field, or river bank is 
the subject of the picture (no. 76). In general. Impressionist landscape titles 
tend to be intentionally quotidian, as if to discourage us from using them to 
explain the paintings. 

The pictures in A Day in the Country: Impressionism and the French 
Landscapehave been grouped into nine sections, seven of which (III/2-8) are 
proper to the subject of the exhibition: Impressionism and the French land- 
scape. These seven catalogue sections are flanked by an introductory section 
(III/l) and a "coda" (III/9), each of which serves to contrast certain aspects of 
Impressionist landscape painting with developments in both earlier and later 
French landscape painting. The seven central sections are defined in various 
ways. One, "The Cradle of Impressionism" (III/2), is almost purely topo- 
graphical and considers collectively the paintings made at the first true 
Impressionist site: the suburban landscape around Bougival, Louveciennes, 
and Marly-le-Roi just west of Paris (map 5). None of the other six "core" 
sections are defined by a single locale, but rather by larger subjects — the city, 
transportation, the sea, the village, agriculture, ornamental gardens — that 
link topographically diverse landscapes. In each of these sections, a short es- 
say discusses major themes; each group of entries attempts to analyze several 
works of art or individual ones in relation to these themes. The "coda" (III/9) 
includes works by Post-Impressionist painters. This section serves to remind 
us that there was a change not only in the style of landscape painting in 
France — a change that occurred gradually during the second half of the 
1880s and first half of the 1890s — but also that the landscapes painted by 
these younger artists were geographically as well as iconographically 
removed from those of Monet, Pissarro, and Sisley. Cezanne deserted the He 
de France for Provence; Gauguin and his camp followers fled to the outer 


reaches of Brittany; and the Neo-Impressionists — Henri-Edmond Cross, 
Paul Signac (and, eventually, Henri Matisse) — developed a Mediterranean 
"pastorale" far from the capital on the shores of the Riviera. Some of the 
interpretations included in these sections remain speculative; much clearly 
remains to be learned about the subjects and meanings of individual Impres- 
sionist landscape paintings. 

The central catalogue of nine sections itself is "framed" by two long 
essays, which deal with topics of central concern to the subject of the exhibi- 
tion. The introductory essay, "The Impressionist Landscape and the Image of 
France" (II), surveys certain historical and cultural ideas of a very basic kind, 
a familiarity with most of which is essential to a real understanding of 
Impressionist landscape painting. Its aims are truly introductory, and there- 
fore it includes very little discussion of individual works of art. The other 
major essay, "Impressionism and the Popular Imagination" (IV), follows 
logically upon the catalogue section because it concerns less the production 
of than the critical reception to, and marketing of. Impressionism. It treats in 
some detail the phenomenal rise in worldwide popularity of Impressionist 
landscape painting. While "The Impressionist Landscape and the Image of 
France" lays the groundwork for an understanding of the pictures in terms of 
the culture in which they were produced, "Impressionism and the Popular 
Imagination" examines the various reasons for their appeal beyond France 
and beyond the nineteenth century. Finally, an appendix, "The Landscape in 
French Nineteenth-Century Photography" (V), examines the development of 
landscape photography in France in the 1800s. 

In conclusion, it is perhaps necessary to say just what is meant here by 
"Impressionism," in the hope of avoiding the usual pitfalls of stylistic defini- 
tion in modern art history. Whether the style which Pissarro called "scientific 
Impressionism" and we call "Neo-Impressionism" and even "Pointillism" is 
really Impressionism is a question that can be debated ad nauseam.^ Our 
subject — Impressionist landscape painting — is defined as follows: land- 
scapes painted by artists who exhibited in one or more of the Impressionist 
exhibitions (that is, between 1874 and 1886) and whose art is generally 
considered to be central to Impressionism's aims. Although the core oi A Day 
in the Country: Impressionism and the French Landscape is the paintings of 
Monet, Sisley, and Pissarro, the exhibition includes an important group of 
landscapes painted by Cezanne during the 1870s, and both Gauguin and 
Georges Seurat are well represented. There are also paintings by Vincent van 
Gogh, Cross, and Signac. While the latter artists are classified today as Post- 
Impressionists, most of them exhibited in one or more of the Impressionist 
exhibitions and developed their art in the aesthetic forum created by the 
Impressionist movement. 

— R. B. and S. S. 


1. Hauser, 1951, vol. II, pp. 869-926. 

2. See Tucker, 1982. 

3. Guide de voyageur..., c. 1865, p. 1. 

4. Tucker, 1982, pp. 35-38. 

5. See Sauer, 1963. 

6. Venturi, 1939, vol. II, pp. 255-271. 

7. Rewald, 1980, pp. 512, 514, 518, 533;Pissarro, 1950, pp. 88-120. 



The Impressionist Landscape 
and the Imagje of France 

WHEN THE Impressionists began to paint the French landscape 
in the 1860s, they were not alone. Several satirical writers had 
already counted more landscape painters than tourists or peas- 
ants in their travels through the French countryside, and the 
official Salon exhibitions held annually in Paris were all but dominated by 
French landscapes. Books and manuals about landscape painting for both 
professional and amateur artists abounded, and if there was a national genre 
in French art, it was surely landscape. The painters were joined by a legion of 
printmakers, draftsmen, and popular illustrators in an almost frantic 
collective attempt to record the national physiognomy. 

It is perhaps because the landscapes produced by certain of these 
painters have become familiar throughout the world that the nationalism of 
their creators' enterprise has been neglected. We often forget that the Impres- 
sionists' French landscapes played a small, but real, role in the quest for a 
viable national identity that preoccupied the French people throughout the 
nineteenth century. More specifically, paintings by these artists represent a 
benign, but modern, landscape as defined for, and dominated by, urban 
dwellers — a countryside in the process of being conquered by a capital city. 

In his analysis of the Salon of 1866, the critic Jules Castagnary wrote 
about what he called "the great army of landscape painters" then invading 
France. He divided that army into ranks and divisions less by style or imagery 
than by the region of France or her colonies that they painted.^ For 
Castagnary, a land-based army was the most appropriate satirical metaphor 
for landscape painters, and he extended his metaphor to conclude that France 
maintained its identity and extended its domain by artistic rather than mili- 
tary conquest. Landscape painting, for Castagnary and many others, was in- 
timately linked to what the slightly later writer Ernest Renan was to call "the 
national soul."^ 


It is customary in writing about the history of Impressionism to stress 
its anti-Academic tendencies and to contrast the seemingly effortless and 
spontaneous art of Monet and Pissarro with the labored, historicizing 
concoctions of Jean-Leon Gerome, William Adolphe Bouguereau, and Jules 
Breton. While there is little doubt that the Impressionists detested the figural 
confections of their famous contemporaries, the real arena in which they 
fought for recognition and control was one populated by the landscape paint- 
ers mentioned by Castagnary. These competitors were much more numer- 
ous — and collectively more powerful — than the presiding giants of the Ecole 
des Beaux-Arts with whom Edouard Manet and the others did battle. 

Among the many members of Castagnary's "great army," only two 
painters who were to become Impressionists were included: Monet, who was 
a "second heutenant," and Pissarro, who was a "captain" in what the critic 
called "the first corps of the Army of Paris."^ This corps was without doubt 
the largest and most significant part of Castagnary's fighting force, surpass- 
ing his four other French corps — those of the west, the south, the center, and 
the north— in size and national importance, and it became the corps in which 
the Impressionists had to prove themselves and which they came to dominate 
by the end of the nineteenth century. In 1866 it was presided over by two 
artists who have no reputations today: Jean-Alexis Achard and Edme Saint- 
Marcel. If Castagnary had updated his metaphor a generation later in 1896, 
the forces would surely have been commanded by Monet with assistance 
from Pissarro, Sisley, and probably Henri-Joseph Harpignies. There is little 
doubt that the Impressionists made Castagnary's "Army of Paris" into a 
major force not only in French, but in world, art. 

When one examines maps of France marked with the sites painted by 
the Impressionists (maps 1-2), the extent of their dependence upon Paris is 
clear. They chose to paint in places which huddle around the capital or cling 
to her great river, the Seine. Further, if one were to look at a railroad map of 
this area, there would be a startling coincidence between the landscape sites 
chosen by the Impressionists and the stops on the major railroad lines con- 
structed in France during the middle of their century (see below, III/4). These 
artists were in many ways unadventurous in their search for landscape sites 
and evidently placed greater value on direct access to Paris than on the wild 
beauties of inaccessible natural landscapes. The rugged topography of the 
Massif Central, the Pyrenees, or the Haute-Savoie is essentially absent from 
Impressionism. The landscape of Monet and his colleagues was not an escap- 
ist one far from the haunts of man, the landscape of "silence and solitude" 
written about by the painter and theorist C.-L.-F. Lecarpentier and preferred 
by painters of the French Romantic tradition."* Rather, it was a "capital" 
landscape oriented always to Paris and its tentacular civilization. 

Paris occupies a region known for the past eight centuries as the He de 
France. As a place name, "He de France" is ambiguous and corresponds more 
to an idea than to any real administrative or political area (today it comprises 
nine departments, the basic unit of regional administration in France). In 
fact, the great French historian Marc Bloch refused to define its limits exactly 
in a famous essay on the area, appealing instead to the French geographer 
Paul Vidal de la Blache, who called the He de France the "countryside around 
Paris."^ Meaning hterally "island of France," "He de France" suggests that 
the territory surrounding Paris is France itself, while the outlying regions are 
true provinces. 



This notion corresponds closely with another conceit used frequently 
by French writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries who referred to 
the same region as the "campagne de Paris." This term has even deeper roots 
than "He de France" and is associated clearly with classical antiquity: the 
environs of Rome have been known since ancient times as the Campagna. 
Hence the landscape of the Impressionists must not be considered merely to 
represent "the country" in a generic sense, but rather the territory controlled 
by a great capital city. Impressionist landscapes therefore embody in their 
very subjects the civilization of a city that aspired to be the greatest world 
capital since ancient Rome. These landscapes fed upon the myth of what was 
often called "paysage classique," or "classical landscape,"'' in spite of the fact 
that they do not conform easily to the stylistic norms of French Classical 

Rocked by a series of revolutions that were followed by periods of 
variously reactionary government, France stumbled through the 1800s 
unsure of herself, her survival as a nation, and her position in a capitalist and 
industrializing world dominated increasingly by England, Germany, and the 
United States. The passionate, if ideologically diverse, pleas for national unity 
made throughout the century in the form of speeches, books, and pamphlets 
filled with purple prose and verse exhorted the French people to national 
solidarity. This vast literature was written by intellectuals of every social and 
economic type, from the aristocratic Baron de Montesquieu, who espoused a 
connection between nationalism and republican government as early as 
1748, to Renan, whose origins were in the working class and who pleaded the 
case of the "national soul" in a famous speech of 1882.'' Thus in painting 
their landscapes, the Impressionists were linked to the most pervasive and 
ideologically diverse political notion of their century.^ 

The French quest for national unity became especially urgent after the 
humiliating defeat suffered by France at the hands of Otto von Bismarck's 
newly united Germany during the Franco-Prussian War. The Parisian land- 
scapes of the Impressionists were produced precisely when French national 
confidence was at its lowest point since Waterloo (1815). Their representa- 
tions of the campagne de Paris must be read in the light of what can best be 
described as a national identity crisis.' It is surely no accident that French — 
and specifically Parisian — landscape painting had its greatest efflorescence in 
the 1870s. 

The story of the "conquest" of France by Paris is a long, complex, and 
difficult one that has been told many times and in many forms. '° Given its 
most significant modern impetus by the great administrators of France dur- 
ing the seventeenth century, the nationalization of that country took hold 
slowly and with considerable difficulty. It should not be forgotten that, as late 
as 1864, an educator traveling in the Lozere found that the local children did 
not know they were French and, even more surprisingly, that a majority of 
Frenchmen during the nineteenth century could not speak "correct" (that is, 
Parisian) French, using instead one of the regional languages like Breton or 
Proven<;al." Even in our century, during which French national identity has 
been accepted firmly both internally and externally, many writers have 
pleaded for a politics of decentralization, and powerful regionalist move- 
ments, particularly in Brittany, continue to exist. The struggle between region 
and nation that has played such a powerful role in modern times interrupted 
the smooth course of French history during the period of the Impres- 



C A II X <P 
la H e V e i-e Hamy^Hzr'fs^i ^ Rouen 


O T E S - D U - N O R J>^X/1-— 1^ 

e Faou Sa>ni-Bt:€-uc Samt-Br^c 

\ F I N' I S T E R E 

R I T T A N Y 


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Map 1. France. 



Map 2. Paris and Environs. 



The national landscape inaugurated in the seventeenth century and 
constructed through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was a landscape 
of communication through transportation (see below, III/4). As if in support 
of this idea, the gardens of Versailles, begun by Andre Le Notre for Louis XIV 
in 1668, were designated as a metaphor for the order and control of France 
through the mechanism of allees, or roads, and canals.'^ The great parterre 
with fountains just outside the Hall of Mirrors was — and still is — adorned 
not with classical deities or military trophies, but with allegorical statues of 
the principal rivers of France. Although it might seem strange to say, the gar- 
den landscapes of Le Notre in many ways predicted the landscapes of the 
Impressionists. His system of straight roads and canals linked the gardens of 
Versailles to the actual landscape of France, and the symbolic allusions in the 
sculpture and plantings he arranged to man's control of land, river, and sea 
were part of an underlying system of nationalist values present in Impression- 
ist landscape painting as well. The idea of landscape as "useful" nature, as 
nature tamed and controlled for the benefit of the nation, links the Impres- 
sionists and the ministers of Louis XIV. Although none of the painters were in 
any sense royalists, all of them felt themselves to be French to the core. Even 
Pissarro, a Danish citizen until his death in 1903, wanted to fight for the 
French during the Franco-Prussian War and expressed a longing to return to 
France during his self-imposed exile in England during that conflict. 

Not surprisingly, the nationalization of France had a profound effect 
upon the French landscape itself. In the seventeenth century a system of 
national highways was inaugurated so that travel through the countryside 
and among provincial capitals was made easier. These roads — raised above 
the ground for drainage, graded, and lined with rows of trees (fig. 1) — intro- 
duced a visual unity into the diverse regional landscapes, a unity based upon 
an image of collective movement and transportation (see below, III/4). This 
arterial system was joined during the eighteenth century to a network of ca- 
nals and improved natural waterways utilizing the rivers of France. Of all 
European nations, France is the best endowed with navigable rivers, and 
these^together with the canals which served to link them, thus creating an 
aquatic highway system — became the veins of France as the national high- 
ways were the arteries. The improvement of both networks continued into 
the nineteenth century. 

The progress of this national system of transport and communication 
can be traced even in the mapping of France. Inaugurated in the seventeenth 
century by the Cassini family, the detailed cartographic analysis of the 
countryside, which clearly recorded roads, canals, rivers, chateaus, towns, 
and even rural paths, was not completed (by the family's descendents) until 
the late eighteenth century. It was then replaced by a series of maps called the 
Nouvelle Carte topographique de la France, made for the Ministere de la 
Defense and finished only in 1879. This was joined by increasingly detailed, 
specialized maps concentrating on railroad lines or regions of particular 
importance to travelers. The nineteenth century was the great age of mass- 
produced maps, and a study of them makes it clear that the Impressionists 
were painting a landscape that was widely accessible both m actuality and to 
the armchair tourist. 

This process of unification through transportation was given extraor- 
dinary impetus in the nineteenth century by the invention of the railroad (see 
below, III/4). France, like England and the United States, gave herself over 
fervently to this new mode of transportation. Books and articles about rail- 



LOUVECIENNES — Routes de Ba:nl.Gc-rniain et de MarJy 

Fig. 1. Louveciennes — The routes de Saint- 
Gennain and de Marly, before 1910. Post- 
card. Private Collection, Louveciennes. 

roads appeared early in the nineteenth century, and, by the middle of the 
1800s, the network of train lines was so large and complex that it had utterly 
transformed the nation. The first short line — between Saint-Etienne and 
Lyon — was inaugurated in 1828, and the first Parisian line (to Saint- 
Germain-en-Laye) in the mid-1830s. The government made a national com- 
mitment to the railroad in 1838 when the Chambre des Deputes under Fran- 
cois Arago voted to inaugurate separate railroad lines from Paris to Belgium, 
Le Havre, Bordeaux, Marseille, and Lyon. As the network of private and pub- 
He train lines increased, a Frenchman could move more quickly, cheaply, and 
easily from one place to another than ever before. The very accessibility of the 
countryside made possible by the railroad utterly changed the relationship 
between urban man and nature. As the century progressed, an increasing per- 
centage of the French people was able to travel, and it became possible for 
most provincial Frenchmen to visit the capital. Thus the railroad promoted 
the nationalization of France more than any law, speech, or idea and certainly 
more than any other mechanical invention.'"* 

The landscapes painted by the Impressionists abound in emblems of 
national order and solidarity reflecting these changes in the landscape of 
France. Trains, boats, carts, and carriages move easily on roads and rivers. 
Newly constructed bridges traverse both natural and man-made waterways. 
Urbanites stroll down country lanes. Peasants carry baskets of produce to 
market. Factories puff smoke and steam into cloud-filled skies. Fields of 
wheat ripen in the sun. All this unthreatening richness and serene beauty is 
presented as if immediately accessible to the viewer; the paintings' titles most 
often affirm that we are in the presence of a "real" countryside. Paradise — or 
something very close to it — has been made actual in these pictures. Yet they 
must be seen not only in terms of the modern aspects of France's nationalism, 
but also in terms of what might be called the French traditional world. 

Among the principal nationalist projects of the French people during 
the nineteenth century was the rewriting of French history. When viewed 
from the vantage point of the post-Revolutionary 1800s, France's history 
could no longer be described strictly as the dynastic chronicle of her kings 



and their wars, advisors, and intrigues. Dominated by Jules Michelet, French 
nineteenth-century historians came increasingly to reinterpret past events as 
the history of "the nation" and its people. '^' Michelet's own work was a great 
nationalist project in which the achievements of ordinary men play an enor- 
mous role, and in which the French landscape is conceived as a vast natural 
theater for the actions of her people (see below, III/8). 

Yet most French historians were less radical in their aims. For apolo- 
gists of the old France, both royalists and religious zealots, a study of histori- 
cal events served to reconnect Frenchmen with their true past, a past which 
many considered to have been ruptured by the Revolution rather than to have 
found its climactic moment in that event.'* It was this essentially reactionary 
use of history that gave impetus to an extraordinary rise in the study of local 
chronologies and monuments in France during the nineteenth century. The 
number of historical societies and local museums rose astronomically during 
this period. Further, these institutions promoted a notion of la France 
historique, or historical France, that served very clearly as a conceptual 
framework for contemporary tourism. Pamphlets, guidebooks, and railroad 
publications were all but obsessed with the monuments of France's past 
greatness: her chateaus, cathedrals, ruined abbeys, important civic structures, 
and the like. Most nineteenth-century travel guides were illustrated with 
plates representing less the landscape than the architecturally — and histori- 
cally — important locales which gave it significance (fig. 2). 

The idea of la France historique fueled the fires of the national land- 
scape movement, and countless prints and paintings produced in nineteenth- 
century France record pre-Revolutionary sites about which one could read 
easily in various contemporary publications.''" The depth of the French 
national chronicle and the endurance of her people are themes alluded to in 
countless landscape paintings and prints made by artists varying in fame and 
quality from Franijois Blin to Jean-Baptiste Corot. Indeed, French landscapes 
painted in the 1800s, but before the Impressionists, indicate an essentially 
conservative ideology: in them, France survives and continues rather than 
changes. Aged forests, medieval bridges, cathedrals, and thatched cottages 
abound in landscapes painted by artists of the Barbizon school (see below, 

When painting the French landscape, the Impressionists explicitly — 
and persistently — avoided la France historique. Not until the 1890s did their 
landscape paintings feature architectural monuments of any age or signifi- 
cance, and the ecclesiastical structures which dominated so many French 
towns were often de-emphasized in, or even omitted from. Impressionist 
paintings of those places. More often than not, Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, and 
Renoir screened churches behind trees (nos. 13, 19), turned their backs on 
chateaus, and placed architectural monuments at the very edges of their com- 
positions (nos. 59, 63—64, 69). Their landscapes — nationalist though they 
may be — must be read in light of these omissions. Their rejection of such 
subjects has often been interpreted as a reaction against the Romantic sub- 
jects of the painters who had dominated the previous generation of French 
art, and this view is surely correct. Yet one must also see such pictorializing 
behavior in ideological terms. By rejecting historically important monuments 
as the central motifs of their landscapes, the Impressionists promoted a self- 
consciously modern or anti-historical doctrine which suggested that France 
was a nation that should look forward into the future for her inspiration and 
not backward at her glorious, if confused, past. One is never reminded that 



Blanche of Castille and St. Louis lived in Pontoise during the Middle Ages 
when one looks at a Pissarro landscape of that town (see below, III/5), al- 
though every guidebook written during the nineteenth century dwelled on 
that very fact. The same applies to Monet's Argenteuil landscapes (nos. 39— 
43) and to the many paintings made in the historically significant region 
around the Chateau de Marly by Pissarro, Sisley and Monet (see below, III/2). 

If the Impressionists rejected historical France, they were not so un- 
equivocal in their avoidance of her rural past. While chateaus of the rich — 
aristocratic or bourgeois — play a minor role in the iconography of Impres- 
sionist landscape painting, the modest dwellings of the rural poor are present 
in quantity, particularly in the work of Pissarro, Cezanne, Gauguin, Armand 
Guillaumin, and Sisley. (In fact, village scenes with and without figures occur 
in such abundance that they have been accorded a separate category here [see 
below, III/5]). When combined with the many hundreds of agricultural land- 
scapes painted by the same artists and by Monet (see below, III/7), they pro- 
vide evidence of a sustained investigation of the rural landscape that is as rich 
and significant as was that of Jean-Francois Millet, Corot, Charles-Franqois 
Daubigny, and Theodore Rousseau, all Barbizon painters (see below, III/l). 

Why did the Impressionists paint so many rural landscapes? The 
answer is not easy to discover. The tourists and travelers of nineteenth-cen- 
tury France, while not actively discouraged from visiting villages, were given 
few reasons to do so. In fact, most writers of the time were active in their 
dislike of traditional rural civilization. Honore de Balzac, whose novel Les 
Paysans was published in 1846, treated villages and their inhabitants as 
unremittingly stupid and narrow, and this view persisted in much of French 
rural fiction of the period, culminating in the publication of Emile Zola's La 
Terre in 1890. The novelist Edmond About, who lived near Pontoise and was 
a friend of Pissarro, went so far as to call the French village "the last fortress 
of ignorance and misery."'** If cities were sophisticated and, with all their 
corruptions, central to modern experience, villages were squalid and little 
more than tribal. 

There was, of course, another view. What might be called the rural 
pastorale was not altogether absent from French letters. George Sand wrote 
many elegiac rural novels, although even she was acutely aware of the great 
cultural gap that existed between the peasants of France and her modern 
urban readers.'' She wrote of the rural world as an antidote to urban civiliza- 
tion, and her view was shared by many writers. A typical popular text by an 
obscure physician. Dr. J.-B.-F. Descuret, entitled La Medicme des passions, 
ou les passions considerees dans lenr[s] rapports avec les maladies, les lois et 
la religion (1842), was concerned among other subjects with the modern dis- 
ease of urban ambition. Descuret's cure for this malady was country life, far 
removed from any city or large town. For him — indeed, for many writers 
throughout the nineteenth century in France — rural life was healthier and 
more moral than the life of the city because there were fewer pressures to 
progress, either financially or socially.-" 

In the midst of this dichotomous view of rural civilization, the Impres- 
sionist artists took pains to chart a middle course; their paintings of the tradi- 
tional rural landscape illustrate neither Balzac nor Sand. In fact, the one 
major generalization which can be made about Impressionist rural images is 
that they are resolutely mundane. Absent, for the most part, are the grand 
moments of the agricultural season, the violent storms followed by delightful 

Fig. 2. A. Normand (French), Neiv Railroad 
Line from Paris to Dieppe, from Pontoise to 
Gisors; Section between Pontoise and Gisors, 
n.d. Lithograph. Bibiiotheque Nationale, 
Serie Topographique, Va95, vol. IV, no. 



Fig. 3. Jean-Frangois Millet (French, 1814- 

1875), Spring, 1868-73. Oil on canvas. 86 x 

111 cm. Musee du Louvre, Paris. Photo: 

Musees Nationau.x. 

calm, that formed such a basic part of the rural iconography championed by 
Millet (fig. 3). Instead, the rural landscapes of Pissarro, Gauguin, 
Guillaumin, and Cezanne are rich in ordinary visual incidents, each patch of 
cabbages, each pile of faggots, each roughly textured stone wall having been 
carefully observed and transcribed. The message of these pictures is clear: 
rural life was continuing to exist even in the modern world. Pissarro's rural 
workers walk stoically across the railroad tracks in Railway Crossing at- 
Patis, near Pontoise (no. 53); Cezanne's Bend in the Road (no. 72) represents 
a village almost outside time. 

The ideological underpinnings of this admission of rural life into 
Impressionist iconography can be understood most easily if contrasted with 
the notion of la France historique. The Impressionists demonstrated a clear 
preference for what might be called humble history, a history of the people, 
rather than the institutions, of France. When considered collectively, these 
paintings suggest a belief in both the essential value of the French population 
and the fact that the nation's civilization stands upon a rural base. In like 
fashion, Michelet's Le Penple (1846) is a portrayal of the French people in 
toto; it begins with an evocation of the peasant going to church on Sunday. 
Surely the strictly Republican notions of Michelet — and of the Impression- 
ists — accord well with the spirit of revolution in France. As the great modern 
French geographer Daniel Faucher has said, French history is "a long, accu- 
mulated history of our soil." For him, 

France has always been a rural nation and the labors of her fields have given her 
both equilibrium and prosperity throughout the centuries. ...Her cities have been 
the centers of her greatest and most brilliant achievements, but they are nourished 
by the silent workers of her fields.-' 

Indeed, Impressionist landscapes are virtually always peopled. 
Whether there are figures lolling in gardens or walking down paths, houses 



set confidently in the fields or at the edge of cliffs, the human presence is 
always felt. We know that an empty field painted by Monet was planted and 
will be harvested by men (no. 103), and a deserted barnyard rendered by 
Cezanne is like a stage set before the play has commenced (no. 70). Theirs is 
most often a psychologically comfortable landscape, and the viewer rarely 
feels lonely because he is rarely alone. 

In this way as well, the Impressionists' landscape — and we might call 
it a social landscape — is almost everywhere at odds with the landscapes pre- 
ferred by the Barbizon school. Although there are peasants and vagabonds in 
paintings by Corot, Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Peiia, and others, they are 
most often tiny and distant from the viewer, ignorant of his presence. He is — 
by implication — different from them. And many other landscapes — particu- 
larly those of Rousseau — are unpeopled. When in the Barbizon painters' for- 
ests, the viewer is far from civilization in a natural world of gnarled trees, 
rugged rock formations, and deep, hidden pools (fig. 4). Descriptions of these 
landscapes — particularly by the eloquent critic Theophile Thore — stress the 
isolation of the viewer in a silent landscape. Moved by a small picture by 
Corot, Thore wrote the following passage: 

It has at first the air of a confused sketch, but presently you feel the air gentle and 
almost motionless. You plunge into the diaphanous mist which floats over the river 
and which loses itself far far away in the greenish nuances of the sky at the horizon. 
You hear the nearly imperceptible noises of this quiet piece of nature, almost the 
shivering of the leaves or the motion of a fish on the top of the water.-- 

There are very few Impressionist landscapes that could support such a 

Being alone in the midst of nature was often given pantheistic mean- 
ings in nineteenth-century landscape descriptions; the viewer was thought to 
become a better or more moral person through his contact with isolated na- 
ture. He was able to think clearly, to rid himself of petty social concerns and 
vanities, to restore his spirit. As if in support of this idea, landscape painters 
like Corot, Daubigny, or Antoine Chintreuil were described as simple, moral 
people by their earliest biographers, and the time spent alone with nature, far 
from the haunts and commerce of man, was considered to be the reason for 
their goodness. In this way, nature was conceived as a world apart from man, 
as an equivalent, in a sense, of the modern concept of wilderness or virgin 
nature: the place of God. 

The Impressionists had a completely different concept of nature, as 
can be seen in their writings. They used the word frequently in their letters. 
To paint "before nature" for an Impressionist painter was not to wander for 
hours until one was alone in a landscape with no hint of the presence of man. 
Rather, it was to stand squarely in the easily accessible world and to paint it. 
These artists' idea of nature was the totality of the visible universe, a positivist 
view in which man and his works were seen as an integral part of a natural 
whole. Trains, boats, figures, factories, houses, fields, trees, piles of sand, 
machines — virtually every kind of form visible in the France of their time can 
be found somewhere in their landscapes. For Thore, Sand, and many intellec- 
tuals of mid-century France, nature was the world apart from man and his 
corruptions. For the Impressionists, nature was everything one could see. 

Thus, in pursuing their own notion of naturalism, the true Impression- 
ists avoided the isolated parts of France. They virtually never painted moun- 
tains. They refused to travel far to seek out the "sublime," preferring an inte- 



Fig. 4. Theodore Rousseau (French, 1812- 

1867), Clearing in the Forest of Fontaine- 

bleau, 1848-51. Oil on canvas. 142 x 

197 cm. Musee du Louvre, Paris. Photo: 

Musees Nationaux. 

grated, balanced world in which various forms complemented one another. 
As such, the origins — whether conscious or not — of their landscapes are 
classical, and again the comparison between the campagne de Paris and the 
Roman Campagna must be made. Like Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain 
in the seventeenth century, like Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, Corot, and 
Jean- Victor Bertin in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the 
Impressionists conceived of the landscape as man's domain. It is no accident 
that the elderly Pissarro, for example, looked to Claude and the great French 
tradition as his major sources.-^ 

Without doubt the center of modernism in France was Paris. The cit>- 
not only accepted the industrial world and the future it would bring to 
humanity, it reveled m it. International exhibitions propagating the strength 
and inventiveness of French modernism took place in 1855, 1867, 1878, 
1889, and 1900, and each embraced technolog>- and its parent, science, as 
fervently as possible. Trains, tractors, and machines for making clothes, 
bread, sugar, indeed almost everything, were exhibited and published widely 
in the popular press, with the result that nineteenth-century Frenchmen 
knew — or could know — almost as much about what was then new technol- 
ogy as Americans can today. 

The will to project into the future and thus to alter man's relationship 
to his past was an extraordinary feature of French nationalism in the nine- 
teenth century. There is no greater proof of this than the rebuilding of the 
capital and its suburbs (see below, III/3). Based upon the urban planning 
projects of Napoleon I, the process of modernizing Paris was a priority of 
every government in the 1800s, reaching extraordinary heights during the 
Second Empire (1852—70), when a coherent cit\' plan was created. Vast areas 
of the old city of Paris were leveled to the ground and rebuilt. People were 
forced out of neighborhoods which had stood for centuries, and large areas 
were carved out for new railroads, boulevards, and parks. It is probable that 



no other city in history has so totally — and violently — transformed itself in 
so little time. Indeed, destruction occurred at such a level during the Second 
Empire that it almost seemed as if the city was at war with itself — as then 
happened during the Commune. When walking in Paris today, we see the 
results of these labors — results which seem to us to have been worth all the 
effort — but we can forget too easily that Paris and its environs were being 
simultaneously destroyed and rebuilt with immediate human consequences 
throughout the period of the Impressionists. 

The literary work that really exemplifies the modernization of Paris 
and its suburbs was written by Flaubert's boyhood friend Maxime du Camp. 
Published in six hefty volumes between 1869 and 1876, just as the Impres- 
sionists were codifying their own pictorial attitude toward modern France, 
the book is entitled Paris, ses organes, sa fonction, et sa vie dans la seconde 
moitie du XIX siecle. Its analysis of the city was so different from that offered 
by any previous writer that its novelty can scarcely be overemphasized. Most 
earlier authors had treated Paris as a luxury center, the capital of world cul- 
ture, of the fine arts, and of the good life. The vast majority' of books about 
the city, whether novels, travel guides, memoirs, or histories, either waxed 
poetic about its monuments, restaurants, entertainments, and shops or con- 
demned it for its profound, if luxurious, decadence. If the campagne de Paris 
was conceived of as a classical landscape, the Rome most often equated with 
Paris was Rome just before the advance of the barbarians. Du Camp reversed 
all this with a book which tells the reader how the city worked and about its 
systems of transport, sewage, telegraphic communication, post, canals, mar- 
kets, and so on. The city for Du Camp was an enormous, quasi-organic 
machine which functioned because of the logic of its various organs and sys- 
tems of exchange. Its history was of little interest to him — it had already been 
written, he thought — and its culture less something willed by its people than 
the direct result of the conditions of life imposed upon these inhabitants by 
the machine of the city itself. If Napoleon III and his minister Baron Georges- 
Eugene Haussmann had attempted to rebuild Paris more or less from the 
ground up, Du Camp was their unofficial apologist in prose. For him, a city 
that worked properly was worth all the pain and destruction necessary to 
make it function efficiently. 

What is fascmatmg about the pamtmgs of Paris and its local and sur- 
rounding landscapes by the Impressionists is that, while we see the positive 
results of Baron Haussmann's labors, we very rarely see the destruction that 
led to them. Manet painted vacant lots on the rue Mosnier, Pissarro a con- 
struction site near Louveciennes, and Monet a bridge in Argenteuil being re- 
constructed after the Franco-Prussian War. Yet these paintings are remark- 
able chiefly because they are so rare in oeuvres which are among the largest in 
the history of art. More often than not, we see the new world of trains, 
straight roads, boulevards, boats, parks, fields, and factories as if these forms 
had always been in the landscape. There are few scars on the earth, few 
wounds of newness to be seen. Again, the selectivity of the Impressionist vi- 
sion must be remarked upon. It should be clear that Impressionism can be 
interpreted essentially as a healing art, an art which accepted the modern 
world easily and gracefully, as if rejecting, paradoxically, its very newness. 

Perhaps the most important modernizing change that occurred in the 
nineteenth century and that affected landscape painting was the widespread 
increase in travel. Although an important percentage of this travel can be 
called tourism and related to the mapping of France and building of rail- 



roads, as we have seen, as well as to a general increase in the amount of 
leisure time made available to working people, a great deal of the movement 
that took place throughout the country — especially into and out of Paris — 
was commercial. The extraordinary increase in barge traffic changed the 
character of the Seine dramatically, and large train yards were constructed in 
the capital and its major industrial suburbs for the loading and unloading of 
livestock, machine tools, food, clothing, and any other goods coming in and 
out of the city. 

Commercial travel — the movement of goods and services — was more 
often pictured by the Impressionist artists and their friends than is commonly 
supposed, but less railroad than barge transport, particularly along the Seine. 
Pissarro, Cezanne, Sisley, Guillaumin, and Monet followed the leads of 
Johann Barthold Jongkind, Daubigny, and others who painted the industrial 
ports of Paris, particularly the Quai de Bercy in the eastern part of the city, as 
well as the port at Rouen and the immense channel ports of Le Havre and 
Douai. Pissarro even painted the peniches, or barges, that moved to and fro 
on the smaller Oise, which ran between the Seine and the system of canals in 
the industrially prosperous north of France. The motorized gnepes a vapeiir, 
or tugboats, and the barges seen in many Impressionist paintings of the 
industrial sections of the Seine were common sights on the river. If one 
wanted to create an exhibition devoted to shipping and river transport in 
France during the second half of the nineteenth century, one could do it with 
paintings by the Impressionists alone. 

Yet the kind of travel that is most important for an understanding of 
Impressionism is tourism. It is curious — and unfortunate — that a major his- 
tory of tourism in France has never been written, in spite of the vast bibliog- 
raphy and the huge mass of archival material available to researchers. One 
slim book, Gilbert Sigaux's Histoire de tonrisme (1965), makes a stab at this 
topic, which lies at the heart of Impressionism. The most valuable recent 
study of tourism. The Town's? by Dean MacCannell (1976), analyzes this phe- 
nomenon and its effects on human behavior as the key to an understanding of 
modernism and its peculiar forms of consciousness. The organization of lei- 
sure time away from home, the sightseeing of the tourist (fig. 5), has been 
brilliantly analyzed by MacCannell, and his identification of the tourist as the 
Everyman of modern culture lends even greater credence to the notion that 
the tourist-based landscape of Impressionism has a modernist/populist ico- 

Tourism in France had existed for centuries before the railroad, and 
the excellence of the French highways was noticed often by eighteenth-cen- 
tury English tourists, many of whom drove through France on their way to 
Italy as part of the Grand Tour. The first widely accessible tourist guide avail- 
able to such people was written by a German named Flans Ottokar Reichard 
and published in French in 1793. Entitled Guide des voyageurs en Europe, 
this book was filled with practical information about inns, roads, restau- 
rants, and routes and assumed that the tourist would see what he wanted and 
ask the necessary questions about local sights of the natives. It was, in fact, 
the peasants in their local costumes who were the principal curiosities for 
late-eighteenth-century travelers, and Reichard's guide was illustrated with 
plates of picturesque individuals in regionally varied finery. 

Reichard's book was the beginning of a flood of literature, some of 
which was similarly narrow in focus, but a great deal more of which gave out 
information about local history, sights, side trips, population statistics, art 


Uc;;ill dc Oh. DtSP.'L ^\>jr Lull r-, ,,.1-1 

Fig. 5. Jules Despres (French), Gathering the 
Grapes at Argenteuil, n.d. Lithograph from 
L'lllustration, 1877, p. 337. BibUotheque 
Nationale, Serie Topographique, Va95, vol. I, 
no. B16056. 

history, and the like. By the middle of the nineteenth century, tourist guides 
had become so bulky and so filled with densely printed prose that they resem- 
bled almanacs or encyclopedias more than the handy pocket guides envi- 
sioned by Reichard. The informed tourist, guidebook in hand, became a stan- 
dard feature in France and much of the rest of Europe during this period. 
When we look at landscape paintings produced at the time, we must never 
forget that they were painted by men and women who must be thought of as 
tourists, armed with information about everything they saw. 

The landscape the Impressionists visited and painted ran along the 
English Channel from Deauville to Etretat, down the Seine from Le Havre to 
Paris and out again along the train route mto the environs of the capital 
(maps 1-2, 4). This landscape was a discovery of the nineteenth-century 
tourist; many of the small towns, villages, and hamlets on the beach, along 
the Seme, or in the He de France sported hotels, inns, and restaurants, most of 
which were built and opened in the 1800s especially for such visitors. In fact, 
the area was almost a tired one by the 1860s and VOs, when the Impression- 
ists began to paint it in earnest.-"* Pissarro, on visiting Rouen in 1883, was 
struck by the number of views of this small provincial capital that had 
already been painted, drawn, and printed by earlier artists and was aware of 
the fact that his own renderings inevitably would be compared with the 
familiar prints by and after such artists as Richard Parkes Bonnington and 
J. M. W. Turner." 

Due to the enormous advances in mass-produced printmaking, the 
number of illustrated publications increased dramatically in the nineteenth 
century, and, for the first time in the history of Western man, a large percent- 
age of the population was what we today call visually literate. Many mass- 
produced images were travel views (fig. 6), and a considerable number of 
French artists made their living as travel illustrators. The drawings they made 




Fig. 6. Provost (French), The Inauguration of 

the Bougival Bridge, November 7, 1858, n.d. 

Lithograph. Bibhotheque Nationale, Serie 

Topographique, Va78, vol. I, no. B6763. 

i\iI<;iit.\iio\ liL t^-'\ 

were most often rapidly executed notations which were turned into finished 
views with standard buildings and figures by professional printmakers in 
Paris, with the result that such illustrations tended to have a suspicious same- 
ness of appearance. Yet, in spite of their relative inaccuracies, these popular 
topographical prints existed in such quantit}' that virtually every person in 
France was aware of the look of the rest of the country. 

If the artists who illustrated travel books were, with certain notable 
exceptions, untalented, the men and women who wrote the texts for such 
publications were considerably more gifted as a group. Writers from Sten- 
dhal, who published Memoires d'lin toiiriste in 1838, to Jules Claretie and 
Victorien Sardou wrote brilliant descriptive analyses of the towns, land- 
scapes, villages, and rivers of the north of France. The landscape descriptions 
written by the great masters of French realist fiction during this period were 
not only widely accessible, but of superb qualit)'.-'' Essays in mass-circulation 
journals as well as separately produced travel guides included discussions of 
the beauties of landscapes, the "meanings" of rivers, and the poetics of ham- 
lets. Authors, many of incredible refinement, tested their sensibilities en face 
de la motif, directly confronting their subjects almost as if they were pamters. 
Indeed, they wrote much better prose about actual landscapes than about 
landscape paintings, and the literature produced for tourists tends, in general, 
to be more interesting to read today than contemporary art criticism. There 
are countless passages in which the writer urges painters to depict a particu- 
lar landscape. Hence the artist acted as an alter ego or extension of the tour- 
ist. One anonymous author of the Guide de voyagetir siir les bateaux a vapeur 
de Paris au Havre{c. 1865)exhorted the paintersof France to travel the Seine, 
there to discover "all these delicious landscapes, all these islands, all these 
cliffs."-" On occasion the coincidence between a descriptive text in a guide- 
book and an Impressionist painting is so close that one can scarcely believe 
that the painter had not read the guide. 'VCTiile many earlier landscape paint- 
ers had considered themselves to be hermits, vagabonds, or itinerants, then, 
the Impressionists adopted the persona of the tourist. 

The effects of tourist travel were widely debated during the Impres- 
sionist period. In 1876, for example, the year of the second Impressionist 
exhibition, a modest young painter named Emile Michel gave a lecture to the 
Academic Stanislas with the rather grand title "Du paysage et du sentiment 



de la nature a notre epoque." Although not particularly novel, his thesis was 
clearly defined: that modern, urban man, living in crowded and changing 
conditions far from his rural origins, needed frequent periods of rest in the 
country and that landscape painting could provide temporary relief for the 
desperate urbanite. Michel was acutely conscious of the fact that modern 
France — in what he called "our age" — was very different from historical 
France. Most of these differences he lamented; he detested technology and 
the resulting material progress of man, whom he called "a docile servant of 
machines."'-'^ Yet he was more willing than most conservative critics to under- 
stand that nature and country life helped to restore an equilibrmm to indus- 
trial man, and he correctly interpreted the rise of both rural tourism and 
landscape painting as a direct result of the changes wrought on society by 
industrialism and urban modernism. 

Michel saw the countryside painted by the Impressionists — about 
whom he did not know in 1876 — as a hideous, modern countryside, and he 
wrote of Paris as a great animal devouring nature. It is certainly no accident 
that virtually every "ruined" landscape he mentioned was painted by the 
Impressionists: the coasts destroyed by beach towns, the fields scarred by 
train tracks, and the suburbs polluted by factories. By comparing Michel's 
prose and Monet's paintings, one can see instantly that where the former 
hated modernism and retreated to the unspoiled countryside near the forest 
of Fontainebleau to escape it, the latter accepted it with utter equanimity. For 
Michel, tourism was an element of modernism to be feared, though he 
acknowledged the necessity of escape from the city; for Monet, tourism was 
an essential way of life. A day in the country — boating, eating, walking, 
reading, or just sitting — was a profoundly social experience for Monet and 
his colleagues. We have already referred to the populated world of the 
Impressionists, and we can see now that it was most often populated with the 
tourists despised by reactionaries like Michel. 

By the middle of the nineteenth century there were almost as many 
kinds of temporary visitors to the countryside as there were natives. The ur- 
ban elite, whether aristocrats manque or bourgeois, kept large country estab- 
lishments and lived, or attempted to live, like grand seigneurs, surrounded by 
servants, tenants, sharecroppers, and whatever other subservient populations 
they could afford or control. Others, middle-class people, built small country 
properties, which they used on weekends and for summer vacations.-^ In 
fact, the huge increase in the construction of country residences during this 
period went hand in hand with a rise in private gardening (see below, III/6). 
Whether one possessed an enormous "park," as did Monet's friends and pa- 
trons the Hoschedes, or rented a small country property with an enclosed 
garden, as did Monet, Pissarro, and Manet, the cultivation of an ornamental 
flower garden was a priority. Books and magazines devoted to private gar- 
dening were produced throughout the period of the Impressionists. Some, 
like the Almanach du jardinier amateur, which commenced publication in 
1870, catered to a middle-class audience, while others, like the luxurious Al- 
bums du paysagiste pour I'arrangement des pares et des jardins (1875), were 
written for the rich. This literature served to guide the Parisian in his creation 
of a temporary garden landscape for enjoyment on weekends and during the 
summer months. Here, too, the Impressionists followed the lead of what one 
might call the tourist class. 

Yet for the vast majority of urban petit bourgeois or working-class 
Frenchmen the country was accessible only for short periods of time. One 


could rent a small property for a week or a month, stay in a hotel for a week- 
end, or, most commonly, go to the country for a single day. This latter activ- 
ity, charming and easy as it might appear in the paintings of the Impression- 
ists, was not very socially elevating. Indeed, the day trips of many of the more 
lowly characters in French Realist and naturalist novels figure significantly in 
such narratives. Rural tourism came to be considered a social equalizer. 

Tourism became even easier and cheaper as the century continued and 
the number of train lines increased. With greater competition among the var- 
ious private firms offermg transport, fares were lowered, and people of very 
limited means could easily afford a day trip out of Paris by the middle of the 
Second Empire. Indeed, statistics indicate that the 1850s were the great dec- 
ade of railroad construction in the environs of Paris, and conventional trains 
were joined by such inventions as the omnibus americain, or horse-drawn 
trolley (fig. 37), and other rail vehicles. Many of the private and semiprivate 
rail lines produced their own promotional material, and an entire species of 
travel literature arose to appeal to their newly defined clientele (see below, 

Perhaps the most important item of this new genre was the series of 
guides called Les Chemins de fer illustres. Produced for mass circulation, the 
guides cost as little as 25 centimes and could he purchased either singly or in 
sets. Each guide consisted of a four- to eight-page booklet covering a single 
train line (Paris to Argenteuil, Paris to Pontoise, or Paris to Fontainebleau, for 
example). Each included a linear rail map marked with the major roads near 
the stations and a text describing the railroad line itself, its history, and its 
construction, as well as the major sites to be seen from it. The text also 
alerted the tourist to the beautiful rural walks and historical sites one could 
see after leaving the train and mentioned restaurants and inns, where 

Les Chemins de fer illustres appeared twice a month beginning in 
1858, and many celebrated authors, including Alexandre Dumas fils and 
Claretie, wrote for it. It inaugurated a type of publication that was widely 
copied by private railroads and transport companies. Many promotional 
schemes rather like those used to lure people onto airplanes today also were 
widespread in the nineteenth century. Tourists could take advantage of such 
special arrangements as group or weekend rates, tickets with unlimited use 
for short periods of time, and the like, and ordinary Frenchmen came increas- 
ingly to see the world through the eyes of the writers hired by Les Chemins de 
fer illustres and its competitors. 

The first important general guidebook to the environs of Paris was 
written by the greatest nineteenth-century popular travel writer in French, 
Adolphe Joanne. His guidebook Les Environs de Paris illustres, organized on 
the basis of the newly developed railroad lines, was first published in 1856 
and appeared in numerous later editions before being substantially rewritten 
and enlarged in 1872. If there is one book that proposed to systematize 
French tourism in the period of Impressionism, it was Joanne's guide. Writ- 
ten in clipped, efficient prose, his book tells the tourist about everything from 
village fairs to local eateries. It urges the intrepid traveler to take rural walks, 
describing how long they will take and the major sites to be seen. It talks 
about ruined abbeys, beautiful views, neglected public gardens, and hidden 
hamlets. It includes complete schedules of train arrival and departure times 
and of fares. So full of information is Joanne's guide that it would require a 
lifetime to complete the many diverse tours it describes. 



¥ig. 7. Renoir, Path through Tall Grass, 
fjC, *^' ^"i^'^tj^ "^"^ c. 1876-78. Oil on canvas. 60 X 74 cm. 
•^ -T^r^lr ■■ -^'^^^ Musee d'Orsay, Galene du Jeu de Paume, 

Paris. Photo: Musees Nationaux. 

What is fascinating about this book — and many others written before 
and after it — is that rural tourism was presented to their readers almost as a 
gourmet is presented with a wonderful dinner for consideration. There were 
the "main courses," major sites like Versailles or the view of Paris from Le 
Notre's terraces at Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Yet a perfect day in the country 
required visual hors d'oeuvres and desserts as well, and Joanne provided the 
tourist with suggestions for delightful promenades that would take him away 
from the "significant" monuments. Nothing was too humble to be examined 
by Joanne; he led Parisians up steep hillsides in anticipation of noteworthy 
vistas or through narrow rural paths to catch glimpses of grand chateaus. 

Joanne's landscape — and the landscape of all writers and illustrators 
of French- tourist literature — was a quintessentially public landscape. The 
tourist — whether on a train or a country path — was traversing a landscape 
which belonged, in a sense, to every Frenchman. Although this does not seem 
remarkable to us today, one must remember that travel was not only cum- 
bersome and difficult before the middle of the 1 800s, but that it also required 
passports and identity papers. Absolutely free movement for people of all 
social classes throughout the landscape (fig. 7) was something essentially new 
in this period. The fact that the French conquered their own countryside as 
tourists and landscape painters with such determination demonstrates the 
extent of their pleasure in this new freedom. Additional obstacles in their way 
were the travel restrictions imposed upon them during the Franco-Prussian 
War and the Commune. These factors must be remembered when we look at 
the delightfully accessible landscapes of the Impressionists or read the entic- 
ing prose of the guide literature which calls us out into the country. 

The freedom to go where one wanted, to wear what one wanted, to 



eat out-of-doors, to be seen with whomever one wished — all these freedoms 
were extolled time after time in travel literature. If the idea of an entire life 
spent in a provincial town or county seat has been considered a form of self- 
imposed imprisonment by French writers since Balzac, a day or even a month 
in the country, spent in the company of one's dearest friends from Paris, has 
been treated with considerably greater enthusiasm. Flaubert celebrated the 
charming, if temporary, glories of the publisher Jacques Arnoux's country 
residence in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Cloud in L'Education sentimentale 
(1869), but disparaged the charms of the provincial hometown of his hero. If 
one felt confined in the tightly ordered provincial society of Nogent, one 
could be truly liberated in the transplanted urban society of Saint-Cloud. 

These freedoms of a country tourist were not universally admired, 
however. Indeed, the countryside frequented by urban visitors came increas- 
ingly to be seen as a place of sexual license, immorality, and intrigue. One 
travel writer, Emmanuel Ducros, in a charming book called Chemin de fer 
(1884), described with great care and subtlety the processes of seduction that 
took place in a train compartment, quoting a delightful song about a "con- 
versation with the eyes" that took place in a one such "padded cell." And the 
ever-moral Guy de Maupassant wrote scathingly in his novel La FetJime de 
Paul (1880) about the goings-on, sexual and financial, at the popular restau- 
rant in Bougival painted by virtually every one of the Impressionists, La 
Grenouillere (The Frogpond) (no. 14). Such literary passages were not at all 
rare during the second half of the nineteenth century and contrasted in every 
way with the notion of the countryside as a place of moral rejuvenation that 
was equally common during the period. The fact that Zola set the dramatic 
murder from his first major novel, Therese Raqiiin (1867), not in Paris, 
where the characters lived, but in the countryside, tells us a great deal about 
the actuality of vice imported to the suburbs. One writer of the time went so 
far as to say that the railroad and rural tourism had ruined the basic fabric of 
French society by weakening the bonds of regional and family life.^'' As we 
have seen, this negative view of the countryside, common enough in lit- 
erature, is rare in Impressionist painting. 

Although the connections between painting and the railroad are mani- 
fold and fascinating, strangely enough there is not a single major book or 
essay which deals clearly and specifically with these issues. Perhaps the most 
amusing — and, in a sense, important — discussion of trains and art in nine- 
teenth-century France takes place in a satire by Etienne Baudry illustrated by 
Gustave Courbet and called Le Camp des bourgeois (1868). In a chapter 
entitled "Le Destinee de Tart" a group of fictitious characters discusses the 
problem of the placement of works of art in a modern, urban world. Their 
major contention is that the bourgeoisie cares little for its aesthetic property 
and that modern, urban man has less and less time to go to museums (an 
observation that has turned out not to be true!). The solution to this apparent 
conundrum is proposed by Courbet himself: to place works of art in train 
stations, which will become not only "temples of progress," but also "temples 
of art."-' He recommends filling the huge, empty walls of waiting rooms with 
paintings that will instruct or educate the mass audience which comes there 
rather than to museums. For Baudry, the train had so utterly altered the mod- 
ern world that it was necessary for artists to reconsider the relationship 
between their works and the new public defined by mass transit. 

If Baudry wrote about the train station as the new temple of art, other 
writers were obsessed with the effect of rail travel upon the human body and 



IMPRESSIONS [' compression:: DC VOYAGE. 

Fig. 8. Honore Daumier (French, 1808-1879), 
Impressions and Compressions of Travel ("Ah, 
misericordia, we are all lost!" "Eh! It's simply 
the train starting up again... as soon as the 
machine goes forward, the passengers go 
back ward... everyone knows that!..."). Litho- 
graph from The Railroads, 1853, pi. 9 (first 
state). Armand Hammer Foundation. Photo: 
Armand Hammer Foundation. 

its senses. While the volume of written evidence about the effect of speed on 
man is vast, two recent books, Marc Baroli's Le Train dans la litterature 
franqaise (1969) and Wolfgang Schivelbusch's Railway Journey (1979), treat 
the subject admirably. It was clear to early railway passengers that the phys- 
ical conditions of the railroad car as well as the speed and linearity of railway 
travel affected one's perception of the countryside and one's state of mind. 
The Goncourt brothers wrote in a fascinating manner of the vision of a rail 
passenger as a series of sensations/images/impressions perceived in rapid 
succession by an individual viewer who was forced into a continuum of time 
and space by the train itself.^- Speed, it was thought, changed one's relation- 
ship to place and to the landscape as a world of substance through which one 
could move and which one could touch (fig. 8). 

There are countless passages in contemporary travel guides that 
develop in specific contexts this idea of the dislocation of time in space pro- 
duced by railway travel. Louis Barron, who traveled in the He de France in the 
1880s and published his book Les Environs de Paris in 1886, made frequent 
mention of the contrast between one's perception of a place from a moving 
train and that obtained from a stationary or pedestrian viewpoint. As he 
crossed the Oise River on a train heading for Pissarro's town of Pontoise, for 
example, he made that contrast explicit: "One perceives a rapid and striking 
vision of a gothic, indeed almost oriental, city, and that image evaporates as 
the train stops at the totally modern edge of a small provincial town. What a 
strange contrast!"'^ The train's rapid motion allowed Barron to create in his 
imagination an image, which, while derived from the facts of the landscape, 
was not true to it. As is clear from this particular description, the town of 
Pontoise seen from the train was considerably more interesting than the town 
seen from within. 

Claretie, in his book Voyage d'un Parisien (1865), wrote of the rela- 



tionship between the way in which a landscape was perceived from the train 
and the way in which a landscape painter treated nature. 

Let us not disparage the straight line; it has its own particular charm. The country- 
side when perceived from the track of a train looks like it would if painted by an 
artist who proceeds, as did the great masters, to let us see only the large masses. 
Don't ask him for details, but for the whole ensemble in which there is life.^"' 

The countryside seen from the window of a train, for Claretie and many 
other writers, was an artistic countryside, then, lacking the stray details that 
would distract from what he called the "ensemble" of a landscape. His read- 
ers, simply by taking a train outside Paris, could "see" like artists. 

The fact that texts of this type were so common in this period must not 
be forgotten in a consideration of French landscape pamting. Artists also 
rode the trains in and out of Paris, as we have seen, and it is highly unlikely 
that they were unaware of the many allusions to train travel and painting 
made in the popular literature. To say that this material influenced them is 
perhaps too strong. It is correct, however, to point out the affinities between 
the view of the countryside reported by train travelers and the paintings by 
their contemporaries, the Impressionists. The landscapes painted by these 
artists in which trains puff away in the distance must have had two possible 
meanings to contemporary train riders. First, the train acted as an emblem of, 
or symbol for, the modern world of tourism. Second, the viewer was re- 
minded of the conditions of perception that occurred while riding a train. 

This last point is important because it raises the issue of the train as a 
symbol of progress, modernity, and change. Zola, in his novel La Bete 
humaine (1890), made the train itself (the "human beast") the "hero" of his 
novel. Zola's human characters fed, fixed, and ran the beast, giving their lives 
over to its rhythms, its moods, its demands. The Impressionists, particularly 
Monet, were clearly susceptible to the train's iconological power. Indeed, the 
latter's paintings of the 1870s, culminating in the great series of paintings of 
1877-78 representing the interior of the first Gate Saint-Lazare (nos. 30- 
32), served as a major source for Zola's later prose (see below, III/3— 4). 

It is interesting and not irrelevant to point out that the great anarchist- 
philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, in his posthumously published book 
Dn Principe de I'art et de sa destination sociale (1865), realized that 
machines themselves must enter the realm of art and suggested that motors 
be represented as perfectly and completely as possible. He called for a proper 
representation of the railroad train with the following words: 

In the locomotive, the motor is contained in the apparatus that puts it into motion; 
it is that condition which gives to the machine its formidable appearance and 
makes it truly representative of all machines. It is itself in every sense: its gigantic 
proportions, its roaring and its effect of panting, the smells of its furnace, its 
speed.... '^ 

Although many photographers and illustrators worked to record the train as 
the symbol of the two conditions of life thought essential to modernity' — 
speed and change — few important painters except Monet accepted such a 
challenge (see below, 111/3-4). 

The words "speed" and "change" occur over and over again in French 
writing, both popular and self-consciously literary, of the nineteenth century. 
Attitudes toward these seemingly inevitable conditions of modern life were 
predictably varied. The very frequency of their use together with the fact that 
many writers worried about the velocity of change indicates that concern 



over modernity and its ramifications was almost universal. Whether one 
embraced it, as did Monet and Zola, or looked at it vt'ith jaundiced eyes, as 
did Pissarro and Flaubert, the modern, urban world, the world of progress, 
seemed to be moving forward at a rapid and uncontrollable rate. The Impres- 
sionists painted many aspects of that world, surely knowing, as literate, if not 
highly educated. Frenchmen, that they lived on the cusp of time. Their paint- 
ings indicate to us that they kept one foot on each side of what seemed then to 
be the moment of transition between history and contemporaneity, between a 
world whose patterns were clearly defined and one through which one 
moved by instinct, unsure of the future. If their paintings project a certain air 
of complacency, almost an inevitability, this quality was achieved with dif- 
ficulty, indeed was wrung from a landscape in transition. In fact, when 
Impressionist pictures are considered in the context of their time, the concep- 
tual or philosophical confusion of nineteenth-century Frenchmen seems per- 
haps to be the clearest signal to us from a landscape in transition that was 
really not so different from our own. 

— R. B. 


1. Castagnary, 1869, pp. 3-4. 
I.Snyder, 1964, p. 9. 

3. See Castagnary, 1869. 

4. Lecarpentier, 1817, p. 25. 

5. Bloch, 1971, p. 15. 

6. Bioch, 1912-13, p. 325. 

7. Snyder, 1964, pp. 9-116. 

8. See Gellner, 1983. 

9. K. Varnedoe, work in progress. 
10. Zeldin, 1977, pp. 3-85. 
ll.Ibid., pp. 3-21. 

12. See Gravier, 1942. 

13. V. Scully, work in progress. 

14. See A. Joanne, 1859. 

15. Kohn, 1975, pp. 46-75. 

16. Bretteli, 1977, pp. 28-38. 

17. See Worcester Art Museum and The American Federation of Arts, 1982. 

18. About, 1864, p. 155. 

19. See particularly her introduction to Franqois le cbanipi (1846). 

20. Zeldin, 1973, p. 91. 
21.Faucher, 1962, p. 181. 

22. Thomson, 1891, p. 29. 

23. Pissarro, 1950, p. 500. 

24. See Worcester Art Museum and The American Federation of Arts, 1982. 

25. Bretteli and Lloyd, 1980, pp. 33-36. 

26. See Bart, 1956; Poinet, 1916. 

27. Guide de voyageur..., c. 1865, p. 1. 

28. Michel, 1876, p. 15. 

29. See Daly, 1864-72. 

30. Giffard, 1887, p. 314. 
31.Baudry, 1868, p. 289. 

32. See Baroli, 1969. 

33. Barron, 1886, p. 565. 

34. Claretie, 1865, p. 316. 

35. See Proudhon, 1865. 














■ *'l 

; i 





The French Landscape Sensibihty 

IN THE OPENING DECADES of the nineteenth century, landscape painting 
underwent a long, difficult, and bloodless revolution. This process even- 
tually led to the development of Impressionism, which, as we have seen, 
actually had roots deep within the tradition of French landscape painting 
(see above, II). In 1800 and 1818, respectively, the painter Valenciennes and 
his student Jean-Baptiste Deperthes had written valuable theoretical and 
practical treatises on landscape in an attempt to raise this genre from its then 
rather lowly position within the artistic hierarchy of acceptable subject mat- 
ter. This was not too difficult, in fact, since other types of pictures — specifi- 
cally, history paintings — had become arcane and difficult to decipher. As a 
result, well before the Impressionists began to paint, landscape, because of its 
relative ease of comprehension as well as its scale and attractiveness, had 
become a desirable commodity. The theoretical interest in it, combined with a 
demand on the part of a new and ever-increasing audience for art, provided 
the necessary basis for its popularity. 

By the mid-1 830s, landscape so dominated other painting genres that 
the influential periodical U Artiste could proclaim with confidence that 
"landscape is truly the painting genre of our time."^ By the '50s, landscape 
painting had become the second-most-purchased type of art acquired by the 
State. In his review of the Salon of 1857 Castagnary cited the decline of his- 
tory painting in favor of landscape with some pleasure, for he felt, along with 
many others, that it was the most important subject of art.- It is clear from 
the number of landscapes produced, exhibited, and sold that Castagnary had 
his finger on the pulse of his time. Although the Ecole des Beaux-Arts contin- 
ued its vain attempt to resuscitate the failing body of history painting, by the 
1870s the Barbizon painters had been so successful that the fledgling artists 
who later were to become the Impressionists could look to them to inspire 
hope for similar pecuniary results (see below, IV). 


Fig. 9. Nicolas-Antoine Taunay (French, 

1755-1830), Landscape with an Aqueduct, 

1810. Oil on canvas. 45.7 x 53.3 cm. 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Photo: 


As early as the seventeenth century, French theorists and critics had 
divided landscape into two sub-categories. The more acceptable to the 
Academie des Beaux-Arts and to wealthy patrons of this period was the "he- 
roic" landscape, which depicted a specific event and thus demonstrated the 
erudition of the artist as well as (and perhaps more importantly) that of the 
buyer The other category, which had a considerably longer and stronger life 
span, was the "rural" landscape, which merely illustrated a scene discovered 
by the artist in nature, and which was intended in turn to stimulate an emo- 
tional response similar to his on the part of the viewer In the eighteenth and 
early nineteenth centuries the heroic or historical landscape in the grand 
manner as conceived by Claude and Gaspard Dughet was raised to a position 
of preeminence. This does not mean, of course, that other types of landscape 
were not pursued. In fact, by 1850 the rural type had come to dominate the 

The subject of a landscape, then, was of the utmost importance. It 
affected the place of an artist's work in the Academic hierarchy and deter- 
mined the final appearance of a painting. According to Roger de Piles' 
Course de peinture par principes (1708), a forerunner of Valenciennes' and 
Deperthes' texts, the two different strains of landscape required by their na- 
tures different qualities of finish. The heroic, being the more important, had 
to be worked up to a high degree of completion, resulting in an extremely 
polished, smooth surface (fig. 9). The rural landscape, being of lesser impor- 
tance, did not require this level of finish, but could maintain instead a 
sketchier, more lively appearance, rather like that of a preparatory modele, or 
sketch. It was this lack of finish in rural landscapes as well as the conception 
behind them that proved attractive to later generations of painters and theo- 
rists. Interestingly enough, it was the rough surface of Impressionist paintings 
that most provoked the ire of contemporary critics, however (see below, IV). 

Valenciennes' 1800 text, entitled Elements de perspective pratique, os- 



Fig. 10. J.-B.-C. Corot (French, 1796-1875), 
Seine and Old Bridge at Limay, c. 1870. Oil 
on canvas. 40.7 .x 66 cm. Los Angeles County 
Museum of Art. Photo: LACMA. 

sified this bifurcated response to landscape and was adopted instantly as a 
handbook for landscape painters throughout the nineteenth century. In fact, 
even Pissarro recommended the book to his son as a guide to the fundamen- 
tals of painting. Although this may not have been the only inspiration for 
French artists' choice of sites to paint, it is nonetheless significant that it was 
Valenciennes who suggested that they search river banks, in France instead of 
in Italy (he mentions the Seine and Oise by name), as well as the forest of 
Fontainebleau, for new motifs to inspire different visual effects. In such 
locales, he said, the artist could capture his own emotional response to virgin 
landscape in sketches made en plein air, out-of-doors at the site. It was under- 
stood, of course, that such sketches were to be thought of only as studies for 
use later in working up larger paintings, which were finished in the studio. 
Deperthes, Valenciennes' student, reiterated these ideas in his 1818 book, 
Theorie du paysage. 

In the end, it was Deperthes, along with Marcel Guerin; Antoine- 
Chrysostome Quatremere de Quincy, Secretaire perpetuel de I'academie; 
Comte de Vaublanc, Ministre de I'interieure et de la decentralisation; and 
others who were influential in having the Academie institute a Prix de Rome 
for landscape painting in 1817. Although it was awarded only every four 
years and was granted exclusively in the category of heroic or historical land- 
scape, those whose concern had been the elevation of the lowly genre of land- 
scape painting felt that they had succeeded, and in no small measure. The 
very first Prix de Rome in this category was awarded to Achille-Etna 
Michallon for his 1817 Detnocritus and the Abderitans (Ecole des Beaux- 
Arts, Paris), whose title places it squarely in the category of heroic landscape. 
The Academie, no doubt, felt secure that this new prize assured a continuity 
with the moral-minded subjects of the other awards. This concern becomes 
more comprehensible when one sees it in the context of the contemporary 
historical situation. The Salon of 1817 was the first to follow the restoration 



Map 3. Melun and the Forest of 

of the Bourbons under Louis XVIII. More than anything else there was a 
conscious attempt on the part of the newly reinstalled monarchy to weave 
back together the great traditions of French history and art, which had been 
rent apart since the Revolution. Ignoring the sociological as well as the artis- 
tic changes which had occurred in the 28 years since 1789, the official artistic 
community sought to encourage the earlier tradition of historical landscape. 

Deperthes' belief that landscape, and most particularly rural land- 
scape, would attract those who were uneducated, who responded emotion- 
ally and not intellectually, may have made the political and artistic arbiters of 
the Second Empire apprehensive. In 1863 Comte de Nieuwerkerke, Superi- 
eure des beaux-arts under Napoleon III, fearing the growing interest in this 
most democratic of genres, abruptly eliminated the Prix de Rome for land- 
scape painting and proceeded to reform the entire structure of the Ecole des 
Beaux-Arts as well as Salon procedures. This same year saw the Salon des 
Refuses, the beginning of the end of the artistic hierarchy as it had been 

The growing interest in landscape painting could not be halted, how- 
ever. Indeed, in 1869, the Academic began to grant, albeit privately, a new 
prize in this genre. Every two years the Prix Troyon (contributed by the 
mother of the great animal-painter Constant Troyon) was to be awarded to a 
worthy artist. Now, however, there were no iconographical stipulations — 
neither a theme nor figural staffage of any kind was required. Pure landscape, 
already a success with both patrons and artists, was finally given official 
sanction. By 1868 Zola, in a review of the Salon of that year, could pro- 
nounce definitively that "classical landscape [was] dead, murdered by life 
and truth."' 

During the nineteenth century, as has been mentioned, a great many 
French artists took to the out-of-doors. They chose to render unidealized 
views of what lay before them, in the hope of capturing, in a casual way, the 
genius of a specific place. In this sense they opposed themselves to the formal- 
ity of their more traditionally inclined predecessors. No longer concerned 
with depicting scenes which took place in ancient Greece and Rome, they 
chose specific places in France as their sites (fig. 10). 

This nationalistic interest in specific locales was developed initially by 
Millet, Theodore Rousseau, Corot, Daubigny, Courbet, and others. But, al- 
though these painters tramped the uncultivated woods to the southeast of 
Paris (map 3) and the rough rocks of the English Channel (map 4), they were 
urban men, seeking what they believed the cities could no longer offer. They 
were men who found themselves in an increasingly mechanized world — art- 
ists who grew up and lived in a period when industrialization was making its 
greatest advances. In effect, their retreat from the urban centers, especially 
Paris, to a world uncontaminated by suburbanization, railroads, and the gen- 
eral development of industry was in every sense an escape to what they be- 
lieved to be a better world (see above, II). In the end, then, just as with history 
painting's artificially composed, self-contained, and intellectually self-refer- 
ential views of the Roman Campagna peopled by mythological or historical 
figures, French landscape painting at mid-century also sought to represent a 
golden age on canvas, but one of the relatively recent national past (fig. 11). 

As plein-air painters, the Impressionists were most like Corot and 
Daubigny in the way they sought to depict the landscape they discovered 
having stepped off a train, coach, or boat. The conciliatory nature of Corot's 



Map 4. Paris and Environs. 

and Daubigny's paintings — unlike the more confrontative modes ot Courbet 
and Millet — proved attractive to the Impressionists of the 1860s and '70s. 
Although the sense of preoccupation with the landscape was the legacy of the 
entire Barbizon group, in the areas of composition and overall mood only the 
complacent appearance and desultory atmosphere of certain paintings by 
that school were acceptable to, and adopted by, the new generation. On a 
technical level, however, Courbet's work was also of interest; his technique of 
thick impasto applied with a palette knife also influenced Monet, Pissarro, 
Cezanne, and — in a more limited way — Sisley and Renoir, most of whom 
Courbet met in person in the 1860s. 

Corot and Daubigny contributed in other than philosophical ways to 
the artistic formulation of early Impressionism. Corot's early attempts to 
resuscitate the classical compositions of Dughet and Claude, though trans- 
formed by him by the 1850s into a peculiarly personal idiom, were admired 
by the Impressionist painters. Daubigny sought to aid them through his per- 
sonal connections with the artistic establishment. In addition, the freedom 
with which his own later works were executed reveals a painter of an older 
generation in sympathy with younger artists. 

Overlaid onto the Barbizon artists' rigid compositions, interest in di- 
rectly observed nature, and heavy use of impasto and palette knife were the 
recent researches of Jongkind and Eugene Boudin into an even more pro- 
found pictorial literalism. Combining these elements with an intensified pal- 
ette of pure color, the Impressionists consciously prepared the way for some- 
thing totally new. However, the melancholy which pervades their early 
pictures betrays a tinge of emotionalism which they seemed able to eradicate 
only gradually. Their interest was in reducing the subjective interpolation of 



Fig. 11. Corot, Forest at Fontainebleau, 

1847. Oil on canvas. 90.5 x 129.5 cm. 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Photo: 

Museum of Fine Arts. 

the moods of man onto his surroundings, in eliminating the reflection of 
human feelings m nature seen, for example, in works by the Barbizon painter 
Diaz (fig. 12). They took the Barbizon landscape, then, and cleared it of its 
more overtly Romantic associations, of its subjective morality. They brought 
to it a degree of objectivity that had existed before only in sketches painted 
directly from nature. These are the most significant differences between the 
Impressionist landscape and its predecessors. 

The art of the Barbizon painters had sought to rally aesthetic forces to 
protest the disappearance of untouched nature and the decline of the "noble 
peasant" as a result of the industrialization and urbanization of France. The 
Impressionists, on the other hand, as we have seen (see above, II), found only 
beauty and wonder in those aspects of modernization that were totally alter- 
ing urban and rural life. The Impressionists accepted with equanimity man 
and his physical effect on the landscape. For example, although one of 
Monet's first paintings. Landscape ivith Factories (1858-61; Private Collec- 
tion, Paris) is a small depiction of a factory, just a few years later he was 
painting the Saint-Simeon farm near Honfleur (a favorite site in Normandy 
of the Barbizon painters) with the same degree of interest and a similar degree 
of detachment (nos. 4-6). Because man and his works were thought of as an 
integral part of nature, they were considered equally worthy of depiction. 

Monet's work at Honfleur serves to remind us that, in spite of the 
considerable philosophical differences between them and the Barbizon art- 
ists, the Impressionists' early sites were the very same ones which the Bar- 
bizon painters had begun to frequent in the 1840s and '50s. Tourists and 
Parisian weekenders had discovered them as well (see above, II). By the time 
Monet (fig. 13), Frederic Bazille, Sisley, and Renoir had followed Courbet, 
Daubigny, and Jongkind to the Normandy coast, Sainte-Adresse, Le Havre, 
Trouville, and Etretat had been so developed for tourism that the press could 
poke fun at their current state. Henry James, as Parisian correspondent to the 



Fig. 12. Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Pena 
(French, 1807-1876), Landscape, c. 1850. 
Oil on canvas. 31.7 x 41.9 cm. Los Angeles 
County Museum of Art. Photo: LACMA. 

New York Tribune, wrote on August 26, 1876, of the crowded beaches on the 
coast of Normandy: "From Trouville to Boulogne is a chain of what the 
French call bathing stations, each with its particular claim to patron- 
age. ...each weans you from the corruptions of civiHzation, but. ..lets you 
down gently upon the bosom of nature.'"* In this description of Etretat, James 
hit on the very reasons for the continuous middle-class flight from the city. 

Urban dwellers also sought the virgin forest of Fontainebleau and the 
small towns of Barbizon, Marlotte, and Chailly-en-Biere that edged its bor- 
ders. Although artists had come to the forest as a refuge from city life early in 
the century, by the 1860s it had become a seasonal retreat for all. Hotels and 
inns existed in every hamlet to absorb the myriad urban visitors. So common, 
in fact, had the escape to Fontainebleau become that, hke the beaches, it 
could be mentioned in print as an instandy recognizable tourist refuge. The 
tourist in Fontainebleau became a common topos in contemporary literature. 
Flaubert's L'Education sentimental has its hero, Frederic Moreau, take the 
demimondaine Rosanette to Chailly-en-Biere and Marlotte, with guidebooks 
in hand, to check off the trees and views described. In fact, the two tourists 
even espy a painter in a blue smock beneath a tree, presumably capturing his 
motif on canvas. 

While the earlier generation of landscape artists had come to Nor- 
mandy and Fontainebleau to depict the French landscape for the first time, in 
isolation, and as an escape from the city, the Impressionists came not to dis- 
cover the new, but to record the known; not alone, but as part of a crowd. 
While it is true that in the 1870s and even in the '80s they sought to render 
specific places under specific conditions, by 1892 — in the words of the critic 
Georges Lecomte — they had begun gradually to "[withdraw] themselves 
from reality and [make] compositions far from nature, in order to realize a 
total harmony."' This is not so very far from Castagnary's 1863 definition of 
naturalism, which embraced a group of artists who had turned almost exclu- 



Fig. 13. Monet, View of the Coast at Le 

Havre, 1864. Oil on canvas. 40 x 66.5 cm. 

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Photo: 

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. 


sively to painting landscapes that dealt in no way with the social, psychologi- 
cal, or political problems of the day. "^ The Impressionists had absolved them- 
selves of the responsibility to illustrate or to use representational color laid 
over a perspectival foundation of whatever sort (see below, III/8). 

The elimination of the historical, the anecdotal, and the sentimental 
from Impressionist pictures of the 1870s and '80s does not mean that these 
artists were iconographically indifferent, however. Just as with the lack of 
finish, it was the effrontery to established expectations about a given genre 
that caused critics to be outraged and the public to be scandalized over the 
exhibition of their paintings (see below, IV). The Impressionists' lack of con- 
cern for the highly finished and varnished surfaces of Academic paintings, as 
well as their disregard for traditional subject matter, were viewed as an attack 
on the forms of art that the government — through the Ecole des Beaux-Arts 
and the Salon — condoned and, more importantly, supported. In its efforts to 
save traditional painting with identifiable subject matter and slick surfaces, 
which was created in amazing quantity (there may have been over 100,000 
pictures produced during the second half of the nineteenth century), the State 
took a position of opposition to Impressionism, although, given the artists' 
fitful record of Salon acceptances, this opposition, while vocal, was not of a 
single mind. Even at the end of the century, there were those who still la- 
mented the popularity of the new landscape painting. Philippe de Chenne- 
vieres, Conservateur at the Musee de Luxembourg from 1863 to 1873, lived 
in anticipation of the passing of the plein-air school of Monet and the rest. 
The great landscape tradition of the past, he wrote in a letter to the landscape 
painter Charles-Frederic Henriet, eventually would be revived and France 
would see a return to expression, invention, and composition in art — charac- 
teristics which, he felt. Impressionism lacked.^ Plein-air painting as practiced 



by Monet and the other Impressionists finally did succumb to the passage of 
time. But the new school of landscape painters looked back less to the past of 
Henriet and de Chennevieres than forward in the spirit of the avant-garde. 

— S. S. 


1. L'Artiste, 1836, p. 25. 

2. Castagnary, 1892, vol. 1, pp. 2-48. 

3. Zola, 1959, p. 133. 

4. James, 1952, pp. 198,200. 

5. Lecomte, 1892, p. 58. 

6. Castagnary, 1892, vol. 1, pp. 105-106, 140. 

7. Henriet, 1896, pp. xvii-xviii. 


1. Claude Monet 

Beach at Honfleur 

(Le Bord de la mer a Honfleur), 


In the summer of 1864 Monet and 
Bazille set off from Paris by steamboat 
down the Seine for Honfleur on the Nor- 
mandy coast where Monet's parents, 
residents of Le Havre, had a summer 
house at Sainte-Adresse (nos. 4—6). Soon 
after their arrival, Bazille wrote to his 
mother from the rooms they had rented 
in the center of Honfleur: 

It took us a whole day to get here because 
on the way we stopped in Rouen [to see the 
Cathedral and the Museum].. ..As soon as 
we got to Honfleur we looked around for 
landscape subjects. They were easy to find 
because this country is a paradise.' 

Beach at Honfleur was begun very 
late in the summer after Bazille had re- 
turned reluctantly to Paris to pursue his 
medical studies. Monet stayed on, con- 
tinuing to meet and work with Boudin 
and Jongkmd. This painting of the Cote 
de Grace with its distant view of the Hos- 
pice lighthouse and the hospital of 
Honfleur may actually have been painted 
with Jongkind in attendance — a view of 
this same site can be seen in two 
watercolors by him, one of which is 
dated September 6, 1864 (Mr. and Mrs. 
James S. Deeley, New York, and Private 
Collection). Of all Monet's paintings of 
the harbor, jetty, and town of Honfleur 
executed during this period, however, 
Beach at Honfleur is the only depiction 
of this particular view. More than 20 
years later, Seurat chose the same site for 
a landscape (Alfred Beattv Collection, 

It is probable that Monet began his 
painting from nature, but there is no 
doubt that it was worked up later in the 
studio. The carefully applied, short, 
loaded strokes of paint that so success- 
fully capture the flickering coastal light 
and enliven the entire surface of the can- 
vas make it clear that the picture was 
completed in a comfortable environ- 
ment. In fact, in Bazille's painting (Pri- 
vate Collection, France) of the studio he 
shared with Monet until January 1866 at 
6, rue de Furstenburg in Paris, Monet's 
Beach at Honfleur may be the picture 
shown in the center of a wall of figure 
studies and landscapes; however, the 
cloud formations, six silhouetted sail- 

boats, and single figure (presumably a 
fisherman in a blue smock or blouse de 
travail, a kind of uniform adopted by 
workmen at this time) of Monet's fin- 
ished canvas are absent. This suggests 
that Monet may have brought Beach at 
Honfleur to completion some two years 
after he had commenced it.- 


1. The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, p. 166. 

2. Although D. Wildenstein (no. 41) accepts un- 
equivocably that Monet's painting is depicted 
here, one cannot rule out the possibiht)' that the 
work may have been by Bazille himself. That 
x\\o artists could choose to depict the same motif 
from the same point of view is shown over and 
over again in paintings by the Impressionists. 
This would not, however, nullif)' the argument 
presented here that Monet's painting was com- 
pleted later in the studio and not en plein air. 

2—3. Edouard Manet 

Departure from Boulogne Harbor 

(Sortie du port de Boulogne), 


Moonlight over Boulogne Harbor 

(Clair de lune sur le port de 
Boulogne), 1869 

Boulogne on the north coast of France 
proved to be attractive to Manet as well 
as other Parisian tourists. His arrival 
there sometime during the summer of 
1864 gave him the chance to experiment 
within the tradition of marine painting. 
Of all the pictures of this type that he 
completed. Departure from Boulogne 
Harbor seems the least dependent on 
reality. Although one could cite the 
strong influence of Japanese prints evi- 
dent in the picture's high horizon line 
and flat, smooth application of paint, a 
comparison of this painting with 
Manet's other marine subjects almost 
leads one to believe that the painting is 
either a sketch or simply a canvas record- 
ing his experiences away from the actual- 
ity of the site. Departure from Boulogne 
Harbor may have been the painting ex- 
hibited at the 1865 Salon (as no. 8) or in 
1867 (as no. 40, Vue de mer, temps 
calme). Its total abstraction provides lit- 
tle visual evidence of Manet's trip to 
Boulogne, however. As with The Battle 
of the Kearsage and the Alabama (Phila- 
delphia Museum of Art), which was ex- 
hibited at the dealer Cadart's shop in 
Paris in July 1864, it is unclear whether 
Manet painted Departure from Bou- 
logne Harbor from life. 



No. 1. Claude Monet 

Beach AT HoNFLEUR, 1864-66 



No. 2. Edouard Manet 

Departurje from Boulogne Harbor, 1864-65 



No. 3. Edouard Manet 

Moonlight over Boulogne Harbor, 1869 



The painting's horizontality is em- 
phasized by the relatively unmodulated 
blue-green of the calm sea, which oc- 
cupies three-quarters of the picture sur- 
face. The black boats with their cor- 
responding black sails add an ominous 
note to the seemingly straightforward 
scene. Through these various sailboats, a 
strange, apparently ironclad vessel 
powered by steam chugs diagonally up 
across the painting's surface, leaving a 
whitish-green wake which creates the 
only sense of movement into depth on 
the canvas. This picture carries the art- 
ist's disregard for traditional perspective 
to extremes; the painting is, in fact, with- 
out time or place. 

A more realistic picture, albeit a 
portentious and mysterious one, is 
Moonlight over Boulogne Harbor of 
1869. Manet had returned to the coast in 
this year, staying for two to three months 
at the Hotel Folkstone near the quay. 
From his window on the second floor of 
the hotel he recorded the day's activities; 
his subjects ranged from the Departure 
of the Folkstone Boat (Philadelphia 
Museum of Art) to this depiction of the 
local fishmongers whose white bonnets 
are illuminated by the moonlight as they 
prepare the night's catch for the morning 
market. The black shapes of the dock 
workers and fishermen are silhouetted, 
like the masts of the ships, against the 
brightly lit horizon. Although Manet 
was certainly inspired by the events seen 
out of his window, this scene was most 
certainly observed through a "filter": his 
experience of seventeenth-century Dutch 
paintings such as the fantastic nocturnal 
scenes of Aert van der Neer, a picture by 
whom Manet himself once owned. 

4. Frederic Bazille 

Beach at Sainte-Adresse 

(La Plage a Sainte-Adresse), 1865 

5-6. Claude Monet 

Terrace at Sainte-Adresse 

(Terrasse a Sainte-Adresse), 1867 
The Beach at Sainte-Adresse 
(La Plage de Sainte-Adresse), 1867 

Bazille and Monet came to Honfleur not 
only because of Monet's filial devotion, 
but because the great Barbizon painters 

had come to work at this very place: the 
Saint-Simeon farm outside Honfleur and 
its surro.unding woods, coasts, and 
towns. Bazille's Beach at Sainte-Adresse 
was based heavily on Monet's painting 
of the same site (1864; The Minneapolis 
Institute of Arts) and was conceived, 
along with a landscape of Saint-Sauveur 
(Bazille's father's farm near Mont- 
pellier), as overdoor panels in response 
to a commission from the artist's uncle, 
M. Pomie-Layrargues, for his house in 
Montpellier. To render his view of Le 
Havre, the next town along the coast 
south of Sainte-Adresse, Bazille simply 
enlarged Monet's painting at the right 
and reduced its highly reflective light to a 
rather more sober one created by a 
lowering sun; the sense of scale which 
Monet found so difficult to capture is 
here brought into harmony. However, 
unlike Monet, Bazille did not paint sur le 
fnotif, that is, at the site; his painting was 
based on Monet's smaller picture and 
undoubtedly was executed in the studio. 
In fact, on the left over the stove niche in 
Bazille's painting of that studio can be 
seen a landscape painting by himself 
which may have been placed there to 
inspire him in creating these room 

Monet returned in the summer of 
1867 to Sainte-Adresse — the vacation 
haven of the bourgeoisie of Le Havre and 
of tourists from Paris — to visit his family 
and to paint. Terrace at Sainte-Adresse 
depicts members of his family seated on 
the terrace above the English Channel. 
Monet's father is shown seated wearing 
a white straw hat and looking toward 
the sailboats and Le Havre two kilome- 
ters away. The horizon line is populated 
by all manner of seagoing craft: small 
boats with sails furled are seen close to 
the harbor and town, boats with full sails 
trimmed can be seen further away, and 
steamships and large rigged ships pass 
the Cap de la Heve on their way into the 
Channel. Seen in the lowering sun of a 
late summer day are the kinds of subjects 
Monet preferred to depict — the sea, the 
middle class at leisure (Sainte-Adresse 
had been "created" by tourism), and cul- 
tivated gardens (see below, III/6 and 8). 
As critic and collector Theodore Duret 
pointed out in 1878, in Monet's pictures 
"you won't find any cattle or sheep. ..still 
less any peasants. The Artist feels drawn 
toward embellished nature...."' 

That same summer Monet depicted 
the beach at Sainte-Adresse just south of 
this terrace. The same three-sailed boat 
seen above the parasol held by Monet's 
distant cousin, Jeanne-Marguerite 
Lecadre, in his painting of the terrace has 
here come closer into Sainte-Adresse. 
Other pleasure boats with and without 
sails are shown both moored and in use. 
Monet has contrasted a group of local 
fishermen with a man and young girl 
seated at the water's edge and dressed in 
bourgeois fashions; undoubtedly they 
are tourists. The man watches some of 
the distant boats through a spyglass. Ho- 
tels can be seen at the left on the edge of 
the high ground before it slopes to the 

No site, no activity was too mun- 
dane for Monet to set down on canvas 
during these visits to his family during 
the summer months between 1864 and 


l.Nochlin, 1966, p. 30. 

7—8. Frederic Bazille 

Landscape at Chailly 
(Paysage a Chailly), 1865 
The Forest of Fontainebleau 

(Foret DE Fontainebleau), 1865 

Bazille and Monet, while students (with 
Sisley and Renoir) in Charles Gleyre's 
Paris studio, spent the Easter holiday of 
1863 in the forest of Fontainebleau in 
order to paint from nature. Exactly two 
years later, Monet returned to Chailly- 
en-Biere, one of the more important 
towns situated just at the edge of the for- 
est, southeast of Paris, a few kilometers 
from the smaller town of Barbizon. 
Sisley and Renoir were also in the vi- 
cinity, staying in Marlotte. Monet wrote 
to Bazille in Paris to join him. Bazille 
took the 59-kilometer train journey 
from the Gare de Lyon and joined Monet 
at the Hotel du Lion d'Or near Melun 
sometime at the very beginning of the 
summer. In the surrounding forest they 
painted in the open air. In fact, for Bazille 
it was the last time he would paint at 
Fontainebleau; his only plein-air paint- 
ings done after this were executed in the 
south of France, near his family's 
Montpellier estate (no. 79). 



No. 4. Frederic Bazille 

Beach AT SArNT*ADRESSE, 1865 



No. 5. Claude Monet 
Terr,^ce at Saintt-Adresse, 1867 



'.{Mirf t-noriir^'^ ' 

No. 6. Claude Monet 

The Buch at Sainte-Adresse, 1867 



Chailly-en-Biere and Barbizon are 
less than two kilometers apart on the 
western edge of the forest. Rousseau 
painted there in the late 1830s and by 
mid-century Charles Jacques and Millet 
had actually moved to the latter hamlet. 
Even today there are no railway lines to 
either town although they are both on an 
important post road from Paris. A visitor 
traveling by train to either place from the 
Gare de Lyon would disembark at Melun 
(45 kilometers from Paris) or Bois-le-Roi 
(51 kilometers from the city). In the 
immediate vicinity of both towns are two 
of the most popular of the sites so often 
recorded by landscape artists: the stand 
of oaks at Bas-Breau (with its famous 
Bodmer Oak) and the Gorges d'Apre- 
mont. Bazille and Monet knew these 
sites intimately, having seen them in 
paintings and having had with them 
their guidebooks by Claude-Frangois 
Denecourt and Joanne (see above, II), 
which provided (in handy octavo vol- 
umes) a point-by-point tour of the forest, 
with important landscape features indi- 
cated by blue and red markers. With 
these guides, and in the company of the 
various artists whom the two young men 
came to know there, Monet and Bazille 
saw and painted some of the major sites 
of the forest in the summer of 1865. 

Landscape at Chailly and The For- 
est of Fontainebleau, then, represent 
Bazille's last artistic attempts to record 
the landscape of the He de France. And, 
as in his previous efforts, his debts to the 
great masters of the Barbizon landscape 
are evident. At this time Monet was 
working on studies for his large Lun- 
cheon on the Grass (Destroyed), with 
Bazille posing for several of the figures; 
the painting itself was completed in their 
Paris studio in 1866. Bazille's own con- 
cern was more with landscapes like those 
illustrated here as well as with a painting 
of Monet recuperating from an accident 
(Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de 
Paume, Paris). It must have been particu- 
larly exciting for the artists to have 
Courbet come to watch them work as 
well as introduce them to Corot. 

These two landscapes by Bazille rely 
less on the works of his acknowledged 
masters in the genre than on his own 
ability to capture the summer light as it 
played across the foliage and rocks of the 

forest. In fact, Landscape at Chailly has 
the appearance of having been begun 
and completed totally sur le motif. It has 
all the informality and brilliance of a Co- 
rot sketch of 40 years earlier and reveals 
an artist of great confidence and ability, 
capable of carrying off a similar under- 
taking on a larger scale. The painting 
possesses the vibrant luminosity for 
which Monet had begun to strive the 
previous year at Honfleur. The Forest of 
Fontainebleau, on the other hand, 
reveals a constant awareness of a great 
Barbizon landscape formula which 
Bazille emulated. His palette here is 
dark, and the quality of flickering light is 
less insistent and certainly less dependent 
on reality than in Landscape at Chailly. 
Bazille's reliance on the work of Corot 
and Diaz is evident in The Forest of Fon- 
tainebleau. The two paintings together 
reveal an artist at a crucial moment, as 
he moves away with assurance in new, 
and as yet unexplored, directions from a 
dependence on his artistic ancestors. 

9. Camille Pissarro 

The Banks of the Marne in Winter 


Critics of the Salon of 1866, in which 
this early river scene was shown, were 
struck, as we are today, by the mundane 
quality of the scene Pissarro had chosen 
to depict. The simple field, long road, 
and barren farm near his home in La 
Varenne-Saint-Hilaire on the Marne 
River (across from Chennevieres-sur- 
Marne) just southeast of Paris struck a 
particular aesthetic chord and prompted 
some favorable comment in the contem- 
porary press. Although the painting may 
have been finished in the Paris studio to 
which the artist had had access since 
1864, by January 1866 Pissarro had 
moved with his family to La Roche- 
Guyon on the Seine just north of Paris, 
on the way to Rouen. 

In spite of the fact that the 1866 
Salon was the first in which Pissarro did 
not state his association with his teacher 
Corot and the Barbizon school, the 
painting obstinately betrays a debt to the 
latter. Corot's earlier dark palette as well 
as his extraordinary ability to create a 

palpable yet inexorable framework for 
his landscapes are evident here. Al- 
though one can still feel a tension 
between the Barbizon painters' concern 
for the conveying of a particular mood 
(here quite naturally heightened by the 
season depicted), and Pissarro's belief 
(echoed by his Impressionist colleagues) 
in a totally natural and objective point of 
view, the balance is clearly tipping here 
in favor of the latter aesthetic. The paint- 
ing's power comes from Pissarro's on- 
going experience of the work of Courbet. 
But while the facture reveals the former's 
awareness of the latter's use of the pal- 
ette knife, it was combined here with the 
medium-reduced pigments of Daubigny 
in an attempt to achieve a flatness of 
stroke and effect combined with a sense 
of pure, but dull, color. To point out 
Pissarro's heritage, however, in no way 
mitigates his great originality even at this 
stage of his career. 

10. Alfred Sisley 

Avenue of Chestnut Trees at 
La Celle-Saint-Cloud 
(Allee de chataicniers pres de la 
Celle-Saint-Cloud), 1867 

Sisley worked in his studio in Paris until 
1870. The subjects of his paintings dur- 
ing this period show that he traveled and 
worked in and around the capital and 
the areas near the towns of Barbizon and 
Fontainebleau. His Avenue of Chestnut 
Trees at La Celle-Saint-Cloud was 
shown in the Salon of 1868. It was 
painted at La Celle-Saint-Cloud, six- 
and-a-half kilometers from Saint-Cloud 
to the west of Paris in the township of 
Marly-le-Roi. Situated between Bougival 
and Vaucresson on the Paris — Saint- 
Germain-en-Laye railroad line, the Allee 
de Chataigniers was considered the most 
interesting of the three woods which sur- 
rounded the tiny town of La Celle with 
its population of 560. When Sisley vis- 
ited the area to paint in 1866-67, the 
Allee was owned by Napoleon III (per- 
haps one of the reasons why Sisley was 
able to show his picture at the Salon in 

By the early nineteenth century 
Saint-Cloud had become a very popular 
Parisian holiday refuge, easily accessible 
by train and steamboat. Paul Huet, one 



No. 7. Frederic Bazille 
Landscape at Chailly. 1865 



K - . - 

V - 


': ^ , ^ ^ 

"'■<«=r-/^ , -^>"" 


No. 8. Frederic Bazille 

The Forest of Fontainebleau, 1865 



No. 9. Camille Pissarro 

The Banks of the Marne in WrNTER, 1866 
(detail on p. 52) 



of the important artists associated with 
Barbizon, recalled that Saint-Cloud was 
"that enchanting place one talks about 
when in Italy."' The April 18, 1874, issue 
of La Vie Farisienne encouraged readers 
who liked long, beautiful walks in the 
country to visit the area as often as possi- 
ble. And, according to Augustus J. C. 
Hare's Days near Paris (1888), "true 
Parisians of the middle class have no 
greater pleasure than a day spent at 

This painting shows Sisley's reliance 
on Barbizon artists such as Rousseau, 
Courbet, Diaz, and Daubigny. It was 
Daubigny who advocated Sisley's being 
approved by the Salon jury. Twenty-eight 
years earlier Rousseau had submitted a 
painting entitled Avenue of Chestnut 
Trees (Musee du Louvre, Paris) to the 
Salon of 1839, and it had been rejected. 
Although Rousseau's painting depicts 
the Chateau de Souliers near Cerizay in 
Poitou and not Saint-Cloud, the concep- 
tion of the two pictures is close enough 
to suggest that Sisley knew Rousseau's 
picture. The enclosing forest of full- 
leafed trees depicted by the former pro- 
vides a brilliant pattern across the entire 
surface of his canvas. The deeply satu- 
rated colors on a dark ground reveal his 
dependence on Courbet's landscapes of 
the early to mid-1860s, such as his in- 
numerable depictions of the Puits Noir. 
So, too, does the deer crossing the road 
at the center right — a motif which some 
of Courbet's new patrons demanded be 
included before they would purchase his 
pictures, in order to provide a focus or 
sense of relative proportions. Corot's 
painting of the same period as the Sisley 
work. The Sevres Road (1864; The Baf- 
timore Museum of Art), depicts a contig- 
uous site and also may have been an 
inspiration. Sisley's work, however, is 
much more timid than Courbet's; the 
former's technique relies less on the 
latter's palette knife than on Corot's 
later, more personal, liquid application 
of pigment, which allowed for few hard 
edges: one object effortlessly blends into 
another. Sisley's treatment never approx- 
imated Corot's lyrical fantasies, how- 
ever; his work remains impersonal and 
firmly wedded to the reality of the place 


l.Miquel, 1962, p. 34. 

2. Hare, 1888, pp. 11-12. 

11. Alfred Sisley 

Village Street of Marlotte 
(Rue du village a Marlotte), 1866 

Although the training in landscape of 
Sisley, Monet, Bazille, and Renoir in 
Gleyre's Paris studio was limited and the 
studio closed down in March 1863 due 
to the master's ill health, the four men 
remained friends, traveling and painting 
together when they could find the time. 
In fact, in 1865 Renoir and Sisley went 
to Marlotte, a town of less than 100 peo- 
ple near Moret on the Loing River, just 
southeast of Fontainebleau, at the invita- 
tion of Renoir's friend Jules Le Coeur, 
who had a house there. Monet and 
Bazille went to Chailly-en-Biere at the 
very edge of the forest of Fontainebleau. 
The train from the Gare de Lyon would 
have taken under two-and-a-half hours 
to travel the sixty-five-kilometer dis- 
tance. Although there was no train to 
Marlotte, it was a short coach ride or 
walk from the Bois-le-Roi station to 

Marlotte and Chailly were not so 
far apart that the four men did not occa- 
sionally see one another. For example, 
Renoir recorded their dining together at 
mere Anthony's inn in a large painting, 
At the Inn of Mother Anthony (1866; 
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm). Renoir 
and Sisley remained in the area, spending 
the fall and winter of 1865 at Marlotte, 
after Bazille and Monet had returned to 
Paris. According to Joanne's guide, 
Marlotte was frequented almost exclu- 
sively by landscape artists. The Gon- 
courts described it as "the chosen birth- 
place of modern landscape."' 

Village Street of Marlotte was one 
of Sisley's two entries for the Salon of 
1866. A modest painting, it bears close 
relationships to works by the Barbizon 
painters that Sisley so admired, espe- 
cially those of Jules Dupre and Corot. 
Dupre's emotional attachment to his 
subject matter, however, seems to have 
been eradicated in Sisley's painting, 
which shows the beginning of a kind of 
objective detachment from the scene 
depicted. The gray-gold light of early fall 
reveals the starkness of a mundane cor- 
ner of the small village. Only the blue- 
smocked peasant chopping wood on the 
right breaks the stillness of the aban- 
doned street. 
1. Goncourt and Goncourt, 1971, p. 73. 

12. Eugene Boudin 

On the Beach at Trouville 
(Scene de place a Trouville), i860 

Although Boudin initially based his own 
paintings on those of the Barbizon paint- 
ers, whose work he exhibited in his fram- 
ing and stationery shop in Honfleur, he 
quickly found his own metier painting en 
plein air in and around the towns on the 
Normandy coast. He felt that landscape 
artists could achieve an honesty and 
"vividness of touch" only by "painting 
outside, by experiencing nature in all its 
variety, its freshness."' Combining this 
concern for the out-of-doors with a 
depiction of fashionable contemporary 
society, Boudin's beach scenes added a 
wondrous dimension to the expanding 
genre of landscape. In fact, the artist 
became rather sensitive, indeed defen- 
sive, about his chosen subjects: 

...those middle class people who are stroll- 
ing the jetty at the hour of sunset, have they 
no right to be fixed upon canvas, to be 
brought to our attention. ..these people 
who leave their offices and cubbyholes?- 

Boudin's On the Beach at Trouville 
encapsulates Charles Baudelaire's con- 
cerns for painting "modern life," dis- 
cussed at length in his article for Le 
Figaro, "Peintre de la vie moderne." For 
both the painter and the author moder- 
nity was "the ephemeral, the fugitive, the 
half of art whose other half is the eternal 
and the immutable."' In Boudin's paint- 
ings, all these aspects are combined with 
the verisimilitude in which the artist 
delighted. Here, chicly dressed middle- 
class people are enjoying a day at one of 
the great resorts on the Normandy coast. 
Boudin has enlivened the flat coastal set- 
ting, created in a facture finely filtered 
through the experience of paintings by 
Courbet, whom he had met and escorted 
around Le Havre the previous year. The 
horizontality of the beach and sky 
(which occupies three-quarters of the 
picture) is enlivened by a controlled dis- 
position of figures across its surface and 
by carefully placed patches of pure color. 
The whites, blues, and reds of the figures 
provide a lively counterpoint which ani- 
mates the canvas in a way totally unique 
to Boudin. 


l.Rewald, 1980, p. 38. 

2. Ibid. 

3. Baudelaire, 1970, p. 13. 



No. 10. Alfred Sisley 

Avenue of Chestnut Trees at La Celle-Saint Cloud, 1867 



No. 11. Alfred Sisley 

Village Street of Marlotte. 1 866 



No. 12. Eugene Boudin 




The Cradle of Impressionism 

THE Seine winds in long, meandering loops west of Paris, skirting 
the hills at Sevres and pushing into the Parisis plains near the village 
of Asnieres. It then swoops back to Argenteuil and runs a straight 
course until it arrives at Bougival, where it bends again, discouraged 
by the rising terrain that runs from that small town to Saint-Germain-en- 
Laye. Nestled in these softly contoured hills are the villages of Bougival, 
Louveciennes, and Marly-le-Roi (map 5). 

The landscape in and around these villages was truly the cradle of 
Impressionism. Here, in the summer of 1869, Monet, Renoir, and Pissarro 
worked together for the first time at rendering the same outdoor view and 
began to forge the shared, informal, plein-air aesthetic of Impressionist land- 
scape painting. If — as Arnold Hauser and many students of the movement 
have long maintained — Impressionism was an urban art form, born around 
the tables of the Cafe Guerbois in Paris during the second half of the 1860s, it 
was in the suburban countryside west of the capital that the notions of mod- 
ern painting discussed in Paris were first tested. The place names of this re- 
gion — Bougival, Louveciennes, Voisins, Port-Marly, Saint-Michel, and 
Marly-le-Roi — appear over and over in the tides of the paintings we have 
come to associate with the beginnings of Impressionism. 

Monet moved to Bougival with his mistress, Camille Doncieux, and 
their son, Jean, in June 1869. Renoir spent that summer in nearby Ville- 
d'Avray, a favorite locale of Corot's, but came frequently to visit both Monet 
in Bougival and his own mother and grandmother, who owned a house at 1 8, 
route de Versailles in Louveciennes. The two painters worked together inten- 
sively during September, when their great series of landscapes of the Seine 
along the He de Croissy were painted (nos. 13-14). It is possible that Monet 


Map 5. Bougival, Port-Marly, and Environs, i- fi^e&. 

and Renoir had come to this region to join Pissarro, who may have moved 
from Pontoise — where he had hved for several years — to Louveciennes as 
early as the fall of 1868, but who was definitely in residence by May 1869 
(fig. 14). The Pissarro family rented part of a large house called the Maison 
Retrou at 22, route de Versailles, and Monet stayed with them during Decem- 
ber 1869, when he and Pissarro worked together just as Monet and Renoir 
had done earlier (nos. 15—16). Sisley may have visited them that winter and 
definitely moved to a house on the rue de la Princesse in the hamlet of Louve- 
ciennes called Voisins in the summer or early fall of 1870. In the end, of all 
the painters Sisley was the most faithful to this area. Renoir was there 
scarcely more than a month, and Monet left after less than six months. 
Pissarro lived in Louveciennes for nearly a year and a half, but Sisley returned 
again and again from 1870 until at least 1878. For this reason, the majority 
of the paintings in this section are by him. 

Why did the Impressionists come to this particular area? The villages 
southwest of Paris near the forest of Fontainebleau had been claimed long 
before by the Barbizon school. Chintreuil and a group of his friends had colo- 
nized the charming, hilly region near Igny and Bievre, southwest of Paris. 
Daubigny had moved to Auvers, northwest of the capital, where he was vis- 
ited by Daumier, Corot, and many others. And Corot and his students had 
claimed the landscape just west of Paris near Ville-d'Avray, Sevres, and La 
Celle-Saint-Cloud. Indeed, landscape painters tended more often than not to 
colonize the countryside in groups, as if to guard themselves from "the na- 
tives," and the Impressionists were no exception. For this reason, the land- 
scapes painted by them around Bougival and Marly have a collectivity of 
both style and subject. 

The Impressionists' reasons for their choice of sites were never clearly 



stated, but it is not terribly difficult to guess what the attractions of this Fig. U. Pissarro, Winter Landscape, 1869. 

particular area would have been. First, Bougival is only 17 kilometers from O'' °n canvas. 38.3 x 46.3 cm Walters Art 

\ • 1 • J J ij 1 ■ u • -.u- TA - i ™ Gallery, Baltimore. Photo: Walters Art 

the capital — indeed, one could reach it on the train within liJ minutes rrom q^]^^/ 

the Gate Saint-Lazare. Second, it was well known enough among mid-cen- '- 

tury landscape painters — particularly Celestin Francois and Charles-Fran- Fig. 15. Renoir, La GrenonHlere, 1869. Oil 
qois Nanteuil — that one could feel comfortable working there. And third, it on canvas. 66 x 81 cm. Nationalmuseum, 
was already famous. Gerard de Nerval had extolled its charms as early as Stockholm. Photo: Nationalmuseum. 
1855 in his Promenades et souvenirs, saying that, by living in nearby Saint- 
Germain-en-Laye, "one has the resources of the city, and one is almost com- 
pletely in the country."' And Emile de La Bedolliere, in his famous book 
Histoire des environs de nouveau Paris, published in the early 1860s with 
illustrations by Gustave Dore, treated the town of Bougival as an artists' 
colony, mentioning the hordes of artists and writers who "come together 
each year in Bougival."- 

In 1867, just two years before the arrival of Monet and Renoir, the 
novelist Victorien Sardou was asked to contribute an essay on the environs of 
Paris to a vast guidebook, Paris Guide par les principaux ecrivains et artistes 
de la France, which was published in connection with the "Exposition Uni- 
verselle" in Paris during 1867. His offering, entitled "Paris en Promenade — 
Louveciennes, Marly," commenced with this resounding paragraph: 

Are you an intrepid hiker?... Does the bright sunshine invite you into the fields? 
And do you want to get to know the most picturesque and the richest region in all 
the environs of Paris, one [that is] justly praised? If so, get up early in the morning 
and go to Bougival, and, after a big lunch on the banks of the river, proceed to 
Marly-le-Roi by the road through Louveciennes, the route of schoolboys.' 

There are countless ways in which Sardou's delightful text leads us 
directly "into" the Impressionist paintings we know so well today. Certain 
phrases, sentences, and even entire paragraphs evoke the landscapes of Sisley, 
Pissarro, and Monet, almost as if Sardou's prose was written after — rather 
than before — the pictures were made. Particular roads — the rue de la 
Princesse on which Sisley lived and from which he painted so many land- 
scapes, for example — are mentioned lovingly by Sardou. The painters almost 
seem to have been illustrating his observations of the river's banks, of the 





Fig. 16. Jules Pelcoq (French), At La 
Grenouillere, n.d. Woodcut from Le Monde 

illnstre, 1868. 

play of light and shade along a hillside, and of the houses on the slope near 
Louveciennes. Pissarro's Vietv of Loiiveciennes (1869; The National Gallery, 
London) could be coupled with the following passage from Sardou's text: 

On one side, grape arbors; on the other, a hollow abounding in greenery; in front, 
houses lost in the foliage. ..and, crowning it all, the beautiful arcades of the aque- 
duct, which give the landscape a grand, Italian air. In sum, the most wonderful 
arrival in the country that one can find! Wherever you turn your eyes, the lines of 
the terrain fold in harmonious undulations with the most beautiful contrasts of 
light and foliage. Everywhere there are space, fresh air, country smells, and the 
great silence made up — I don't know how — of a thousand sounds that result from 
the freedom of the sky, the vigor of the wind, the calls of the birds,. ..all of which 
tell you clearly: "Here is a true village! You can enter.. .take off your clothes if you 
are hot. ..sing if you are happy.. .you will offend no one in this place!""* 

This very freedom and the ease of living in such places as Bougival, 
Louveciennes, and Marly clearly appealed not only to the Impressionists who 
spent time in these places, but also, as we have seen, to their countrymen who 
came from Paris for the summer, a weekend, or the day (see above, II). In fact, 
these charming villages were not simple rural settlements, but rather subur- 
ban communities in which many Parisians owned country residences and 
from which others commuted to work on the train and omnibus. Their 
inhabitants were not — strictly speaking — villagers; they were not traditional 
peasants, small shopkeepers, or farmers. Indeed, much of the real estate in 
this region was owned by absentee landlords who had little expectation of 
economic gain from this ownership and who possessed either large country 
residences with considerable grounds or small houses perched precariously 
on small parcels of land. Statistics indicate clearly that such people swelled 
the villages durmg the summers and on weekends while the population of 
permanent residents of Bougival, for instance, actually declined from 2,316 
in 1868 to 2,086 in 1878." The "weekenders" hired local people as servants 
and companions, and some of them owned small restaurants or commercial 


Figs. 17-19. Henri Bevan (French, b. 1825), 
The Machine de Marly; Aqueduct at 
Louveciennes; Pool at Marly, all 1870. 
Albumen prints from glass negatives. Each 
12.5 X 16.5 cm. Private Collection, Paris. 
Photos: Musee d'Orsay, Paris. 



businesses. There was also a considerable population of truck gardeners who 
provided fruit and vegetables on a small scale to the Parisian gentry as well as 
to the central markets in Paris, Les Halles. In the very diversity of their econo- 
mies and their dependence upon urban civilization, these suburban villages 
were quite different from the "peasant" villages around the forest of Fon- 
tainebleau or in the Vexin plains near Auvers painted by members of the 
school of Pontoise (see below, III/5). 

The two most important — and most often represented — sites in the 
landscape around Bougival in the mid-nineteenth century were the Seine 
around the restaurant called La Grenouillere near Bougival (no. 14) and the 
park of the ruined Chateau de Marly at Marly-le-Roi (see above, II). Each of 
these sites was a powerful symbol for Frenchmen — the first, of the possibility 
of unrestrained "rural" leisure made accessible by train travel (fig. 15), and 
the second, of the greatness of the French past. La Grenouillere was men- 
tioned in every Second Empire and early Third Republic (1870-1940) guide 
to the environs of Paris as a delightfully noisy — and more than occasionally 
rowdy — place to eat, swim, boat, and drink that was both inexpensive and 
easily accessible from Paris. La Grenouillere literally floated on the Seine, and 
one could rent boats and small bathing houses in which to change clothing 
and enjoy oneself. Popular prints roughly contemporary with the period of 
the Impressionists illustrate the charms of the place. For example, one from 
the mass-circulation periodical Le Monde illustre of 1868 (fig. 16) shows a 
group of rather vulgar — and probably somewhat drunk — people cavorting 
in the water near the restaurant. Another, from the Illustrated London News 
of 1875, is somewhat less satirical and indicates clearly that the fame of this 
small place had already spread to England. La Grenouillere was among a 
handful of places around Paris that were known to practically everyone who 
lived there; it was the Moulin de la Galette of the suburbs. 

The most notable aspect of La Grenouillere during the nineteenth cen- 
tury was its immorality. It was a place in which people from various social 
classes could meet in utter anonymity, unafraid of the prying eyes of friends 
or neighbors. For that reason, and because of the quantities of alcohol con- 
sumed and the rounds of dressing and undressing before and after swimming, 
La Grenouillere came to be associated with prostitution and loose morality, 
as the prmt from Le Monde illustre makes clear. The lengthiest and most 
fascinating proof of this association is a vivid, if somewhat prim, passage 
from Maupassant's novel La Femme de Paul: 

One senses there, even through one's nostrils, all the scum of the world, ail the 
most distinguished riffraff, all the moldiness of Parisian society: a melange of 
pretenders, ham actors, lowly journalists, gentlemen guardians, worm-eaten 
speculators, debauchers, decayed bon vivants; thronged among all the most sus- 
pect of people, partly known, pardy lost, partly acknowledged, and partly dishon- 
ored, crooks, petty thieves, purchasers of women, captains of industry with distin- 
guished airs, who seem to say: "Anyone who treats me like a rascal will get 

The park of the Chateau de Marly, the favored country retreat of 
Louis XIV, was the opposite of La Grenouillere in every way, at once grander 
and quieter. Praised most fervently in the nineteenth century by Sardou, the 
park had been designed by Le Notre in the late seventeenth century as part of 
the great aquatic system that brought water from the Seine up the hills by 
way of the tnachine de Marly, a series of huge water wheels only just rebuilt 



by Napoleon III (fig. 17), through the aqueduct also designed by Le Notre at 
Louveciennes (fig. 18) to the great storage pools at the Chateau de Marly (fig. 
19). These eventually fed the fountains of Versailles. The chateau and its 
numerous outbuildings had been destroyed during the Revolution, and nine- 
teenth-century visitors to the park walked through a silent, deserted land- 
scape which spoke as poetically of the failure of the aristocracy as of its bril- 
liance. The massive Baroque garden scheme lent a distinctly aristocratic 
character to the landscape around Port-Marly, Louveciennes, and Marly-le- 
Roi. The route de Versailles, on which both Pissarro and Renoir lived, for 
example, had been designed as a royal road for the carriages which took the 
court from Saint-Germain-en-Laye to the Chateau de Marly and on to Ver- 
sailles. Its straight, tree-lined character was at odds with the crooked paths 
and huddled roofs of the village of Louveciennes, which it passed. The aque- 
duct, painted by Pissarro and Sisley (The Aqueduct of Marly [1874; The To- 
ledo Museum of Art]), dominated the landscape from Bougival to Saint- 
Germain-en-Laye. Thus the paintings by Pissarro and Monet of the route de 
Versailles (no. 15) and by Sisley of the machine de Marly, the aqueduct, and 
the pools at Marly-le-Roi (no. 21) are unimaginable without Louis XIV and 
his planners (see above, II). 

The album of an important amateur photographer, Henry Bevan, who 
lived in Louveciennes in the 1860s and '70s, casts an interesting light on the 
subject matter of paintings made at precisely the same moment by the 
Impressionists (see below, V). Called Photographies, Louveciennes et 
Bougival par Henry Bevan, the album, made in 1870 and still in the collec- 
tion of Bevan's family in France, was a private attempt to record all aspects of 
the landscape in and around which another family, the Mallets — to which 
Bevan was related by marriage — and their friends maintained large country 
properties. In many ways Bevan was an archetypal "new" inhabitant of the 
Louveciennes region. He was wealthy, having recently married one of the 
heiresses to a banking fortune; he lived in a large compound owned by his 
wife's family in the newly built-up region near the Place de TEurope in Paris; 
and he commuted on weekends back and forth to Louveciennes. He had 
learned to photograph in the 1850s and was already an excellent technician 
when he began his series of photographs of the "cradle of Impressionism." He 
certainly knew the great photographic critic Francis Wey, who also kept a 

Figs. 20-21. Bevan, Residence of Horace 
Mallet; The lie de Croissy: La Grenouillere, 
both 1870. Albumen prints from glass nega- 
tives. Each 12.5 x 16.5 cm. Private Collec- 
tion, Paris. Photos: Musee d'Orsay, Paris. 



Figs. 22-23. Bevan, Port-Marly; Banks of 

the Seine, both 1870. Albumen prints from 

glass negatives. Each 12.5 x 16.5 cm. Private 

Collection, Paris. Photos: 

Musee d'Orsay, Paris. 

house in Louveciennes and had written perceptively about landscape photog- 
raphy in the 18505." It is unlikely that Bevan knew any of the Impressionist 
painters personally — he was wealthy enough that his circle would most 
probably not have overlapped with theirs. Yet he surely saw them as he 
prowled through the landscape they were painting in search of photographic 
motifs. What is surprising, therefore, is the extent to which "his" 
Louveciennes and "theirs" differed. 

Bevan's photographic album begins with — and had its social roots 
in — the country residence of his father-in-law, the great banker Horace Mal- 
let (fig. 20). Dominating its immense, exotic gardens on a slight rise, the mas- 
sive, commanding dwelling of three floors had a large, recently built addition. 
Later plates in the book show its gardens, beautifully clipped and main- 
tained, and the country residence of Bevan's sister-in-law. Mile. Mallet, who 
owned a slightly less imposing dwelling with its own garden and a wonderful 
orangery. Then come two photographs of the superb garden of a M. de 
Bourrevilles. Fully eight of the twenty-eight landscape photographs in this 
book represent the private properties of wealthy landowners from Paris. 

Clearly, this is not the kind of landscape subject painted by the Impres- 
sionists. Indeed, Sisley, the only painter who did include several of the large 
country properties of Louveciennes in his painted landscapes, usually showed 
them as they could be seen from public roadways, sitting comfortably in the 
middle grounds of their landscapes.^ In the end, one must conclude that there 
was a social and economic gulf between the photographer Bevan and the 
Impressionist painters, his exact contemporaries, and that this gulf in itself 
caused their differing responses to the same landscape. The walled gardens of 
the haute bourgeoisie were not open to the Impressionists in those years. 

Bevan did wander outside the carefully maintained compounds of his 
family and friends, however, and, on these wanderings, made landscape pho- 
tographs of sites that could equally have been — or that were — painted by the 
Impressionists. For example, he photographed La Grenouillere, perhaps the 
only site depicted by the photographer, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, aitd Sisley. 
But Bevan's carefully labeled view (fig. 21) shows us the restaurant from the 
Bougival side of the river, and we see it as merely one element in a spacious 
river landscape. It was the river that was important to Bevan, not La 



Grenouillere, and he made a number of other photographs of the Seine that 
demonstrate this interest (figs. 22-23). These photographs come closer to 
the paintings of the Impressionists than any others by Bevan and provide 
evidence of the deep affection for the national river that was shared by them 
all (see above, II, and below, III/4). 

In spite of this particular rapprochement, the photographer's and the 
painters' landscapes of the Seine are different in every way. Bevan, like many 
good tourists of his day, traveled with guidebook in hand and was interested 
in significant historical monuments. He lovingly photographed the churches 
at Louveciennes and Bougival (fig. 24), both of which were virtually never 
portrayed by the Impressionists (see above, II), and carefully documented the 
remains of the great park of the Chateau de Marly. This latter landscape, 
historically the most important in the region, was practically ignored by the 
Impressionists. In the end, the vast majority of Bevan's photographs have an 
"important" subject which embodies his own values — wealth, religion, and 
commerce. The Impressionists persistently avoided such motifs, implicit or 
explicit, preferring to follow the lead of painters like Corot and Daubigny 
and to search out beauty where one would least expect to find it. Their early 
landscapes pamted in the "cradle of Impressionism," diverse as they seem, are 
almost aggressively ordinary, and they are as important for what they omit- 
ted as for what they contain. More often than not, the painters denied the 
motifs photographed by Bevan in their early paintings, turning their own 
backs to them (no. 21), screening them behind trees (nos. 13, 19, 72), or 
simply organizing compositions so that they are just to the left or right of the 
view included in the frame (nos. 59, 63-64, 69) — a view that is intentionally 

— R. B. 

Fig. 24. Bevan, Church in Bougival, 1870. 
Albumen print from glass negative. 12.5 x 
16.5 cm. Private Collection, Paris. Photo: 
Musee d'Orsay, Paris. 


1. See de Nerval, 1855. 

2. de La Bedolliere, early 1860s, p. 85. 

3. La Croix (ed.), 1867, vol. II, p. 1455. 

4. Ibid., pp. 1456-1457. 

5. A.Joanne, 1881, p. 167. 

6. In the Bulletin of the Societe Fran^aise de Photographic and in La Lumiere. 

7. There is only one case of correspondence between the country-house photographs of Bevan and the 
landscape paintings of the Impressionists, and that involves a photograph by Bevan called Luciennes, 
Property of M. de Bourrevilles and a painting by Sisley entitled The Duck Pond at Louveciennes (1873; 
Private Collection). Although their compositions are different, their subjects and points of view are the 
same. Perhaps Sisley was given permission to enter the park of M. de Bourrevilles to paint a landscape 
that IS otherwise unique in his oeuvre. We can feel secure in saying that Bevan knew M. de Bourrevilles 
and that his photograph was made as a record of their social connections. 



13. Claude Monet 

The Bridge at Bougival 

(Le Pont de Bougival), 1869 

Monet seems already to have been paint- 
ing in Bougival by June 1869. The first of 
his Bougival canvases to be sold, The 
Bridge at Bougival is among the largest, 
most traditionally composed landscapes 
he painted during 1869—70. For his mo- 
tif, Monet chose the small bridge from 
the He de Croissy in the river to the town 
of Bougival that had been inaugurated 
on November 7, 1858 (fig. 6). He con- 
centrated his attention less on the archi- 
tecture of the bridge itself than on the 
spatial relationship between the unpaved 
road across the bridge to the town be- 
yond and the road leading down to the 
river. One would have seen such a land- 
scape at the end of a day at La Grenouil- 
lere, just as one was returning to 
Bougival to catch the train to Paris. 

The composition of this painting 
was conceived along strictly geometric 
lines and relates, in this way, to such ear- 
lier paintings as the Terrace at Sainte- 
Adresse (no. 5). The painting is divided 
in half both vertically and horizontally, 
and the horizon line was placed exactly 
one third of the distance from the bot- 
tom of the painting. The trees, fences, 
and figures were each carefully posi- 
tioned to make the space of the land- 
scape totally legible. This composition 
has its most important antecedents in the 
paintings Corot made at nearby Ville- 
d'Avray,^ and one can point to any of a 
number of examples known to Monet. 
Perhaps the closest is the famous Yille 
d'Avray, The House of Cabassud (1865— 
70; Musee du Louvre, Paris), but even 
this comparison reveals the extent to 
which Monet was more insistent in his 
application of rigid structural principles. 

Like many landscapes which record 
the humble sites of the He de France, this 
one has no true subject. Monet was care- 
ful to balance the various elements of the 
landscape so that one would not domi- 
nate the others and did not include a sin- 
gle historically important form. Indeed, 
he positioned himself so that the spire of 
the church in Bougival, the only archi- 
tecturally remarkable form in the land- 
scape (fig. 24), was screened by the trees. 
In his de-emphasis of this church, an 
important local monument, Monet not 
only projected his own ideolog>' onto the 
landscape, but also indicated clearly that 

he was not interested in creating a topo- 
graphical picture dependent upon an 
architecturally unique building to give it 
a "sense of place" (see above, I— II). 

Monet sold this picture in 1870 to 
the dealer pere Martin, who supported 
both him and Pissarro; it was not pub- 
lished until 1921 nor exhibited until 
1949 (see below, IV). 


l.Seitz, 1960, p. 82. 

14. Claude Monet 

Bathing at La Grenouillere 

fL£s Bains de la Grenouillere), 1869 

Monet worked actively with Renoir (fig. 
15) on a group of paintings of La 
Grenouillere during August and Septem- 
ber. Monet himself referred to the two he 
did as "miserable sketches,"' in spite of 
the fact that he signed them (probably 
later) and that one of them (The Metro- 
politan Museum of Art, New York) was 
in the collection of no less a connoisseur 
than Manet. This latter painting has long 
been an icon in the history of Impres- 
sionism and has been published in- 
numerable times m juxtaposition with 
Renoir's painting of the same subject 
(Nationalmuseum, Stockholm). Both 
these compositions are centered on a cir- 
cular swimming platform known as "Le 
Camembert" and connected both to the 
shore of the He de Croissy and to the 
floating restaurant. 

Unlike The Bridge at Bougival (no. 
13), the subject of Bathing at La 
Grenouillere is essentially without 
precedent. There are no major pictures 
by Corot, Daubigny, or Courbet that re- 
late to it, and it comes closest icono- 
graphically to beach pictures painted by 
Monet's teacher and mentor, Boudin, on 
the north coast (no. 12). Both Monet 
and Boudin approached the subject of 
bathing with a fair degree of primness 
and from a distance. 

This painting has a considerably 
more informal and aaive composition 
than its counterpart in New York. 
Painted from the restaurant platform it- 
self, it shows a raised wooden walkway 
in front of which is a delightful still life 
of rowboats waiting to be rented and 
behind which are changing rooms, also 
for rent. Again, as was most often the 

case during the Bougival period, Monet 
divided the composition vertically and 
horizontally into halfs and thirds, and 
important forms were anchored to this 
structure (no. 13). In this way, the 
world's constant flux — of reflections, 
moving boats, jostling figures, and rus- 
tling trees — is held in check, and there is 
a sense of activity arrested and con- 
trolled by the artist (see above, I). 
There are many parallels between the 
depictions of La Grenouillere in popular 
prints and Monet's paintings, parallels 
which indicate that the prints (fig. 16) 
acted as a collective — if indirect — 
source for both his and Renoir's render- 
ings. However, the boldness and rigor of 
Monet's touch as well as the strongly 
geometric division of the picture surface 
are his own, and his pictures of the float- 
ing restaurant can be contrasted in every 
way with those of Renoir. For the lat- 
ter — as for the popular illustrators of 
the time — the "landscape" of La 
Grenouillere was essentially a "human- 
scape," a populated realm in which the 
artist gave himself over fervently to the 
description of moving figures. Whereas 
Monet's thickest, most confidently 
applied painted marks represent streaks 
of light reflected in the water or glisten- 
ing on the wet sides of wooden boats, 
Renoir's brush lovingly caressed his fig- 
ures. Anonymous as they are, they have 
their own actualits- which transcends the 
landscape in which they move; none are 
mere staffage figures. On the other hand, 
Monet's figures merely participate in the 
spectacle of a lighted landscape, a land- 
scape without a hierarchy of forms to be 
interpreted by the painter. The world of 
bourgeois leisure was painted by him as 
a unified, vibrating field, as the "field of 
vision" so often discussed in contem- 
porary texts about light and human 
sight. In fact, one thinks less of popular 
illustrations when one confronts these 
paintings by Monet than of the lyrics of a 
famous popular song about Bougival 
quoted by de La Bedolliere: 

Of the sun, of the air, of the water 

That God brings me 

In this luminous picture 

In which my view is full, 

I always see 

Green fields in front of a blue sky.- 


1. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. I, p. 45. 

2. de La Bedolliere, early 1860s, p. 87. 


No. 13. Claude Mcnet 

The Bridge at Bougivai^ 1869 
{detail on p. 78) 



15. Claude Monet 

Versailles Road at Louveciennes — 


(Route A Louveciennes — effet de 

NEICE), 1869-70 

Monet made two paintings of the route 
de Versailles in the winter of 1869-70 
while staying with the Pissarro family. 
Their house is clearly visible in this, the 
more important of the two composi- 
tions, as the large dwelling on the left 
side of the street. The Pissarros rented 
part of this house between the autumn of 
1869 and the outbreak of the Franco- 
Prussian War, at the beginnmg of which 
they fled from the environs of Paris to 
safety in Brittany. Pissarro himself 
worked on several paintings of the street 
during the same winter. One composi- 
tion closely related to Monet's Versailles 
Road at Louveciennes — Snow, and with 
the same title (Walters Art Gallery, Bal- 
timore), was purchased from the dealer 
pere Martin by the Baltimore collector 
George Lucas in January 1870 (see 
below, IV). This suggests that Monet's 
painting might also date from the last 
months of 1869. In fact, it may record 
the great snowstorm of 1869 which took 
place in December and was written 
about voluminously in the newspapers. 
Record snowfalls and cold temperatures 
caused many deaths and forced closure 
of the Seine in certain sections. This 
painting, which records the effects of 
that winter on a "royal road" lined with 
large and comfortable houses, is less an 
image of desolation than one of comfort 
and domesticity in the midst of winter. 

Literature about the origins of the 
Impressionist movement in the region of 
Bougival and Louveciennes customarily 
has stressed the importance of the rela- 
tionship between Monet and Renoir at 
La Grenouillere in the summer of 1869 
while downplaying or even dismissing 
the important relationship between 
Pissarro and Monet later in that yean 
This superb canvas makes it clear that 
both friendships were equally beneficial 
and significant. Pissarro's major land- 
scapes from the years before 1869 are 
strongly composed village scenes painted 
at midday. Great as they are, they reveal 
the artist's debt to Corot and to the clas- 
sical landscape tradition in which the 
careful arrangement of forms rather than 

the evocation of forms in time (or 
weather) is of paramount importance. 
Monet, on the other hand, had learned 
from Boudin and Jongkind the secrets of 
a kind of landscape painting in which 
time — of the day, of the seasonal cal- 
endar — played across and changed the 
forms of nature. Here, he seized the mo- 
tif of the street with a directness and 
simplicity that recall his earlier Rue de la 
Bavolle at Honfleur (Museum of Fine 
Arts, Boston). Yet in Versailles Road at 
Louveciennes he painted snow — what 
Renoir was later to call "the leprosy of 
nature"' — as it received and reflected 
the dull light of a winter day. The picture 
is alive with pinks, mauves, pale yellows, 
and manifold beiges, all of which Monet 
manipulated to enliven the whites and 
mixed off-whites of the snow itself. 

While Monet was working on this 
canvas and the related Road at 
Louveciennes, Fallen Snow, Sunset 
(1874; Private Collection), Pissarro 
began a series of paintings of the same 
road — at different times of the day, in 
different seasons, and from different 
directions — that illustrates clearly the 
effect of his friendship with Monet. Al- 
though not conceived to be exhibited as a 
group, Pissarro's canvases were the first 
careful e.xamination of the temporal 
structure of a "constant" landscape in 
the history of art. It is surely no accident 
that these landscapes about time are cen- 
tered not on a building, a tree, or a hill, 
but on a road, along which passed the 
men, women, and children of Pissarro's 
dav. This series represents a landscape 
seen in passing, and it might be said that 
it would not have been executed had it 
not been for Monet, who gave his older 
colleague the necessary push to make 
him a true Impressionist landscape 


1. Rewald, 1980, pp. 341-351. 

16. Camille Pissarro 

Landscape at Louveciennes (Autumn) 
(Le Paysace aux environs de 
Louveciennes [Automne]), 1869-70 

This monumental landscape was prob- 
ably begun in 1869, shortly after 
Pissarro moved to Louveciennes and 
established close contact with Monet. 

The painting was finished in 1870, per- 
haps before Pissarro's departure for Brit- 
tany in July and his eventual trip to Eng- 
land in December. Both the composition 
and the patchy, rugged facture indicate 
that he had just seen such paintings by 
Monet as The Bridge at Bougival (no. 
13) and even the pair of paintings of La 
Grenouillere (no. 14). When seen in con- 
trast to the village landscapes of similar 
dimensions that Pissarro had painted 
during the previous two years at Pon- 
toise, this picture appears both more 
complex and more informally struc- 
tured. Gone are the rectangular areas of 
paint that interlock to form a rigorous 
geometry. Instead, walls, roofs, win- 
dows, leaves, furrows, manure, plants, 
figures, and paths are woven together to 
form a closely modulated texture of 
overlapping brush strokes. It is as if 
Pissarro had been released from an aes- 
thetic prison by his exposure to the work 
being done by Monet and Renoir, and, in 
spite of the fact that his desire to struc- 
ture his painting geometrically remained, 
it was mitigated in this monumental, 
decidedly Impressionist canvas by an 
abandoned recording of a "field of vi- 
sion" with all its complexity and 

Pissarro's motif in this painting is a 
group of kitchen gardens behind a row 
of small mid-nineteenth-century houses 
on what was then called the rue des 
Creux and is today the rue du Marechal 
Joffre in Louveciennes. Little more than 
a village path along which humble 
dwellings had been constructed since the 
seventeenth century, the rue des Creux 
contrasted in every way with the royal 
route de Versailles, which ran roughly 
parallel to it and on which the painter 
lived (no. 15). Where the latter was a 
wide, paved artery linking Louveciennes 
with Marly-le-Roi and Versailles, the 
former was unpaved, unimportant, and 
without a destination other than the 
fields themselves. It linked Louveciennes 
only with the land. Pissarro could reach 
the site of this landscape after a three- 
minute walk from his own house down 
the small path visible at the front of the 
painting, then, as now, called the rue du 
Pare de Marly. 

Unlike Monet and Renoir, Pissarro 
retained a dogged affection for the tradi- 



No. 14. Claude Monet 
BATHrNG AT La Grenouillere, 1869 
(detail on pp. 2-3) 




No. 15. Claude Monet 

Versailles Road at Louveciennes — Snow. 1869-70 



No. 16. Camille Pissarro 

Landscape at Louveciennes (Autumn), 1869-70 



tional landscape of the rural poor, the 
majority of Louveciennes' year-round 
residents. He did not depict the imposing 
country residences of the nouveau 
riche — pictured in the distance in works 
by Sisley' — nor are we given a glimpse 
of the palatial summer houses built by 
the aristocracy throughout the region 
during the eighteenth century, the most 
famous of which was the chateau built 
by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux for Mme. du 
Barry in the hamlet of Voisins. Here, in- 
stead, we see a simply dressed woman, if 
not a peasant then a housewife or ag- 
ricultural worker, in the midst of an 
utterly mundane landscape. She is carry- 
ing a bucket and chatting with a young 
boy — her son? — dressed as a rural la- 
borer, but carrying his school satchel 
over his shoulder. While we can easily 
imagine that she inhabits one of the 
humble dwellings in the background 
with her husband and family, the satchel 
of the boy, tiny and discreet as it is, refers 
to education and to the expanding lit- 
eracy — and ambition — of France's rural 
youth. While Pissarro was celebrating 
rural France, Monet and Renoir were 
painting their glorious celebrations of 
urban leisure at La Grenouillere (no. 14; 
fig. 15). Although the difference between 
these two modes may appear to be im- 
mense, both were equally important 
components of early Impressionism. The 
boy's satchel is as powerful a symbol of 
modernity and freedom as Monet's 
floating restaurant. 


l.Daulte99, 100, 144. 

17. Camille Pissarro 

Wash House at Bougival 

(Le Lavoir, Bougival), 1872 

This richly detailed view of the Seine at 
Bougival has traditionally been titled Le 
Lavoir, Pontoise and has been thought to 
be a representation of the smaller Oise 
River near the town of Pontoise, to 
which Pissarro moved in the late spring 
of 1872. In fact, comparison with firmly 
documented pictures by Sisley' as well as 
with contemporary photographs of the 
Seine at Bougival by Bevan (see above, 
III/2) make a correct identification of the 
site possible. The misidentification, triv- 
ial as it might appear, is significant 

because this painting reveals the indus- 
trial aspect of modernization in this re- 
gion, an aspect missing from most paint- 
ings of the area by Pissarro's colleagues. 
Even Sisley, who painted exactly the 
same landscape three years later (no. 23), 
omitted the smokestack from the small 
factory at the left, as if to de-emphasize 
the building's industrial nature. 

Wash House at Bougival makes an 
explicit visual comparison between 
handwork and the work of machines. 
The composition is centered on a float- 
ing washing facility in the Seine where 
local women would pay a minimal sum 
to wash their clothes directly in the river. 
Presumably, the woman leaning on the 
tree at the left of the painting is waiting 
her turn, and her presence, as well as her 
direct gaze at the viewer, gives greater 
reality to the hand labor of the silhouet- 
ted women already in the washing 
facility. Directly behind them and further 
along the river is a small factory with its 
chimney smoking discreetly, and behind 
it, the village of Bougival. It is autumn or 
winter; the trees are bare and the barges 
move slowly up the river under the 
unmodulated light of a gray day. If this 
pamting has a subject, it is the delicate 
balance between man and machine in a 
changing landscape, recorded with im- 
mense concentration and refinement. 

The painting is startling when one 
considers that it does represent Bougival, 
but not the Bougival of Sardou, of the 
painter Fran^ais (see above, III/2), or of 
Monet and Renoir. It is difficult when 
looking at the picture to realize that La 
Grenouillere (no. 14) was no more than 
100 yards from this landscape, on the 
right. Indeed, Pissarro, in his only 
painted representation of the restaurant 
(traditionally called The Oise at Pontoise 
[1872; Location unknown]), included it 
only as a flimsy building at the right of a 
balanced composition, the other half of 
which was dominated by the same fac- 
tory we see at the center of Wash House 
at Bougival. Neither 'of these paintings 
shows us a landscape that conforms to 
any common notions of rural beauty, nor 
do they express clearly the modern, na- 
tionalist desires of Pissarro's France (see 
above, II). That they were made before 
and after the disastrous days of the 
Franco-Prussian War and the Commune, 

respectively, tells us that certain of 
Pissarro's anxieties about the modern 
world played the role of social and aes- 
thetic constants in his work during a 
period of rapid political change. 


l.SeeDaulte 159-160. 

18. Camille Pissarro 

Landscape near Louveciennes 
(Paysage, Louveciennes), c. 1875 

Although traditionally dated 1875 and 
called Paysage a Pontoise, this picture 
was painted near Louveciennes, prob- 
ably in 1870, but possibly during 
Pissarro's second campaign in that re- 
gion during 1871 and early 1872. Its 
facture and its palette, which tends 
toward browns and greens, bear little 
relationship to those of Pissarro's paint- 
ings of 1875, many of which were 
painted with a palette knife and have 
bright, high-keyed palettes. Although 
the group of farm buildings chosen as 
the central motif of Landscape near 
Louveciennes has not been identified, 
and the resolute flatness of the site makes 
it difficult to place near that town's hilly 
environs, three paintings securely 
datable to Pissarro's Louveciennes 
period represent the same buildings.' Of 
these. Landscape near Louveciennes is 
closest to the awkwardly titled Path in 
the Field ivith a Garden Gate at the 
Right (1871; French and Company, New 

As we have already seen, Pissarro's 
representations of this region, in their 
frank acceptance of the traditional rural 
landscape, contrast with those of his col- 
leagues. However, this painting, centered 
on a collection of farm buildings prob- 
ably built earlier in the century, is not 
strictly bucolic. Indeed, Pissarro has 
included a construction site in the fore- 
ground of the picture where a new build- 
ing, perhaps a country house, perhaps 
another farm building, is being built. 
His insertion of this image of change 
undercuts the viewer's easy, pleasurable 
response to the rural landscape as a re- 
treat from progress and urbanism. 


1. Pissarro and Vcnturi 83, 126, 190. 



No. 17. Camille Pissarro 

Wash House at Bougival, 1872 



No. 18. Camille Pissarro 

Landscape near Louveciennes, c. 1875 



No. 19. Alfred Sisley 

First Snow at Louveciennes, c. 1870-71 



19. Alfred Sisley 

First Snow at Louveciennes 
(Premieres Neices a Louveciennes), 

C. 1870-71 

If this picture was in fact painted during 
the winter of 1870 in Louveciennes, it re- 
lates closely to the famous winter land- 
scapes of the same region by Monet and 
Pissarro. The earliest of these were most 
likely begun late in 1869 (no. 15) and 
finished in 1870. We know, however, 
that Sisley moved to Louveciennes dur- 
ing the Commune, and it is more likely 
that this painting was made in the winter 
of 1870-71 with Monet's and Pissarro's 
earlier landscapes in mind. It is even pos- 
sible that Sisley saw the many paintings 
by Pissarro left in his house in Louve- 
ciennes when his family fled hastily to 
Brittany m 1870 (see above, III/2). Yet 
whatever its true relationship to the win- 
ter landscapes by his friends, First Snow 
at Louveciennes is among the most mas- 
terful works in this genre of the early 

For his motif Sisley chose the small 
road called the rue de la Paix, which led 
into the village of Louveciennes from the 
hamlet of Voisins, where he lived. There 
are no remarkable buildings included; 
indeed, the bell tower of the small church 
at Louveciennes is screened by the trees 
at the left (see above, 1II/2). This land- 
scape, like those already mentioned of 
Monet and Pissarro, is a celebration of 
what was, in fact, a small road which 
was "enlarged" by Sisley to cover most 
of the picture's foreground. The humble 
seventeenth- and eighteenth-century 
stone and stucco buldings of the village 
huddle in a picturesque jumble at the end 
of the road. Only the clearly articulated 
plane of the house at the left gives 
strength to the middle ground. There is a 
delicate tension created by the contrast 
between the densely concentrated village 
and the spreading, spacious arcs of the 
road; the composition invites us to look 
at a small village from the perspective of 
the world "beyond" it. 

20. Alfred Sisley 

The Seine at Bougival 

(La Seine a Bougival), 1872-73 

"Totally accessible as it is, you will leave 
unwillingly the banks of the river [at 
Bougival], so charming, so luminous, so 

verdant...."' Sardou, who wrote those 
delightful words in his 1867 guide to 
Paris and its environs (see above, 111/2), 
surely must have been describing the 
part of the Seine painted early in the 
1870s by Sisley. In this and another ver- 
sion of the composition (National- 
museum, Stockholm), Sisley painted the 
river in one of its few unspoiled reaches 
near Paris. Here, there is nothing but 
water, trees, and sky. No boats ruffle the 
placid waters. No newly built country 
houses disgorge noisy swimmers and 
boating parties into the water. The river 
is even tranquil enough that water plants 
grow along its banks at the left. This 
river-scape harks back to those of Dau- 
bigny, who worked near and far away 
from Paris on scenes of equivalently e.x- 
quisite natural beauty. 

It is difficult to imagine when look- 
ing at this painting that the Seine near 
Bougival was actually a busy waterway, 
along which hundreds of barges and 
steamboats passed on their way to the 
increasingly industrialized river ports of 
Argenteuil, Courbevoie, and, of course, 
Paris. Just behind Sisley, as he faced the 
He de Croissy looking downstream, was 
not only the town of Bougival with its 
barge-filled banks, but also the great 
machine de Marly (fig. 17). Knowing its 
location, a Parisian of Sisley's day would 
have found this intimate and bucolic 
painting all the more poignant because 
of the fragility of the landscape it depicts 
in contrast to the liveliness of that upon 
which the artist turned his back. 


1. La Croix (ed.), 1867, vol. II, p. 1455. 

21. Alfred Sisley 

Watering Place at Marly 

(L'Abreuvoir de Marly), 1875 

The tiny town of Marly-le-Roi was 
Sisley's territory. Avoided by Monet, Re- 
noir, and even Pissarro, it clustered 
around the edges of the great Pare de 
Marly (see above, III/2). Although 
Pissarro lived no more than a ten-minute 
walk away from Marly-le-Roi, if he went 
there, he failed to paint it. On the other 
hand, there are at least 30 paintings of 
the town recorded in the Sisley literature, 
and others will undoubtedly come to 

Marly-le-Roi was important less for 
its appearance in the last half of the nine- 
teenth century than for its history. The 
many guidebooks to the environs of 
Paris written in the second half of the 
nineteenth century make it clear that one 
visited Marly-le-Roi not simply because 
it was charming, but because it was the 
site of the Chateau de Marly. Both 
Sardou and Joanne expatiated in elegant 
prose upon the life of the court there 
during the seventeenth and early eigh- 
teenth centuries and contrasted that 
world with the charming, but humble, 
village which managed to survive after 
the court left. Sardou, after describing Le 
Notre's brilliant gardens at the height of 
their glory, made this contrast perfectly 
clear by stating: "One single pool from 
the side of the second parterre remains: 
the women from Louveciennes and 
Marly come there to wash their 

It is just that pool that Sisley painted 
in Watering Place at Marly. His painting 
is not a royal landscape, nor is it a nostal- 
gic look at a great architectural ruin in 
the midst of its decadence. Rather, it is a 
celebration of the ordinary beauties of 
the He de France on a fresh, cool summer 
day. Surrounded by an unpaved road 
which swoops into the foreground, the 
pool dominates the left half of this and 
another landscape of 1875 by Sisley (The 
Pool at Marly, Snow [Private Collec- 
tion]). It is most emphatically not the 
central motif of the landscape. Indeed, 
Sisley was just as captivated by the 
clouds, the light playing on the white 
plaster houses, and the shadows that 
dappled the road as he was by the 
remains of the great pool itself. Because 
of its historical importance, most visitors 
to Marly would have preferred to view 
the pool from the town, looking into the 
forest of the Pare de Marly, as Sisley him- 
self did while painting in the dead of 
winter in 1875.- More frequently, how- 
ever, he turned his back on that charm- 
ing and verdant landscape, choosing in- 
stead a view which exuded a maximum 
amount of nervous energy- as light played 
actively across many diverse forms. 


1. La Croix (ed.), 186"^ 

2. Daulte 152, 154. 







No. 20. Alfred Sisley 

The Seine AT BouGivAL, 1872-73 




No. 21. Alfred Sisley 

Watering Place at Marly, 1875 



No. 22. Alfred Sisley 
Streetin Louveciennes, 1872-73 



22. Alfred Sisley 

Street in Louveciennes 

{La Route a Louveciennes), 1872-73 

Sisley either retained for a long period 
the house he rented in Voisins in 1871 or 
rented it repeatedly for several years 
after that. (Because he rented the prop- 
erty, his name was never registered in the 
official cadastral records, and it is there- 
fore impossible to trace his movements 
exactly.) It is difficult to fix his undated 
paintings of the area in time because he, 
like Pissarro, returned to his motifs 
through the years. Street in Louve- 
ciennes has traditionally been dated to 
1875 because of its relationship to 
another landscape, A Street in Louve- 
ciennes at Evening Time (Private Collec- 
tion, Paris), depicting the same motif 
that was signed and dated in that year by 
Sisley himself. However, the carefully 
controlled facture and tightly ordered 
composition suggest a date earlier in the 
decade, perhaps nearer to the time when 
Sisley first moved to the Louveciennes 

One of the artist's favorite motifs in 
the 1870s was the rural cafe or restau- 
rant. This picture represents the Cafe 
Mite in Voisins very near the painter's 
house. Sisley painted this restaurant 
from the other direction in 1874 {A 
Road in Louveciennes [Private Collec- 
tion, Paris]) and it has been identified by 
Daulte as the painter's home for several 
months of that year.' His decision to 
paint such buildings repeatedly has clear 
precedents in seventeenth-century Dutch 
art, in which rural inns and taverns were 
frequently chosen as the locus for land- 
scape compositions. Numerous passages 
in both rural guidebooks and publica- 
tions about landscape painting by writ- 
ers from Alfred Sensier to Henriet cele- 
brated the food and conviviality of rural 
inns. Landscape painters lived, ate, and 
drank in such places, often decorating 
the walls as payment to a generous 
owner. A day in the country was not 
complete unless one dined well at an inn, 
generally for a price significantly lower 
than at a comparable restaurant in Paris. 


1. Daulte 149. 

23. Alfred Sisley 

The Seine at Port-Marly, Piles of 


{La Seine a Port-Marly — tas de 

sable), 1875 

This commanding landscape was 
painted at nearly the same place on the 
river where Pissarro had stood to paint 
Wash House at Bougival three years ear- 
lier (no. 17). The building to the far left 
of this composition is the factory — with 
its smokestack omitted — on which 
Pissarro had centered his composition. 
Sisley painted two other landscapes from 
the same spot in 1875,' one of which 
includes the smokestack. 

The Seine at Port-Marly, Piles of 
Sand is rare among Sisley's landscapes — 
indeed, among Impressionist landscapes 
in general — in its attention to the dredg- 
ing of the Seine. More than any other 
Impressionist, Sisley was fascinated by 
the complexity of river life. Less inter- 
ested in pleasure craft and their pas- 
sengers than his friend Monet (nos. 39- 
43), Sisley preferred to render the eco- 
nomically important boat life of the 
Seine — from ferries to flat barges and 
motor tugs. In this painting the shipping 
lanes in the middle of the river are being 
dredged by men in small boats; the piles 
of sand at the side of the river were 
intended for sale to building contractors 
and gardeners. The poles in the river 
were used to tie the boats as they arrived 
from the dredging area, and the men 
working in the boats in the middle 
ground of Sisley's painting are lowering 
buckets into the river. Interestingly, these 
boats are not markedly different from 
the rowboats available to be rented for 
pleasure in the foreground of Monet's 
Bathing at La Grenouillere (no. 14); this 
may indicate that such craft had varying 
seasonal uses. A contemporary land- 
scape photograph by Bevan (see above, 
III/2) also includes the piles of sand 
(fig. 23). 

As if to mitigate against our "read- 
ing" this painting as a simple document 
of river life, Sisley chose a brilliant and 
unusual palette. In fact, it may have been 
the bright, almost turquoise color of the 
water as it contrasted with the yellow- 
beige of the sand that attracted Sisley to 

the subject initially. Yet, for all its beauty, 
this is a difficult landscape, in which we 
can observe a pre-industrial working 
population struggling to control the river 
and keep it navigable. The painting 
proves very clearly that pictures of this 
region, the cradle of Impressionism, 
must be understood as pictorial medita- 
tions upon the modernization of France 
(no. 16). 


1. Daulte 177-178. 

24. Alfred Sisley 

The Seine at Port-Marly 


Sisley painted this unproblematically ru- 
ral landscape on the banks of the Seine 
near Port-Marly, where he went many 
times in 1875 and 1876. The small boat 
in the foreground of this picture is filled 
with sand dredged from the Seine in 
order to keep its channel open for the 
extensive commercial barge traffic 
between Le Havre and Paris. On the 
basis of this motif the picture could al- 
most be paired with the identically sized 
Seine at Port-Marly, Piles of Sand (no. 
23), where similar boats negotiate the 
river. In fact, it is likely that The Seine at 
Port-Marly was painted from a spot very 
near that at which Sisley stood to paint 
the other picture. Instead of directing his 
attention down the river here, to render 
it as a spacious highway of water, Sisley 
adopted a planar compositional strategy, 
representing a group of farm buildings 
on the island running down the center of 
the Seine between Bougival and Port- 
Marly. The viewer seems almost to be 
floating, and the painting can be inter- 
preted as a stable view perceived from a 
watery vantage point. Thus it has prece- 
dents in Daubigny's Boat Trip (1862) 
and in many paintings by Monet made 
from his floating studio at Argenteuil 
(nos. 39-43). 

This composition calls to mind the 
opening pages of Flaubert's L'Education 
sentimentale, in which the young hero 
pursues the alluring Mme. Arnoux on a 
boat to Paris, observing all the while the 
inaccessible beauties of the traditional 




I t 




No. 23. Alfred Sisley 

The Seine at Port-.Mablv, Piles of Sand, 1 875 



landscape. Like Flaubert, who preferred 
bourgeois subjects, even in the provinces, 
Sisley rarely painted such a completely 
rural subject as this detached farm, 
gravitating instead toward suburban 
landscapes with country houses, rural 
paths, orchards, and outdoor res- 

Interestingly, The Seine at Port- 
Marly was signed and dated twice by 
Sisley. When he finished the painting he 
signed it at the lower right corner. After- 
wards its first owner, Comte Doria, had 
it placed in a smaller frame, probably to 
pair it with another painting of slightly 
narrower dimensions. At this point 
Sisley re-signed the painting so that his 
signature would appear clearly to the 

25. Alfred Sisley 

The Versailles Road, Louveciennes 
{La Route de Versailles), 1875 

As we have seen, the route de Versailles, 
a popular motif of Impressionist paint- 
ings, was constructed as part of Le 
Notre's vast scheme for transporting 
water from the Seine to the gardens of 
the Chateau de Marly and, eventually, 
Versailles (see above, III/2). By 1700 the 
road had become the major route 
connecting the town of Port-Marly with 
Versailles. It was heavily traveled 
throughout the nineteenth century, and 
both Pissarro and Renoir lived on it for 
short periods of time. There are Impres- 
sionist representations of virtually all 
aspects of the road: houses, trees, rural 
inns, and travelers seen from every imag- 
inable viewpoint in every season and at 
many times of day. Indeed, the route de 
Versailles is to the Impressionist iconog- 
raphy of roads what the Seine is to its 
iconography of rivers (see above, II and 
below, III/4). 

In this gentle summer landscape 
Sisley chose to emphasize the enormous 
chestnut trees which bordered the route 
de Versailles at irregular intervals. 
Originally lined on both sides with trees, 
the road was heavily built up in the 
1800s, and many of them were cut down 
to be replaced by dwellings. In the paint- 
ing two majestic trees tower over the tiny 

inhabitants and the informal group of 
houses in the middle ground. Their fo- 
liage, pruned to prevent lateral growth 
which would impair the view of the 
road, seems almost to tremble in the 
breeze of a hazy day. 

26. Alfred Sisley 
Flood at Port-Marly 

(LTnondation A Port-Marly), 1876 

Flood at Port-Marly is the largest — and 
finest — of three identically composed 
versions of this subject, the first of 
which, identically titled (Private Collec- 
tion, Paris) was painted in 1871—72. The 
chance to make architecture appear to 
dissolve by surrounding it on all sides 
with atmosphere and water was clearly 
irresistible to Sisley, and, after experi- 
encing the flooding of the Seine in 1872, 
he returned to Port-Marly for a pro- 
tracted period in 1876. In that year, not 
only did he paint six landscapes repre- 
senting the flooded river, but he also 
painted the landscape before the flood- 
ing commenced (as if to form a narrative 

What is fascinating about these 
paintings is that they are so peaceful. The 
viewer feels none of the danger or 
despair of a real flood and is, instead, 
captivated by the play of light in the sky 
and water that surround the Restaurant 
a Saint-Nicolas. The flood seems almost 
a usual occurrence, as if it were taking 
place in Venice rather than suburban 

Both the calm and the clarity of 
Sisley's flood landscapes can be con- 
trasted in every way with paintings of the 
same subject by French artists of the pre- 
vious generation. The most famous 
example, Huet's Flood at Saint - Cloud 
(1855; Musee de Louvre, Paris), was 
purchased by Napoleon III for the 
Musee de Luxembourg and was there- 
fore widely available for study. Sisley's 
mundane, but poetic, flood paintings, 
like those by Pissarro (for example. The 
Inundation, Saint-Ouen-l' Aumone 
[1873; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston]) 
lack the dramatic intensity of their 
iconographical prototypes in Romantic 



No. 24. Alfred Sisley 

The Seine at Port-Marly, 1 875 



No. 25. Alfred Sisley 

The Versailles Road, Loitveciennes. IS. 5 



No. 26. Alfred Sisley 
Flood at Port-Marlv. 1876 




The Urban Landscape 

LA Vie Parisienne, an operetta by Jacques Offenbach, opened to re- 
sounding popular success at the Palais Royal on the eve of the "Ex- 
position Universelle" of 1867 (see above, II). Both operetta and 
exhibition celebrated what was then known as the "new Paris." The 
libretto of La Vie Parisienne, by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy, was an 
inspired inventory of the city's charms, extolling in verse her boulevards, 
parks, cafes, theaters, monuments, and, of course, her river, the Seine. One of 
the operetta's characters, a former servant, takes advantage of the "Exposi- 
tion Universelle" to become a guide to Paris. "It is my business," he 
announces, "to take foreigners 'round the city and show them all the beauties 
of the capital." 1 

In fact, all Paris was "on show" in the second half of the nineteenth 
century. The series of well-timed industrial exhibitions (fig. 25) was designed 
to reveal "new Paris" to the world at large. Writers Victor Hugo, Sand, Du 
Camp, and Michelet, among others, sang the city's praises in the Paris Guide 
of 1867; Manet, the arch-modernist, devoted a special canvas to that year's 
exposition (fig. 25). During this period the Impressionists investigated the 
physiognomy of "new Paris" in a sweeping series of canvases. 

What was "new Paris?" As we have seen, the ancient capital of France 
was essentially rebuilt during the 1800s under the direction of Baron 
Haussmann (see above, II and below, III/3). Its population swelled with a 
stream of provincial and international immigrants, more than tripling 
between 1800 and 1870. The near suburbs were annexed to Paris in 1860.- 
Sanitary services were improved, and a comprehensive urban plan was creat- 
ed during the Second Empire. Hundreds of thousands of buildings were sys- 


tematically demolished to make way for the tree-lined boulevards which 
formed a transportation network resembling the neat allees in classical 
French gardens (see above, II). The major monuments of Parisian civiliza- 
tion — the Hotel de Ville, Notre-Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, and even the 
Louvre (no. 84) — were detached from the fabric of the cir\', redesigned and 
rebuilt to serve as symbolic links between the glories of the French past and 
her modern destiny. Indeed, Offenbach's La Vie Parisiemie was set in a shift- 
ing city. Both photographs (see below, V) and popular illustrations of the 
period reveal the extent of the destruction necessitated by the sweeping trans- 
formation which led to the creation of "new Paris." 

In the midst of this supremely transitory cit}', the Impressionists seized 
upon those aspects that were utterly novel. Their Paris was truly an urban 
landscape, a mechanical and impersonal world in which the background 
predominated over the figures. Ignoring the narrow and tortuous streets of 
the old cit\', the traditional Paris celebrated in prose by Hugo and Balzac and 
in images by Corot, Honore Daumier, and Charles Meryon, the Impression- 
ists set their easels in the windows of newly constructed hotels, or apart- 
ments, and made paintings of railroad stations (nos. 30—32), boulevards 
(nos. 33, 35), and parks (no. 84). Their city was grand and enormous, less a 
set of intersecting neighborhoods than a sweeping landscape inhabited by 
multitudes of people. The changing seasons in this landscape were indicated 
by the trees which lined the boulevards and filled the parks. 

The urban landscape of the Impressionists, like their suburban land- 
scape, had its own peculiar geography. The painters were obsessed with cer- 
tain areas and ignored others. They painted the streets and boulevards 
around the Gare Saint-Lazare, combed the banks of the Seine, and moved 
around the Louvre and its garden, the Tuileries. They climbed the hills of 
Montmartre and the Trocadero (no. 27) to gaze on the c\t\ as it stretched 
along the vast plain created by the Seine. Their landscape therefore had rec- 
ognizable centers, and, for all its scale and grandeur, the Paris they depicted 
was only a small portion of the actual cit\-. It was confined almost exclusively 
to the Right Bank and especially to the city's northwest quadrant. While the 
greatest small parks — the Tuileries and the Pare Monceau — were lovingly 
painted by Manet, Monet, and Pissarro, the sublime Pare aux Buttes 
Chaumont, landscaped by Adolphe Alphand and set m a large working-class 
area, was ignored by the Impressionists. While the Louvre was painted count- 
less times, Notre-Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Place de la Concorde 
were avoided. Indeed, as was the case with the Impressionists' renderings of 
other locales in France, the tourist sites, the places marked prominently in 
each guidebook, are conspicuous for their absence in the Paris the artists 
painted (see above, II and III/2). 

The great river of Paris — its banks and its bridges spanning the heart 
of the capital — was especially inviting to French nineteenth-century artists, 
and the Impressionists were no exception. Even minor artists like Stanislas 
Lepine and Guillaumin executed paintings of the Seine and its surroundings 
in the 1860s. Berthe Morisot gained admittance to the Salon of 1867 with an 
1866 view entitled The Seine under the lena Bridge (Location unknown). 
One of the first landscapes done by Gauguin was of The Seine at the lena 
Bridge under Snow (fig. 26); one of the last by Pissarro was The River Seine 
and the Louvre (fig. 27). 

In his novel La Curee (1872) Zola opposed the traditional He Saint- 
Louis neighborhood on the Left Bank (as painted, for example, by Lepine) to 



Haussmann's "new Paris." In his L'Oeuvre (1886) the Seine reappears, luring 
the painter-hero, Claude Lantier, to its banks again and again. Lantier 
becomes obsessed with the water and with the city, which he identities with 
the female principle, an association which recurs often in literature and 
whose destructive overtones Zola wished to maximize. Yet, if such mysteries 
of the Seine appealed to many writers, the Impressionists seemed sensitive 
only to her grandeur, her beaut>', and her charm. Rarely, if ever, does one 
imagine that the river could symbolize fate, change, or death when looking at 
paintings by Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, or Sisley. Indeed, it simply exists in such 
works as a vast visual diversion, a focus of movement, commerce, and 
exchange (see above, III/2, and below, III/4). 

Since the experience of living in Pans was thought to be essential to 
the training of an artist during the nineteenth century, young provincials 
flocked to the city: Zola and Cezanne from Aix-en-Provence (see below, III/ 
9), Bazille from Montpellier, and Monet from Le Havre. The attraction Paris 
held for artists was due in no small part to the presence of the Louvre — at the 
very heart of the "new Paris" — and its expanding collections. The 
museum — actually a palace complex containing a series of museums and 
government offices — was faithfully frequented by such Paris residents as 
Manet and I.-H.-J.-T. Fantin-Latour. In 1859 Manet made the acquaintance 
of Edgar Degas at the Louvre; in 1868 Fantin-Latour introduced Manet to 
Berthe Morisot there. Yet it was not only the museum's interior and its trea- 
sures that fascinated these young artists, but the landscape around it. 

It was from the Louvre itself that Monet did his first urban viev/s in 
the spring of 1867 {Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois [Nationalgalerie, Berlin]; The 
Garden of l' Infante [Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin]; and Quay by 

Fig. 25. Manet, The "Exposition 
Unwerselle," Pans, 1867, 1867. Oil on can- 
vas. 108 X 196.5 cm. Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo. 
Photo: Nasjonalgalleriet. 



Fig. 26. Gauguin, The Seine at the lena 

Bridge under Snow, 1875. Oil on canvas. 65 x 

91 cm. Musee d'Orsay, Paris. Photo: 

Musees Nationau.x. 

r~ ■ — jiO» 

the Louvre [Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague]). On April 27 he 
requested permission from the Surintendant des beaux-arts to set up his ea- 
sel, not as a copyist in the museum, but as a landscape painter in its col- 
onnade. On May 20 he wrote to Bazille, "Renoir and I are still at work on our 
views of Paris."^ Once more, in 1872, Renoir and Monet painted the same 
subject, the Pont-Neuf, adjacent to the Louvre (National Gallery of Art, 
Washington, D.C., and Wendy and Emery Reeves Foundation), but this time 
they chose to paint it in different seasons (see above, 1II/2). Interested in the 
same vista, Pissarro wrote to his son three years before his death, "I've found 
a flat on the hill overlooking the Pont-Neuf with a beautiful view. I shall move 
there in July... I don't want to miss the chance to show another picturesque 
side of Paris."'' Indeed, the elderly Pissarro made the landscape of the Louvre 
utterly his own, picturing the building and its surroundings in several series of 

The American viewer of these paintings of the Louvre and its land- 
scape must remember two things. First, the palace complex as we know it 
was only completed during the Second Empire after a vast program of archi- 
tectural unification presided over by Ludovico Visconti. It was therefore at 
once new and old. Second, the portion of the complex called the Palais des 
Tuileries, built for Marie de Medici and subsequently the urban royal palace 
until the era of Napoleon III, was sacked and all but totally destroyed during 
the Commune. Thus, when Pissarro painted this building and its garden in 
the last decade of his life,-"^ he was portraying an incomplete monument with 
ambiguous political overtones. 

Other parts of Paris attracted the Impressionists as well. The "urban 
village" of Montmartre interested them early on — Pissarro and Cezanne in 



Fig. 27. Pissarro, The River Seme and the 
Louvre, 1903. Oil on canvas. 45 x 54 cm. 
Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, 
Paris. Photo: Musees Nationaux. 

the 1860s — because of its picturesque, rustic qualities and apparent sepa- 
rateness from Paris itself. Sisley's View of Montmartre from the Cite des 
Fleurs (1869; Musee de Peinture et de Sculpture, Grenoble) shows that the 
area had only just been wrested from the surrounding countryside. Renoir 
had his studio there, on the rue Cortot, and enjoyed painting in one of the 
local open-air cafes, the Moulin de la Galette (see his pictures of the same tide 
[1876; Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris]). Van Gogh setded 
there in 1886 fresh from Holland and did several canvases of the view he had 
from his rue Lepic apartment. And it was the panoramic view of the city from 
the heights of Montmartre that first made the hero of Zola's La Curee, 
Aristide Rougon-Saccard, aware of the possibilities Paris had to offer. 

The nearby Batignolles quarter was another neighborhood familiar to 
the Impressionists, who loved to wile away the hours at the Cafe Guerbois 
there. In that area they would find Manet (who lived at 34, boulevard des 
Batignolles from 1864 to 1867 and, later, on the rue de Saint-Petersbourg); 
there, Cezanne, Pissarro, and Guillaumin met with their critics Edmond 
Duranty, Philippe Burty, Armand Silvestre, and, of course, Zola. In 1870 
Fantin-Latour surrounded Manet with his friends Renoir, Bazille, Monet, 
Zola, Zacharie Astruc, Edmond Maitre, and Otto Scholderer for the group 
portrait The Studio in the rue des Batignolles (Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu 
de Paume, Paris). And in the same year Bazille gathered the group again to 
pamt his Atelier (Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris) on the rue 
de la Condamine. Later the Cafe de la Nouvelle-Athenes (on the Place 
Pigalle) took over as their meeting place. 

The Paris of transport and industry was of key importance to the 
Impressionists. In this they showed, once again, their kinship with 



Offenbach. The first couplet of La Vie Parisienne begins, "We are employees 
of the Western Line." In the Act One finale the chorus sings, in part: 
"Brought here by steam we mean to invade the sovereign city, the seat of 
pleasure."^ The setting is the Gate Saint-Lazare. Like Balzac's hero Eugene de 
Rastignac in Le Fere Goriot (1831), the citizens of the world outside Paris 
arrived at its gates with the intention of rooting out all it had to offer.^ Most 
often they arrived by train. The railway station in the nineteenth century, like 
the airport in the twentieth, came to epitomize the bustle of modern life (see 
above, II, and below, III/4). In addition, the appearance of its glass and metal 
architecture in a city was taken as a sign that that particular urban center had 
entered the age of industrialization. 

The industrial side of Paris was depicted by writers (such as Joris-Karl 
Huysmans in Les Soeurs Vatard [1879] and Zola in La Bete humaine) and 
painters. The Pont de I'Europe (fig. 28), "one of the most recent achievements 
of modern Paris,"** proved an inspiration first to Gustave Caillebotte, then to 
Monet (nos. 29-30). The 1867 Paris Guide directed the tourist's attention to 
the bridge's curious metal skeleton, "so astonishing in its bizarre form and 
immense proportions."' Inspired by such sights, in 1879 Manet proposed the 
following totally modern project to the Prefer de la Seine for the decoration 
of the new Hotel de Ville: 

...a series of compositions representing — to use an expression by now well estab- 
lished and one that serves well to illustrate what I have in mind — the guts of Paris 
with its various professions, each in its proper milieu, the public and commercial 
life of our times. I shall include Paris-Halles, Paris-Railways, Paris-Port, Paris- 
Underground, Paris-Races and Gardens."' 

The then-Prefet's predecessor, the famous Baron Haussmann, had attached 
great importance to the construction of railway stations, as is clear in his 
memoirs. The arteries he created within Paris were meant to continue or 
extend the rail routes outside their rectilinear pattern, thus serving as a model 
for his plan to speed traffic within the city as well as into and out of it (see 
above, II, and below III/4). The Parnassan poet Theophile Gautier saw train 
stations as "palaces of modern industry exhibiting the religion of the age: the 
railways. These cathedrals of the new mankind are the points where nations 
meet, the center where all converges, the nucleus of gigantic iron-rayed stars 
that stretch to the ends of the earth."" 

The district of Paris presided over by the Gate Saint-Lazare and 
known as the Quartier de I'Europe (fig. 29) was the home of Manet (4, rue de 
Saint-Petersbourg, later changed to rue de Lenmgrad); his friend Stephane 
Mallarme, who held his "literary afternoons" there (29, rue de Moscou, then 
87, rue de Rome); Caillebotte (77, rue de Miromesnil); and Monet (17, rue 
Moncey, then 26, rue d'Edimbourg). Since his youth Manet had been familiar 
with the area surrounding the Gate Saint-Lazare, from which trains left for 
Normandy and Argenteuil. In 1871 he gave Pissarro the following address 
for his Paris studio: "8 rue d'Isly, near the Gate Saint-Lazare." '- 

Following Manet and Caillebotte, who painted the region of the Care 
Saint-Lazare in the early and mid-1 870s, Monet decided to try his hand at 
painting the station in 1877 and 1878 (nos. 30-32). Instead of observing the 
trains from the Pont de I'Europe like Manet or Caillebotte, Monet went down 
to the level of the tracks. While his colleagues gave predominance to the 
human figure, Monet concentrated on the trains. Manet and Caillebotte 
merely implied their presence by rendering smoke rising from the station 
below; Monet, more audacious in his representation of modern life, had no 




Fig. 28. Caillebotte, The Pont de I'Europe, 
1 876. Oil on canvas. 131x181 cm. Musee 
du Petit-Palais, Geneva. 

qualms about showing the locomotives themselves. His interest was shared 
by others. The authors of an 1888 study devoted to the railways, entitled 
simply Chetnins de fer and, incidentally, a gold mine of source material for 
Zola when he set to work on his novel La Bete hitmame, had the following to 
say about the aesthetics of the machinery involved: 

The artistic side of locomotive construction has attracted many partisans here, and 
there is no denying that it is absolutely rational: it is the experience of reality. 
Industrial objects have their own special beauty about them, and we have reached 
the point where we call a locomotive beautiful or ugly.'^ 

In fact, ever since Turner's Rain, Steam, Speed (1844; The National Gallery, 
London), the train motif had earned a certain favor with both painters and 
naturalist writers. Thomas Couture recommended it as a "noble" subject, 
and Champfleury, in an analysis of Courbet dating from 1861, wrote: 

Murals done for railway stations have resulted in some. ..curious pictures. An en- 
gine pulling out, a train pulling in, passengers alighting on the platform, a new line 
being blessed by the Church, a cornucopia overflowing with the produce intro- 
duced to Europe by the wonders of steam locomotion — all these were to provide a 
cycle of diversified motifs. What could be more fantastic than a large machine, its 
fire-breathing belly and large red eyes flying like the wind through the countryside 
at night, driven by gnome-like creatures all black with coal and coke? Is not the 
engine and the role it plays in the countryside sufficient material for a fine 
picture. ..[Courbet] has yet to paint the iron mastodon running along the rails 
through trees and rocks, past tiny hillside towns, across a bridge and over a vil- 
lage — intrepid, snorting, hissing, sweating — and the coming and going of the 
crowds — full of life, tumultuous, gaping, weeping, embracing. '"' 

According to the memoirs of Jean Renoir, the son of the painter, Mo- 
net procured permission from the director of the Chemins de fer de I'Ouest to 
paint the interior of the Gate Saint-Lazare.''' He began work in January 
1877. Even if the proximity of his rue Moncey studio to the station expedited 
matters somewhat, he still had to paint rapidly to complete the seven views of 



l^-^^^^r^^ ^^^^^ 

Fig. 29. Pans — The Rebuilding of the Gare 
Saint-Lazare — The Old Station (1. View 
from the Pont de I'Europe. — 2. Main station 
entrance. — 3. Entrance to the main lines, rue 
d' Amsterdam. — 4. The exit yard and the 
wooden bridge of the rue de Rome. — 5. The 
Cour Bony.), 1885. Photo: La Vie du Rail, 

the Gare Saint-Lazare (three of which are brought together here [nos. SC- 
SI]) in time for the third Impressionist exhibition that April. There, they 
earned Zola's high praise: 

M. Claude Monet is the most marked personalit)- of the group. This year he is 
exhibiting some superb station interiors. One can hear the rumble of the trains 
surging forward, see the torrents of smoke winding through vast engine sheds. 
This is the painting of today: modern settings beautiful in their scope. Our artists 
must find the poetry of railway stations as our fathers found the poetry of forests 
and rivers.'* 

While living alongside the railway line in Medan, Zola himself became 
an habitue of the Gare Saint-Lazare and conceived the idea for a novel with a 
railway setting: 

...a novel, my most original yet, which will take place along a railway network. 
There will be a large station where ten lines cross, each line with its own story and 
all of them coming together at the main station; the novel will be imbued with the 
flavor of the place, and life's furious pace will resound through it like a musical 
accompaniment. '~ 

The novel in question was, of course. La Bete humaine, part of the author's 
Rougon-Macquart series. Several passages are clearly dependent on Monet's 
canvases; for example, "The Pont de I'Europe signal box announced. ..the 
Havre express as it emerged from Batignolles tunnel. ...The train entered the 
station with a brief whistle, grating on its brakes, breathing smoke.... "'^ 
Later Zola stressed the beaut\- of the locomotive called "La Lison": 

It was one of the express engines, the kind with two coupled axles, and it was 
elegant on both a grand and small scale, with its large, light wheels joined by arms 
of steel, its broad chest, its long and mighty loins, with all the logic and certaint)' 
that go into the sovereign beaut)" of metal beings, with precision in strength.'"" 

With its train stations, neighborhoods, and bridges, the Paris of the 
Impressionists was chiefly remarkable as an out-of-door c\t\\ a cit)- of light, 
atmosphere, and space. Its life was what the French writer Jean Schopfer 
called "life in the open air,"-° a truly pubUc and urban life. If the real cit>' of 
Paris was filled with social tensions, class conflict, and urban alienation 
played out in small apartments and garrets and obsessively recorded by 
contemporary Realist writers, its inhabitants could escape from such pres- 
sures into the boulevards, parks, and quays of the "new Paris." The very gran- 
deur and healthiness of this new city — that pictured by Monet, Pissarro, and 
the rest — is set into relief when compared to the patterned apartments of 
Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard and the claustrophobic brothels and 
dance halls of Theophile Steinlen and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. In Impres- 
sionist Paris passersby, carriages, carts, and omnibuses seem trapped tem- 
porarily on canvas, caught perpetually between destinations. This Paris, the 
capital of the world's affairs, extended into the countryside; the promenaders 
of its parks and boulevards are the same transitory figures who walk through 
the Impressionists' poppy fields outside Paris (see below, III/7) or gather 
along the Seine to watch the boat races at Argenteuil (nos. 39-46). These 
personages are the same quintessentially up-to-date, uniformed figures — 
with each hat and walking stick carefully observed and recorded — who 
crowded the docks in Rouen or maneuvered the quays in Le Havre. Their 
very smallness — indeed, their insignificance in the context of the Impression- 
ist vision — gives them a modern, and utterly urban, universalit>'. 

— S. G.-R 




1. See Offenbach, 1869. 

2. Pinknev, 1958, p. 151. 

3. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. 1, p. 423; see also Isaacson, 1966. 

4. Pissarro, 1950, p. 474. 

5. Pissarro and Venturi 1 123-1 136. 

6. See Offenbach, 1869. 

7. Schivelbusch, 1979, pp. 161-169; see also Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges 
Pompidou, 1978, p. 62. 

8. Berhaut, 1978, p. 29. 

9. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1976, p. 106, n. 5; National Gallery of Art, Washington, 
D.C., 1982, pp. 53 ff. 

10. Reunion des Musees Nationaux, 1983, p. 516. 

1 1. Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, 1978, p. 8. 

12. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. I, p. 428. 

13. Walter, 1979, pp. 51-53. 

14. Champfleury, 1973, p. 185. 

15. Renoir, 1962, pp. 168-169; reprinted in part in Evers, 1972, pp. 20-21. 

16. Zola, 1970, p. 282. 

17. Zola, 1960-68, vol. IV, p. 1710; Walter, 1979, p. 51. 

18. Zola, 1960-68, vol. IV, p. 1 105; Walter, 1979, p. 51. 

19. Zola, 1960-68, vol. IV, pp. 1127-1128; Walter, 1979, p. 51. 

20. Schopfer, 1903, p. 157 ff. 


27. Berthe Morisot 

View of Paris from the Trocadero 
(VuE DE Paris des hauteurs du 
Trocadero), 1872 

Berthe Morisot, as we have seen, exhib- 
ited her first Parisian cityscape (The 
Seine under the Una Bridge [1866; Loca- 
tion unknown]) at the 1867 Salon.' This 
work has sometimes been confused with 
the now-quite-famous View of Paris 
from the Trocadero, which by common 
agreement dates from 1872.- This sil- 
very, diaphanous view of the city shows 
the artist to have been under the influ- 
ence of Corot, with whom she had in fact 
studied during the 1860s. Morisot's own 
personality found expression nonethe- 
less in her particular affinity for light, an 
affinity which grew throughout her 

To create this composition, Morisot 
set up her easel at the top of the Chaillot 
hill, where the rue Franklin runs into the 
Place du Trocadero. The Palais du 
Trocadero (1878) had not yet been built, 
nor, of course, had the Eiffel Tower, and 
the artist therefore had an unobstructed 
view of the old Trocadero gardens and 
the far side of the Seine spanned by the 
Pont d'lena and, further east, the Pont de 
I'Alma at the Champ-de-Mars. Outlined 
in the distance, from left to right, are the 
two towers of Sainte-Clotilde, those of 
Notre-Dame in the background, those of 
Saint-Sulpice to the left of Les Invalides, 
and, to its right, a blur representing the 
cupola of the Pantheon. The figures in 
the foreground have been identified as 
the artist's two sisters, Edma Pontillon 
and Yves Gobillard, the latter accom- 
panied by her daughter Paule.'' 

The site was a natural one for 
Morisot to choose: her family lived 
nearby, on the rue des Moulins (now rue 
Scheffer) on the corner of the rues Frank- 
lin and Vineuse, and her father had a stu- 
dio built in the garden for his daughters. 
In a watercolor sketch (The Art Institute 
of Chicago) for a painting of the same 
year. Woman and Child on a Balcony 
(Henry Itdeson Collection, New York), 
Morisot showed Edma Pontillon and 
Paule on the balcony of the family house 
overlooking a view quite similar to the 
one shown here. The few differences are 

due to a slight shift in vantage point to 
the southwest.^ 

Morisot also may have chosen to 
observe Paris from the end of the rue 
Franklin because Manet had painted a 
canvas depicting the "Exposition 
Universelle" of 1867 (fig. 25) from a 
spot several feet lower (see above, III/3). 
(Morisot had married Eugene Manet, 
the painter's brother, in December 
1874). Further, guides recommended the 
spot to sightseers for the panorama it of- 
fered both in conjunction with the "Ex- 
position Universelle" and independently 
of it. 

This painting was acquired in 1876 
by Dr. Georges de Bellio, one of the 
Impressionists' early supporters, and 
subsequently became part of the Jacques 
Doucet Collection (see below, IV).* The 
fact that Morisot is buried in the nearby 
Cimetiere de Passy in the tomb of 
Edouard Manet lends the picture an 
especially moving character. 


1. Bataille and Wildenstein 11. 

2. Jamot, 1927, pp. 3-4; Mainardi, 1980, pp. 
110; 115, nos. 31-33. 

3. Fourreau, 1925, p. 280. 

4. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 
1982, no. 3. 

5. Ibid. 

6. Niculescu, 1964, pp. 213, 234; 235, no. 970. 

28. Claude Monet 


30 June i878 

{La rue Montorgueil, Fete du 30juin 

1878J, 1878 

Having left Argenteuil in the early 
months of 1878, Monet spent some time 
in Paris near the Place de I'Europe at 26, 
rue d'Edimbourg. The city, decked with 
flags for the national holiday of June 30, 
inspired Monet to paint two canvases: 
this one cind Rue Saint-Denis {Musee des 
Beaux-Arts et de la Ceramique, Rouen). 
The titles of these works, both of which 
were shown at the fourth Impressionist 
exhibition in 1879, are occasionally re- 
versed and the painting in Rouen mistak- 
enly entitled /zJy 14 in Paris. ^ 

The great street celebrations for the 
national holiday of June 30, 1878, were 



No. 27. Berthe Morisot 

View OF Pares from the Trocadero, 1872 



No. 28. Claude Monet 

MoNTORGUEiL Street, Celebration of 30 June 1878, 18 



No. 29. Gustave Caillebotte 
On the Europe Bridge, 1876-77 



the first such festivities held in Paris since 
the Commune. In 1871 the national gov- 
ernment had banned any form of 
collective assemblage in the streets to 
guard against riots and anti-government 
demonstrations. The 1878 holiday was 
therefore of special importance, and 
preparations for it were lavish. The riot 
of republican flags especially fascinated 
Monet, whose political sympathies nor- 
mally were not expressed overtly in his 
pictures. In this case, however, the paint- 
ing is as much a celebration of the repub- 
lic as of the festivities themselves. Both it 
and Rue Saint-Denis were painted as 
seen from above. According to Daniel 
Wildenstein,- Monet observed the scene 
which inspired Rue Saint-Denis from the 
balcony of what is now 141, rue Saint- 
Denis (where it crosses the rue de 
Turbigo) looking north; he observed 
Montorgueil Street, Celebration of 30 
June 1878, the perspective of which is 
considerably intensified by intersecting 
diagonals, from that street's intersection 
with the rues Mandar and Greneta, like- 
wise looking north. 

In this painting, executed several 
years after The Boulevard des Capucines 
(1874; Pushkin Museum, Moscow), 
Monet again transferred the animation 
of the capital's streets to canvas. To sug- 
gest the crowd, he used a large number 
of dark and rapid strokes (no. 32). The 
motif of the flags in the sun recurs several 
times in his work (no. 5). 

The same holiday in the same year 
prompted Manet to paint his two 
canvases entitled The Rue Mosnier 
Decked with Flags (Paul Mellon Collec- 
tion, Upperville, and Biihrle Collection, 
Zurich). Unlike Monet, who went to Les 
Halles to show the working people cele- 
brating, Manet remained in his studio at 
4, rue Saint-Petersbourg (later, rue de 
Leningrad), which gave him a good view 
of the rue Mosnier (now the rue de 


I.July 14 did not become France's national holi- 
day until 1880 (National Gallery of Art, Wash- 
ington, D.C., 1982, p. 246; Niculescu 1964, 
pp. 245, n. 42; 258, 264). 

2. Wildenstein 470. 

3. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 
1982, no. 90. 

29. Gustave Caillebotte 

On the Europe Bridge 

(Le Pont de l'Eurofe), 1876-77 

After Manet — whose Railroad (Na- 
tional Gallery of Art, Washington, 
D.C.), done in the Quartier de I'Europe 
in 1872-73, was accepted by the Salon 
of 1874 — and the year before Monet 
(no. 30), Caillebotte demonstrated his 
interest in this modern Parisian land- 
mark by painting The Pont de I'Europe 
(Petit-Palais, Musee d'Art Moderne, Ge- 
neva) in 1876, of which the picture illus- 
trated here is a variant. 

The Place de I'Europe stood at the 
center of the district of the same name in 
which the streets are named after major 
European capitals. The Place consisted 
primarily of the roadway of a large iron 
bridge (built between 1865 and 1868 
and completely rebuilt in 1930') which 
overlooks the tracks of the Gate Saint- 
Lazare, giving passersby an unusual view 
of the station's activities. 

In the spring of 1877, at the third 
Impressionist exhibition, Caillebotte 
showed The Pont de I'Europe together 
with other paintings, while Monet 
dispayed his seven Gare Saint-Lazare 
canvases. Caillebotte immediately 
acquired three of these (including one 
[no. 31] later accepted by the French 
government [Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du 
Jeu de Paume, Paris]), thereby dem- 
onstrating his interest in the subject mat- 
ter and his insight into the value of his 
Impressionist friend's work.- 

Although so grand a work as The 
Pont de I'Europe called for numerous 
preparatory studies,"* this variant, done 
several months later, was preceded by 
only a single oil sketch (Richard M. Co- 
hen Collection, Los Angeles).** Marie 
Berhaut has stressed the originality of 
this version, pointing out that 

...the composition is totally different from 
the earlier canvas, the framing of the sub- 
ject more unusual. The spot depicted here 
is part of the Place de TEurope itself, the 
very center of the bridge, its highest point. 
Hence the flattened, surbased effect creat- 
ed by the tops of the iron crosspieces with 
respect to the figures. To the right we see 
the large glass arrival hall, which appears 
in several of Monet's Gare Saint-Lazare 

More than the canvas exhibited in 
1877, this version highlights the bridge's 
metallic structures; their geometry 
demands to be noticed. They are 
arranged according to a plan which par- 
allels that of the painted surface, and by 
shutting out the sky they reduce any 
sense of depth, thus creating the rising 
perspective sought by the artist. The fig- 
ures have been relegated to the extreme 
left of the composition to leave the 
framework of the bridge relatively 
unobstructed. The severity and indus- 
trial, resolutely modern character of the 
subject are thereby greatly enhanced. At 
the time of the Impressionist exhibition 
of 1877 Zola made a point of praising 
the talent of "M. Caillebotte, a young 
painter who shows the greatest of cour- 
age and does not shrink from tackling 
modern subjects life-size."*' 

As in Traffic Island on Boulevard 
Haussmann (no. 33), we find the elegant 
silhouette of the artist himself in top hat, 
his light scarf and white gloves standing 
out against the background. In both pic- 
tures the figures are arbitrarily broken 
off at the edge of the canvas, a device 

...results from a desire to paint reality, ex- 
press an instant of contemporary life, a 
desire that has led the Impressionists to 
seek out uncommon points of view." 

The painting also exemplifies the in- 
fluence of the compositions of Japanese 
prints (where bridges appear frequently) 
and of photography on the painters of 
the time (see below, V). 

The fact that Caillebotte repeated 
the Pont de I'Europe motif and even had 
a glassed-in "omnibus" made to enable 
him to observe the bridge in all kinds of 
weather suggests that his interests par- 
alleled those manifested in the famous 
series of his friend Monet (see below, 


1. Varnedoe, 1974, pp. 28-29, 41, 58-59. 

2. Berhaut, 1978, p. 18. 

3. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1976, nos. 16- 

4. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 
1982, no. 13. 

5. Berhaut 46. 

6. Zola, 1970, p. 283. 

7. Berhaut, 1978, p. 34. 



No. 30. Claude Monet 

The Europe Bridge at Saist-Lazare Train Station, 1877 



No. 31. Claude Monet 

Saint-Lazare Train Station, 1877 
(detail on p. lOS) 



dv♦>C'J^^^^^ 1 T 

.,:a. ^ ^i»^ 

— f--l» -,, ^, ■ 

No. 32. Claude Monet 

Saint-Lazare Train Station, the Normandy Train, 1877 



30. Claude Monet 

The Europe Bridge at Saint-Lazare 
Train Station 

(Le Pont de l'Europe, Gare Saint- 
Lazare), 1877 

In creating this composition Monet posi- 
tioned himself just outside the Gare 
Saint-Lazare, where the tracks are 
spanned by the Pont de l'Europe. The 
metal railing of the bridge, concealed in 
part by the smoke of the trains, can be 
seen on the right. Monet stood facing the 
backs of the buildings along the rue de 
Rome. The glass roof of the station, not 
visible in the painting, began several feet 
to his left. 

Dr. de Bellio (no. 27) acquired this 
work in March 1877 and immediately 
lent it to the third Impressionist exhibi- 
tion, which opened the following month 
(it was exhibited as no. 98, Le Pont de 
Rome, Gare Saint-Lazare). The place re- 
presented here is that described by Zola 
just over ten years later in La Bete 

[Severine] turned and walked down the rue 
d'Edimbourg as far as the Pont de 
['Europe. ...Unsure of where to go or what 
to do and quite distraught, she leaned mo- 
tionless against one of the railings, looking 
down through the iron framework upon 
the vast expanse of the station, where 
trains were in constant motion. She fol- 
lowed them with anxious eyes. ...Then, in a 
paroxysm of despair, she felt a tormenting 
desire. fling herself under a train. One 
was just emerging from the canopy of the 
main lines. She watched it advance and 
pass beneath her, puffing a tepid swirl of 
white steam in her face.' 


I.Zola, 1960- 68, vol. IV, pp. 1108-1109. 

31. Claude Monet 

Saint-Lazare Train Station 
(La Gare Saint-Lazare), 1877 

To paint this canvas, as Daniel 
Wildenstein has pointed out,' Monet 
stood inside the part of the Gare Saint- 
Lazare reserved for the suburban lines. 
The glass canopy roof creates a symmet- 

rical composition centered on the loco- 
motive in motion. A skillful rendering of 
the effects of sunlight enabled the artist 
to play with variations of light on the 
profuse smoke clouds and background 
buildings. The apparent dissolution of 
the stone surface under the sunlight 
anticipates his investigations in the 
Rouen Cathedral series some 20 years 

This work, part of Caillebotte's 

collection (no. 29), was shown at the 

third Impressionist exhibition in 1877, 

where the critic Georges Riviere had the 

following to say about it: 

This picture represents a train pulling 

in. ...The sun, passing through the panes of 

glass, highlights the engines and the sand 

along the tracks in gold.- 

In preparation for this composition 
Monet did a drawing in a sketch pad 
(Musee Marmottan, Paris) which con- 
tains a number of sketches relevant to 
the Gare Saint-Lazare series. 


1. Wildenstein 438. 

2. Ibid. 

32. Claude Monet 

Saint-Lazare Train Station, 
the Normandy Train 
(La Gare Saint-Lazare, le train de 
Normandie), 1877 

Still inside the Gare Saint-Lazare, though 
this time in the east, or main-line, section 
of the building, Monet concentrated in 
this painting on the train from Nor- 
mandy. He demonstrated his sense of 
space and skill at conveying various at- 
mospheric effects. As Rodolphe Walter 
has noted, "Whereas in the other canvas 
[Saint-Lazare Train Station (no. 31)] the 
gas lamps hung from the iron frame- 
work, in this one they stand along the 
platform as they do along citv' streets."' 
The glass lets in a diffuse light, and the 
smoke from the engines intrudes some- 
what on the perspective. And, as in The 
Boulevard des Capucines (1874; Pushkin 
Museum, Moscow), the figures have 
been reduced to small, simple silhouettes 

evoked by a few dark strokes (no. 28); 
their profusion creates the bustle asso- 
ciated with railway stations. 

Ernest Hoschede, the collector who 
was at this time the husband of Monet's 
second wife, Alice (see below, III/8), 
acquired this canvas in March 1877 and 
lent it to the third Impressionist exhibi- 
tion the next month, in which it was 
exhibited as no. 97, Arrivee du train de 
Normandie, gare Saint-Lazare. Monet's 
sketch pad in the Musee Marmottan (no. 
31) contains a study which is related to 
this painting. 


I.Walter, 1979, p. 53. 

33. Gustave Caillebotte 

Traffic Island on Boulevard 


fL/N Refuge boulevard 

Haussmann), 1880 

After his mother's death in 1878, 
Caillebotte moved with his brothers into 
a suite of apartments behind the Opera 
at 31, boulevard Haussmann on the cor- 
ner of the rue Gluck.' These apartments 
occupied an upper story with balconies, 
thus enabling Caillebotte to repeat 
Monet's Boulevard des Capucines 
(1874; Pushkin Museum, Moscow) 

Caillebotte was particularly con- 
cerned to explore the use of rising 
perspective, which Pissarro employed 
later to such advantage in The Place du 
Theatre Franqais, Paris (no. 36). In this 
view from above, from the very end of 
the building where Caillebotte lived, we 
are shown a traffic island at the intersec- 
tion of the boulevard with the rues Gluck 
and Scribe. The space is flat; the sky does 
not appear at all. The choice of such an 
odd perspective reflects the influence of 
Japanese prints- and contemporary pho- 
tography^ (see below, V). 

As in many of Caillebotte's paint- 
ings (no. 29), a figure is cut off at the 
edge of the canvas. J. Kirk T. Varnedoe 
has called attention to the three men in 





^wiftttrtl. J 

No. 33. Gusiave Caillebotte 

Traffic Island on Boulevard Haussmann, 1880 



top hats, whose dark, isolated silhou- 
ettes contrast clearly with the light space 
around them. By rendering the shadows 
which they and a few street lamps cast on 
the ground, Caillebotte indicated the 
direction his light was coming from. 
Because the men are all dressed alike, 
Varnedoe has hypothesized that they are 
in fact a single walking man captured 
during three separate phases of a move- 
ment. He has pointed out that the artist 
used the same device in The Floor- 
Planers (1875; Musee d'Orsay, Galerie 
du Jeu de Paume, Paris) and has inter- 
preted the recurring spectator figure in 
Caillebotte's work as a symbolic self- 

Degas must have known this canvas 
since in 1880 he wrote to Pissarro, 
"Caillebotte is doing traffic islands along 
the boulevard Haussmann from his win- 
dows."^ The painting figured in the "Ex- 
position retrospective d'oeuvres de G. 
Caillebotte" organized in June 1894, 
several months after the painter's death, 
by his brother Martial. 


1. Varnedoe, 1976, pp. 37; 147, fig. 1; no. 53. 

2. Berhaut, 1978, p. 44. 

3. Ibid., pp. 46, 48, n. 17; Scharf, 1968, p. 133; 
figs. 115-116. 

4. Varnedoe, 1976, p. 54. 

5. Berhaut 141. 

34. Camille Pissarro 

The Place du Havre, Paris 
(Place du Havre, Paris), 1893 

In February 1893 Pissarro moved tem- 
porarily into the Hotel Garnier, 111, rue 
Saint-Lazare, in a part of Pans he had 
come to know well: the trains from 
Eragny (where he had bought a house 
the year before) came into the Gate 
Saint-Lazare, so it was always the point 
of departure for his explorations of the 
capital. Working from the window of his 
hotel room (a practice he later repeated 
in Rouen and other parts of Paris), 

Pissarro painted a series of four works, 
which — if we exclude The Boulevard 
Rochechouart (1878) and the unusual 
snow effect in The Peripheral Boulevards 
(1879; both Musee Marmottan, Paris) — 
comprise his first pictorial impressions 
of the capital. All four canvases — of 
which The Place du Havre, Paris is one- 
were painted from a high vantage point, 
in the manner of Monet's Boulevard des 
Capucines (1874; Pushkin Museum, 
Moscow). The Place du Havre, Paris 
gives a fine view of the site, its sunny fa- 
cades and roadway jammed with vehi- 
cles and pedestrians. It was first shown 
to the Parisian public in March 1893 at 
an exhibit Durand-Ruel devoted to the 
artist's recent works (see below, IV). 

Already a master of urban scenes, 
Pissarro proved highly sensitive to the 
special light and atmosphere of Paris. In 
1897 he returned to the rue Saint-Lazare 
and the Place du Havre, doing litho- 
graphs of both subjects' in the rain 
before turning his attention to the bou- 
levard Montmartre (no. 35). 


1. Reunion des Musees Nationaux, 1981, nos. 

35. Camille Pissarro 

Boulevard Montmartre, Mardi Gras 

(Boulevard Montmartre, Mardi 
Gras), 1897 

On February 8, 1897, after his stay at the 
Hotel Garnier (no. 34) the month before, 
Pissarro wrote to his son: 

I'm leaving again on the tenth of the 
month, going back to Paris, this time to do 
a series of the boulevard des Italians.... 
Durand-Ruel finds the boulevard series a 
good idea, and he's looking forward to 
overcoming the difficulties involved. I've 
decided on a spacious room at the Grand 
Hotel de Russie, 1, rue Drouot, which gives 
me a view of the entire network of bou- 
levards almost as far as the Porte Saint- 
Denis or in any case as far as the boulevard 
Bonne-Nouvelle. ' 

Ralph T. Coe has published a photo- 
graph of the Grand Hotel de Russie 
taken before it was destroyed in 1927 so 
that the boulevard Haussmann could be 
widened.- By February 13 Pissarro was 
at work: 

Here I am, settled in and covering my large 
canvases. I'm going to try to have one or 
two ready to do the Mardi Gras crowd. I 
can't tell yet what the results will be like; 
I'm very much afraid the streamers will 
give me trouble.' 

A month later, however, he could 
write to his son, 

I've got a number of irons in the fire. Dur- 
ing Mardi Gras I did the boulevards with 
the crowd and the march of the Boeuf 
Gras, with the sun playing on the streamers 
and the trees, and the crowd in the 

Pissarro depicted the boulevards in 
some 15 paintings. Of the three devoted 
to the Carnival procession, the one illus- 
trated here is perhaps the most effective.^ 
The scene is bathed in the soft, golden 
light characteristic of the artist's late 
period, and the multiplicity of small 
strokes to suggest the density of the 
crowd might as easily be considered a 
reference to Monet's Boulevard des 
Capucines (1874; Pushkin Museum, 
Moscow) as attributed to Pissarro's own 
Pointillist experiments of the 1880s. Suf- 
fering from an eye ailment, Pissarro was 
forced to give up plein-air painting. To 
observe the activity going on along the 
grand boulevards, he adopted Monet's 
raised hotel window vantage point. 

In 1899 Pissarro did a lithograph, 
most likely from memory, after Bou- 
levard Montmartre, Mardi Gras.'' 


1. Pissarro, 1950, p. 431. 

2. Coe, 1954, p. 93, fig. 1. 

3. Pissarro, 1950, p. 431. 

4. Ibid., p. 433. 

5. National Gallery of Art, 1982, no. 97. 

6. Reunion des Musees Nationaux, 1981, nos. 78, 









t I 

No. 34. Camille Pissarro 
The Place du Havre, Paris, 1893 



36. Camille Pissarro 

The Place du Theatre Fran^ais, Paris 
(La Place du Theatre pRANgAis, Paris) 

On December 15, 1897, Pissarro 
informed his son Lucien that he had 
discovered a new Parisian motif: 

I almost forgot to tell you: I've found a 
room at the Grand Hotel du Louvre with a 
superb view of the avenue de I'Opera and 
the corner of the Place du Palais-Royal! It 
makes a beautiful subject! It may not be 
very aesthetic, but I'm delighted at the 
chance to see what I can do with these 
Parisian streets, which people usually call 
ugly but which are so silvery, so luminous, 
so alive. They are altogether different from 
the boulevards. Totally modern!' 

Six days later he added a few details: 
I hope to be back by about January 5 and 
take up residence at the Grand Hotel du 
Louvre, where I shall start work for the 
[June 1898] exhibition [at Durand-Ruel'sj. 
The expense will be considerable, but 
Durand-Ruel seems encouraging. I'm in 
the mood to work, and after a good look at 
the subject matter I feel on top of things. - 

On January 6, having given his son the 
address of the hotel (172, rue de Rivoli),^ 
Pissarro described his suite there: 

I've been settled in since yesterday. I have 
two large rooms and some good large win- 
dows that give me a view of the avenue de 
I'Opera. The motif is very beautiful, very 
painterly. I've already begun work on two 

In a letter dated January 23 Pissarro 
spoke again of how smoothly his work 
was going: "I'm doing the avenue de 
I'Opera and a bit of the Place du Theatre 
Fran^ais. The motif is superb, and things 
are moving along quite well."^ 

Pissarro stayed in Paris until late 
April. From the windows of the Hotel du 
Louvre he did approximately 15 paint- 
ings showing the rue Saint-Honore, the 
avenue de I'Opera, and the Place du The- 
atre Fran^ais — of which this is one — 
from different perspectives. Most of 
them were shown at the "Exposition 

d'oeuvres recentes de Camille Pissarro" 

organized by Durand-Ruel in June 1898. 

It is this exhibition the artist alluded to 

in another letter to his son: 
My Avenues de I'Opera are on display at 
Durand-Ruel's. I have a large room all to 
myself. There are twelve Avenues, seven or 
eight Avenues and Boulevards, and some 
studies of Eragny I'm quite satisfied with 
....It [the room] has a nice look about it. 
The rooms nearby have a series of fine 
Renoirs, superb Monets,...some Puvis de 
Chavannes....My Avenues are so bright 
they would go very well with the Puvis. ^ 

Pissarro was right to stress the dif- 
ferences between his paintings of ave- 
nues and those of boulevards.-' The long 
sweep of the boulevard Montmartre in 
Boulevard Montmartre, Mardi-Gras 
(no. 35) contrasts sharply with the wide- 
open space of the Place du Theatre Fran- 
^ais, depicted here where it becomes the 
avenue de I'Opera (the beginnings of 
which are almost invisible); in fact, this 
composition is closed off completely at 
the right by the theater facade. The total 
absence of sky and horizon and a per- 
spective which makes the background 
seem to rise before our eyes have sug- 
gested parallels — as with other works 
already discussed — with the composi- 
tions of Japanese prints.'* Several schol- 
ars (John Rewald, Leopold Reidemeister, 
Charles Kunstler) also have compared 
the works of Pissarro painted from the 
windows of the Hotel du Louvre to 
contemporary photographs'* (see below, 


1. Pissarro, 1950, pp. 441-442. 

2. Ibid., p. 443. 

3. Ibid., p. 444. 

4. Ibid. 

5. Ibid., p. 447. 

6. Ibid., p. 454. 

7. Coe, 1954, p. 109. 

8. Reunion des Musees Nationaux, 1981, nos. 79- 

9. Pissarro, 1950, figs. 53-54; Reidemeister, 1963, 
p. 169; Kunstler, 1974, p. 65. 



No. 35. Camille Pissarro 

Boulevard Montmartre. Mardi Gras, 1897 



37—38. Camille Pissarro 

Bridge AT Rouen, 

(Le Grand Pont, Rouen), 1896 

Rouen Harbor, Saint-Sever 
(Port DE Rouen, Saint-Sever), 1896 

Pissarro first worked at Rouen during 
the autumn of 1883. He returned for two 
long stays thirteen years later. From Jan- 
uary to March 1896 he lived at the Hotel 
de Paris (51, quai de Paris) on the Seine. 
"I've been to see the Hotel d'Angleterre," 
he wrote to his son on January 23. 

It has a fine location, on the embankment, 
but it's very expensive: eight francs for a 
room on the fourth floor. I may not be so 
well off here, but I pay only five francs for a 
nice room on the second floor and another 
on the third, above the mezzanine. The 
view is beautiful.' 

The Hotel d'Angleterre is where Monet 
had stayed while painting his Cathedral 
series between 1892 and 1893. 

When Pissarro returned to Rouen 
for two months in the autumn of 1896, 
he began his first letter to his son as 

Rouen, September 8, 1896. Hotel 
d'Angleterre, Cours Boeldieu....I am in 
Rouen. From my hotel window I've a view 
of the port at an angle different from the 
one offered by the Hotel du Pans. I'm in 
the process of familiarizing myself with the 
way the scenery looks from here.- 

Pissarro's idea of painting the Pont 

Boeldieu, or Grand Pont, dated as far 

back as the preceding February, when he 

had written to his son. 

What particularly interests me is the motif 

of the iron bridge in wet weather with all 

the vehicles, pedestrians, workers on the 

embankments, boats, smoke, haze in the 

distance; it's so spirited, so alive. I've tried 

ro catch the hive of activity that is Rouen of 
the embankments.- 

(The work Pissarro had in mind at that 
point hangs today in the Art Gallery of 
Toronto.'^) The Bridge at Rouen shows 
the other side of the bridge as it appeared 
to the painter from the Hotel d'Angle- 

I have a motif to do. ..from my window: 
the new Saint-Sever district directly oppo- 
site, with the hideous Gare d'Orleans, all 
shiny and new, and any number of chim- 
neys, large and small, spouting plumes of 
smoke. In the foreground, boats and water; 
to the left of the station, the working class 
district that runs along the embankment to 
the iron bridge, the Pont Boieldieu; a hazy 
morning sun It's beautiful, Venice- 
like,. ..extraordinary.. ..It's art, art filtered 
through my own perceptions. And that's 
not the only subject; there are wonders left 
and right. ...^ 

The glass roof next to the high chimney 
visible in this pamting belongs to the 
Gare d'Orleans. 

Rouen Harbor, Saint-Sever repre- 
sents yet another attempt on Pissarro's 
part to reconstruct the lively atmosphere 
of the port of Rouen as he saw it from his 
window. In the foreground he has shown 
several cranes unloading boats; ne.xt, 
some small craft on the Seine; and 
finally, on the left bank, the factories and 
warehouses of Saint-Sever. 


1. Pissarro, 1950, p. 397. 

2. Ibid., p. 416. 

3. Ibid., pp. 400-401. 

4. Reunion des Musees Nationaux, 1981, nos. 75- 

5. Pissarro, 1950, p. 419. 




No. 36. Camille Pissarro 

The Place du Theatre Frani;:ais, Paris. 1898 



No. 37. Camille Pissarro 
Bridge AT Rouen, 1896 



C T, i-'^^-x^. ^s^VK 

No. 38. Camille Pissarro 
Rouen Harbor, Saint-Sever, 1896 




Rivers, Roads, and Trains 

France during the nineteenth century was without doubt the most 
formidable system of transport and communication in the world. 
Partially nationalized and partially private, this system was or- 
ganized into primary, secondary, and tertiary networks. The first was a 
nationwide system of communication between Paris and the major commer- 
cial and administrative cities of France; it had been operative since the 1600s 
as a series of national roads to which canals and railroads gradually had been 
added. The secondary system insured communication between provincial 
centers and the towns and major villages in the territories they governed; this 
was almost exclusively a network of roads, and less of it was nationalized 
than of the primary system. The tertiary system was the oldest and the least 
well maintained, consisting of small roads and — for the most part — paths 
linking small towns and villages to each other and to the countryside around 
them. Few of these paths were maintained by any governmental authority, 
and most were intended for use by animals or as access to agricultural areas. 

The Impressionists painted all aspects of this system of transport and 
communication, from the rivers and canals to the national highways and lo- 
cal roads and, finally, to the tiny paths up hills and into the fields. The proto- 
types for this interest in representing human movement through the land- 
scape are numerous. Most assiduous in their pictorial analysis of transit were 
the Dutch painters of the seventeenth century (no. 50). It is probably no acci- 
dent that the paintings of the Ruisdaels, Meindert Hobbema, and others — 
like those of the Impressionists — record a system of roads and canals which 
had, in part, only recendy been begun. Unlike seventeenth- and eighteenth- 
century French and Italian landscape painters, however, who used roads and 
rivers as compositional devices to move the viewer's eye slowly back through 


Map 6. Argenteuil, Neuilly, and Environs, feol^ 


the picture plane and into the distance, Dutch artists were preoccupied with 
such motifs as motifs. Rarely in French painting before the Impressionists 
had this been the case. Thus the relationship between their compositions and 
those of the earlier Dutch masters — whose work they knew well — was 
crucial to the development of the Impressionists' compositions depicting 
movement through the landscape. 

The enlargement of the basic communication system as well as new 
forms of transport — the train (see above, II and III/3) and steamboat — in 
early-nineteenth-century France made it possible, and therefore desirable, for 
those who lived in large urban centers to travel, if only occasionally and for 
short periods. Newspaper columnist Benjamin Gastineau believed that by 
1860 travel had become essential as well as liberating: "Traveling is to live; it 
is to feel disengaged from all social restraint and prejudice." According to 
Gastineau, any city, especially Paris, was "huge, deceptive and chaotic, [a] 
vast market[place] where both the foot and the heart slide into the mire."' 
Travel provided the means to escape the pressures and ugliness of urban exis- 
tence. A few years earlier Baudelaire had expressed the same sentiment in Les 
Fleurs du mal (1855), where he called for the train to carry him away from 
the city and his problems. 

It was, above all else, the speed with which one could now travel that 
allowed for the vast ebb and flow of population from the city to the country. 
The inauguration of the railroad to Saint-Germain-en-Laye as the first major 
line from Paris in the mid-1 830s eventually led to the construction of over 
15,000 miles of track. By the end of the century construction of the six 
grandes lignes, or major systems, serving all of France (and Europe) had been 
finished. In addition, new canals were planned and inaugurated, and the om- 
nibus americain (fig. 37) improved in quality and quantity to keep up with 



" - ArKcntculI fS. el (1.) 

Hnril.t lit til Svtne 
I'n i-oiu du nouveau rout 

Fig. 30. Argenteuil (Seine-et-Oise) I Banks of 
the Seine/ A Portion of the New Bridge, n.d. 
Postcard. Centre Documentation Sceaux. 
Photo: Gloria Groom. 

the increased demand. Because of these developments, the social as well as the 
physical geography of France was altered drastically; tourism as a social 
phenomenon had begun in earnest. The Impressionists sought to provide im- 
ages of the rapidly expanding horizon of the French population. Rivers, 
roads, and rails, with their appropriate modes of transport, became the major 
"modern" motifs in landscape painting in the second half of the century (see 
above, I-II). 

The periodic mass exodus into the country made possible by the train 
and other inexpensive forms of transportation such as the tram not only 
allowed the urban dweller to reaffirm his humanity away from the hubbub of 
the city; the countryside and its inhabitants were also affected by increased 
building and commercial development (see above, II, and below, III/8). The 
periodical La Vie Parisienne for July 3, 1875, described the Parisians' inva- 
sion of France as one that took "possession of the countryside as though it 
were... a cafe concert larger than those of the Champs-Elysees." For those 
rich enough to avoid cafes, hotels, and the like, life was simpler and more 
pleasant. The French bourgeoisie bought country houses (see above, III/2), 
the convenience of which allowed them to spend frequent periods of time in 
the countryside: 

The bourgeois villas are going up in all the beautiful locations which surround the 
capital; entire districts have been built up, some of them of modest construction, 
some of them luxurious, all of them much to the taste of the Parisian populace 
which loves the countryside on the condition that it can be quickly transported 
there. - 

In the Paris Guide of 1867 Leon Say pointed out in his essay "Les 
chemins de fer" that Parisians poured out of the city in the summer into an 
area between four and fifty kilometers from the city "determined by time and 
by the fare."' As we have seen, it was the sites within precisely these param- 
eters that the Impressionists, for the most part, chose to depict in the early 
years (see above, III/2). Some of them focused on signs of industrial interfer- 
ence in the landscape and on factories (no. 38), bridges (nos. 45-46), and 
train tracks. In these paintings the man-made improvements of the industrial 



Cn sympntbique souvenir dc PARIS 
que je quitte. 

Fig. 31. A Fond Memory of PARIS, Which 
I'm Leaving, c. 1900. Postcard. Private 

Collection, Louveciennes. te>^ 

B. F., Paris j^o 

age are embraced by the natural landscape just as the rocks and fallen logs are 
in works of Courbet and Rousseau. 

For Monet and the painters who followed him closely, then, the means 
of getting from one place to another was as much an artistic preoccupation 
as the towns outside Paris themselves. In Argenteuil, for example, where Mo- 
net lived and was visited by his painter friends, virtually every aspect of the 
Seine, upstream and downstream, was treated in his work (fig. 30; map 6). 
The paths by the river, the small inlets, the roads, and the railroad tracks and 
bridges of this small resort town a few kilometers .from Paris were examined 
and re-examined in hundreds of his paintings from 1871 to 1878 (nos. 39— 

While it is true that the rivers, some of the roads, and the railroad lines 
of France were essentially public and that therefore a pictorialization of them 
was a celebration of property held in common by all the people of the nation 
(see above, II), it is difficult to know without corroboration from the painters 
themselves whether they believed their depictions of such subjects to be in 
any way a political statement. In a sense, a depiction of any of the innumer- 
able construction projects — of viaducts, sewers, railways, roads, and ca- 
nals — begun and carried out under the Second Empire was such a statement 
(fig. 31). And yet a comparison of Monet's depictions of the Seine and the 
bridges around Gennevilliers, Colombes, and Argenteuil with Pissarro's con- 
temporaneous depictions of Pontoise and the Oise (see below, III/5) reveals 
the differences with which the same motif might be imbued. Monet's river is 
the site of bourgeois leisure; the pleasures of boating, promenading, and 
relaxing are celebrated. Pissarro's paintings of Pontoise, on the other hand, 
reveal the mundane activities of daily existence: factories and farms, peasants 
and workmen making use of their proximity to the river for practical ends. 
Pontoise, of course, was a small commercial town on the Oise River; Argen- 
teuil, a weekend resort minutes from Paris. Thus their selection of places to 
live was as much an indication of the philosophical (or political) differences 
between these two artists as were their visions of the landscapes around 





Fig. 32. Charles-Frangois Daubigny (French, 
1817-1878), Harfleur. Illustration from 
Jules Janin, Guide de voyageur de Paris a la 
mer, 1847. Bibliotheque Historique de la 
Ville de Paris. Photo: Gloria Groom. 

Their individual concerns — Pissarro's for Pontoise and Monet's for 
Argenteuil — also seem to have affected the method by which they realized 
their landscapes. Monet's paintings participate in the scenes he depicts — his 
odd perspectives are evidence of his use of a studio boat. This interest in the 
river shore seen from the water itself was inspired by Daubigny's use of a 
similar floating studio. In fact, Daubigny's Boat Trip series (1862) and his 
earlier vignettes entitled Guide for the Traveler from Paris to the Sea (1847) 
(figs. 32, 34-35) provided Monet with sources of inspiration, although he 
removed all traces of the presence of the boat itself while Daubigny delighted 
in revealing his very unusual way of life. Pissarro, in contrast, depicted his 
views as if firmly rooted on the land. He remained a spectator viewing the 
landscape as a thing quite apart from himself, but something which he should 
and must record. 

This difference in point of view and artistic means employed to con- 
vey a particular ideological stance is sometimes subde, but always crucial to 
an examination of these artists' paintings. Monet's work speaks to us as 
consummately Parisian, in spite of the fact that Paris was his adopted city. 
Zola remarked that a true Parisian [sic] he brings Paris to the country; he cannot paint a landscape 
without including well-dressed men and women. Nature seems to lose its interest 
for him as soon as it does not bear the stamp of our customs... .He is pleased to 
discover man's trace every where.... He loves with particular affection nature that 
man makes modern."' 

Monet was an excited visitor to the landscape he chose to paint, but we are 
constantly aware that he had purchased a return ticket and that he would 
leave by whatever means he had selected to come out into the country in the 
first place. Pissarro, on the other hand, painted in the guise of a timeless 



Fig. 33. Edouard Baldus (French, 1820-c. 1881), Land- 
scape near the Chantilly Viaduct. Albumen print from glass 
negative. 32 x 43 cm. From Album des chemins de fer du 
Nord, 1855. Bibliotheque Nationale. Photo: 
Studio Harcourt. 

inhabitant, viewing with suspicion any intrusion into the rural society which 
he set down on canvas. Although he maintained his distance, he examined 
subjectively the features of the essentially provincial, considerably more so- 
ber landscape about him. These two contrasting concepts characterize for the 
most part the different subjective points of view presented in the landscape 
paintings of the Impressionist artists. Although they are diametrically op- 
posed, however, they both recognize and capture a sense of movement or 
transitoriness, both physical and temporal. Monet's is as quick and fleeting 
as the train travel he so readily embraced; Pissarro's, as slow and torpid as the 
barges he so often painted. 

It may have been the newly found opportunities of the Parisian middle 
classes to travel outside the city, as well as the Impressionists' assumption that 
such people would desire paintings of scenes they observed on their travels, 
that — more than anything else — encouraged these artists to depict the land- 
scape of transit. In any event, in response to the increased mobility allowed by 
the railroads, portable visitors' guides such as those by Joanne (see above, II 
and III/2) were created for all the major regions of France. The monuments 
and scenery illustrated in the folio volume Voyages pittoresques et roman- 
tiques dans I'ancienne France by Baron Isadore Taylor and Charles Nodier 
(1820-78) or in Album des chemins de fer du Nord (fig. 33) could now be 
visited firsthand by the interested traveler. Increased speed and accessibility 
inspired Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc to state that "the railroad has 
allowed us to see more monuments within a week than it could previously 
have been possible to visit in a month."^ By 1876 tourists with guidebooks in 
hand had become the butt of jokes. Charles-Albert Bertall, m his La Vie hors 
de chez soi (comedie de notre temps) (1876), described 

...tourists, limited to those verificatiotis of a thing's permanent identity, and un- 
able to provide the nourishment of diversifying by study and by comparison. ..if he 
does not have the Joanne guidebook in his pocket, he does not even know where he 

"If this is Tuesday, it must be Belgium" was obviously not a concept invented 

in the twentieth century. 

The decades of the 1860s and '70s were decisive in the formation of a 
new language of landscape painting for the French Impressionists. This post- 




Viaduc de Malaunay. 

Fig. 34. Daubigny, Viaduct of Malaimay. 
Illustration from Jules Janin, Guide de voya- 
geur de Paris a la mer, 1847. Bibliotheque 
Historique de la Ville de Paris. 
Photo: Gloria Groom. 

Barbizon visual vocabulary incorporated within itself the jargon of middle- 
class travel and the experiences which resulted therefrom. Although this lan- 
guage remained in its nascent stages with some of the artists (for example, 
Sisley and Guillaumin), with others (Monet, for instance) it provided the 
basic structure out of which a larger vocabulary could grow and change. We 
have become accustomed to the Impressionist vision created during these 
formative years — a genial landscape iconography of meandering roads, 
flowing waterways, and the more modern severity of railroad tracks piercing 
the natural terrain. This iconography evoked for these artists, as it does for us 
today, a sense of movement, of adventure, of visual and intellectual expan- 
sion. As Henry James wrote in a column for the New York Tribune in which 
he described a trip from Paris to Le Havre by way of Rouen, "my enjoyment 
has not been of my goal but of my journey."^ 

The compositional and iconographical origins of the Impressionist 
pictorial language of the 1870s do not lie altogether within the realm of the 
fine art of the past. Although their work was based squarely in the traditional 
landscape methods of the Academie, distilled and reinterpreted by the artists 
of Barbizon, as well as in Dutch seventeenth-century painting, the Impres- 
sionists turned to conceptually different artistic sources as well. These were 
the popular illustrations — prints produced for French newspapers, journals, 
guidebooks, and general literature — which began to appear in such extraor- 
dinary profusion after the 1840s (figs. 34—37). Rather than relying on single 
prints or illustrations in the creation of specific paintings, however, the 
Impressionists simply absorbed this explosion of visual data and turned it to 
their own uses (nos. 39—46). It was precisely this interest in what was tradi- 
tionally considered to be "low art" that provoked reactions from critics both 
favorable and hostile to the newly formed movement (see below, IV). Baude- 
laire and Castagnary, for example, complained of the surfeit of the common- 



Fig. 35. Daubigny, Maisons-Laffitte. Illustration from Jules 

Janin, Guide de voyageur de Pans a la mer, 1847. 

Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris. 

Photo: Gloria Groom. 

Fig. iG. Emile de La Bedolliere (French), The Rustic 

Pleasures of the Pare du Vesinet. Illustration from Histoire 

des environs du noitveau Paris, early 1860s, p. 109. 

Photo: LACMA. 

Fig. 37. Viaor Geruzez [Crafty] (c. 1840-1906), The 

Departure of the Last Omnibus americain. Illustration 

from Souvenirs de la fete de Bougival. 

Private Collection, Louveciennes. 



^^-^ . 

- jt .4 nf i , 




' -^flK 


j-ttif. lije , 

Fig. 38. Sisley, View of the Canal Saint-Mar- 
tin, 1870. Oil on canvas. 50 x 65 cm. Musee 
d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris. 

Photo: ACRACI. 

place in landscape painting, as well as the lack of distance between the real 
and the pictorial worlds. They had hoped contemporary landscape painting 
would somehow rise above the merely descriptive. Other critics, though, 
could discern that these artists were capable of overcoming the banality of a 
subject to make something quite exceptional of it. Zola and Jean Rousseau 
both saw Pissarro, for example, as moving beyond the picturesque to reveal in 
the landscape a kind of robust and eloquent veracity which had not been 
examined previously. 

In the end, the Impressionists created landscapes of transit that were 
riddled with ambiguities and contradictions. They simply exchanged the idyl- 
lic landscape fiction of the past for one of their own making. The earlier 
French interest in painting exotic places was supplanted by a desire for the 
familiar (fig. 38), a concern to see those sites which were — or which could 
be — known through personal experience. The Impressionists, in many cases, 
sought to accommodate the contemporary concern for the familiar in their 
art. In addition to capturing on canvas, in a specifically modern way, the 
popular vacation sites and pleasurable outdoor activities made possible by 
leisure time, they focused on the specific means by which such pastimes and 
places were being made accessible to an ever-growing public even as they 

— S. S. 


1. Gastineau, 1861, p. 2. 
I.Martin, 1890, Preface. 

3. La Croix (ed.), 1867, vol. II, pp. 1658-1659. 

4. Zola, 1959, pp. 131-132. 

5. Viollet-le-Duc, 1862, p. 254. 

6. Bertall, 1876, p. 11. 

7. James, 1952, p. 192. 



39-43. Claude Monet 

Argenteuil Basin 

(Le BaSSIN d'ArCENTEUIL), 1872 

The Seine at Argenteuil 

(La Seine a Argenteuil), 1873 
Argenteuil Basin 

(Le BaSSIN d'ArGENTELUl), 1874 

Sailboat at Petit-Gennevilliers 

(Volier au Petit-Gennevilliers), 1S~4 
The Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil 
(Le Pont du chemin de fer, 
Argenteuil), 1874 

44—45. Pierre- Auguste Renoir 

The Seine at Argenteuil 
(La Seine a Argenteuil), c. 1873 
The Bridge at Argenteuil 
(Le Pont d'Argenteuil), 1882 

46. Gustave Caillebotte 

The Bridge over the Seine 

AT Argenteuil 

(Le Pont d'Argenteuil et la Seine), 


In the second half of the nineteenth cen- 
tury Argenteuil was a small, self-suffi- 
cient town 27 kilometers by boat from 
Paris, although it could be reached even 
more quickly by the railroad, which first 
had begun its service there in 1851. 
Because of the railroad Argenteuil very 
quickly became one of the most impor- 
tant resort towns in the immediate vi- 
cinity of Paris. To get there one boarded 
the Paris— Saint-Germain-en-Laye train 
at the Gate Saint-Lazare; it departed 
every hour between 7:50 a.m. and 9:50 
p.m. with an additional return train in 
the summer leaving at 11:30 p.m. The 
ten-kilometer trip took twenty-two min- 
utes with stops at Asnieres, Bois- 
Colombes, and Colombes, before pro- 
ceeding across the Seine on the railroad 
bridge into Argenteuil. On board the 
more leisurely steamboat, the tourist 
went through Billancourt, Saint-Cloud, 
Asnieres, Clichy, Saint-Denis, Epinay, 
Gennevilliers, and then into Argenteuil. 

Both means of getting to the town 
were used by the multitude of Parisians 
who wanted to escape the city for a day 
or two of strolling in the fresh air, boat- 
ing, and sailing (a new recreational sport 
at the time). Because of the width and 
depth of the Seine there, Argenteuil 
quickly became the most popular sailing 
locale near Paris. Although rapidly 
becoming a mere suburb of the capital 

when Monet moved there in December 
1871 from Holland (where he had lived 
for a short time during the Franco-Prus- 
sian War), Argenteuil was still consid- 
ered to be in the countryside. Like many 
other nascent suburbs, however, its 
attractions were apparent not only to the 
tourists who visited, but also to devel- 
opers and industrialists. An increase in 
population was to alter the town signifi- 
cantly as it did many other places 
depicted by the Impressionist painters in 
the 1870s. 

Argenteuil's approximately 5,000 
inhabitants must have become preoccu- 
pied with the activities of tourism very 
soon after 1851, the year the Asnieres— 
Argenteuil stretch of the Paris-Saint- 
Germain-en-Laye railway opened. Con- 
trary to the opinion of Albert Rhodes, a 
would-be student of the French national 
psyche, that Frenchmen preferred to live 
poorly in an urban center rather than to 
move to the suburbs ("an hour or two of 
Vincennes or Bougival from time to time 
suffices for them...."),' by the end of the 
century Argenteuil's inhabitants had 
increased and it had become part of the 
vast array of bland, anonymous suburbs 
surrounding Paris. 

Monet's presence in Argenteuil, as 
well as the life of the place, proved to be 
attractions for his artist friends, many of 
whom came from Paris and its environs 
to visit, to discuss mutual interests, and, 
of course, to paint the town and sur- 
rounding countryside. Sisley came in 
1872, Renoir in 1873 and again in 1874, 
and Manet in 1874. The boat basin, 
crowded with middle-class tourists 
enjoying themselves at boating, prom- 
enading, and picnicking on the banks of 
the Seine, proved to be an irresistible 

Argenteuil promoted itself as one of 
the most attractive points along the Seine 
near Paris for just such activities. As 
early as August 25, 1850, the town fath- 
ers sponsored a regatta in order to 
attract Parisian boating enthusiasts to 
the area. Eight years later, the town suc- 
ceeded in luring the prestigious sailing 
club of the Societe des Regales 
Parisiennes, the Cercle de la Voile, to 
relocate in Argenteuil. This resulted in 
the town's being selected as the site for 
the International Sailing Competition of 

1867. By the time Monet had moved 
there, mooring space for sailboats, row- 
boats, and steamboats was at a pre- 
mium. Combined with the normal com- 
mercial barge traffic, these craft made 
for rather crowded waters at this point 
in the Seine's course. Some artists, such 
as Pissarro, reveled in the bustle. Others, 
including Monet, eliminated all evidence 
of commercial traffic from their paint- 
ings. These choices are particularly 
revealing of the artists' interests at the 

The most panoramic of the views of 
the boat basin at Argenteuil are Monet's 
Argenteuil Basin of 1872 (no. 39) and 
Renoir's Bridge at Argenteuil (no. 45) of 
a decade later. These paintings, in fact, 
are a veritable catalogue of what the 
town had to offer the tourist at this time. 
Top-hatted gentlemen and ladies with 
parasols stroll along the Promenade, a 
tree-lined walk on the Argenteuil side of 
the Seine; other tourists are seated on the 
bank watching the rowboats, sailboats, 
and a large steamboat (and three guepes 
a vapeur in Renoir's painting) in the ba- 
sin. In the distance is the highway bridge, 
which had been destroyed in the Franco- 
Prussian War and quickly rebuilt there- 
after, and across the river can be seen the 
township of Gennevilliers. Monet's 
painting — showing Argenteuil seen on 
any beautiful Sunday afternoon in the 
summer — encompasses an enormous 
amount of the area, even though more 
than half of the canvas is a study in cloud 

Renoir's Bridge at Argenteuil (no. 
45) embraces less of the same view, 
which is here separated from the viewer 
by a screen of trees, a common motif in 
Impressionist paintings of this period 
(nos. 13, 19). In both pictures, however, 
it is the boat basin and its various activi- 
ties which are the true subject. Caille- 
botte, on the other hand, pulled his 1885 
view of the bridge at Argenteuil and the 
Seine (no. 46) extremely close to the 
highway bridge, seen from Petit-Genne- 
villiers on the opposite side of the Seine. 
Framed by the curve of the arch is the 
town of Argenteuil itself. With Caille- 
botte, however, it was the uniqueness of 
the viewpoint that was the artist's real 
concern rather than the particular pan- 
orama. This use of dramatic perspective. 



No. 39. Claude Monet 

Argenteuil Basin, 1872 
(delation pp. 322-3Z1) 



No. 40. Claude Monet 
The seine at ARCENTtuiu, 18?3 



No. 41. Claude Monet 
ARCE.NTEU1L Basin, 1874 



No. 42. Claude Monet 

Sailboat at Petit-Gennevilliers, 1874 



No. 43. Claude Monet 

The Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil, 1874 



No. 44. Pierre-Auguste Renoir 

The Seine AT Argenteuil, c. 1873 



No. 45. Pierre-Auguste Renoir 

The Bridge at ABCENTtuii., 1882 



something which preoccupied Caille- 
botte throughout his career, was prob- 
ably dependent on popular illustrations, 
in which similar eye-catching experi- 
ments were constantly used to attract 
attention. It should be noted that 
Caillebotte's interest in Argenteuil was 
more than just for motifs to paint. He 
and his family owned many pleasure 
boats and yachts. In fact, five years 
before he painted this view, Texier fils of 
Argenteuil had built for Caillebotte and 
his brothers the first boat in France to 
make use of silk sails, which was success- 
ful in its various competitions and was 
sold a year later. 

Monet chose the basin as his subject 
in two paintings of 1874. Argenteuil Ba- 
sin (no. 41) depicts the Promenade near 
the Champ de Mars as seen across the 
boat rental area from Petit-Gennevilliers 
(the planting on the banks acts as a 
repoussoir element to thrust the viewer 
even further into space). To the immedi- 
ate right would have been the highway 
bridge. Sailboat at Petit-Gennevilliers 
(no. 42) was undoubtedly painted from 
Monet's specially built, floating atelier 
modeled on Daubigny's (see above. III/ 
4). Here, it must have been moored in 
front of the boat rental house. (Caille- 
botte's Bridge over the Seine at Argen- 
teuil depicts the area exactly 90 degrees 
to the right.) Another view by Monet, 
Sailboats in the Boat Rental Area (1872; 
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco), 
depicts this same view from a slightly 
closer vantage point. In both paintings 
by Monet, two active smokestacks, one 
on either side of a gabled house, reveal 
the area's involvement in something less 
capricious than the tourist trade. 

From slightly further upstream Mo- 
net and Renoir also depicted Argenteuil 
from the Colombes shore of the Petit- 
Bras of the Seine. In Renoir's Seine at Ar- 
genteuil (no. 44) the He Marante can just 
be seen on the left. In the distance are the 
Chateau du Marais and the factory 
sheds. Renoir has pulled back slightly 
and cut off the two buildings seen on the 
right in Monet's Seine at Argenteuil of 
the same time and, unlike Monet, has 
shown the Seine in use; two men in a 
rowboat glide past and what appears to 
be a barge disappears around the bend in 
the river, emphasized by the cleared tow- 
path. In contrast, Monet's painting 

shows the scene undisturbed by move- 
ment. Sisley, probably during the same 
painting campaign, depicted the identi- 
cal view seen here {The Seine at Argen- 
teuil [1872; Private Collection]). 

Perhaps the most startling, dra- 
matic, and truly modern view of Argen- 
teuil Monet painted is The Railroad 
Bridge, Argenteuil (no. 43) (another ver- 
sion of the subject, without the sailboat, 
is in the Musee d'Orsay, Paris). In addi- 
tion, the painting is, in a way, the quint- 
essential image of Monet's interest in the 
landscape during this period. The peace- 
ful summer day of Argenteuil Basin, 
painted during the same year, is here fur- 
ther animated by the introduction of the 
train streaking across the railroad bridge 
further down the Seine from the highway 
bridge as well as by the compositional 
format Monet chose to use. The gentle 
sounds of city people at play are here 
overruled by the implied shrill whistle 
and mechanical sounds of a train carry- 
ing goods and passengers from one point 
to another. The concrete and iron bridge 
and the train passing over it plunge the 
viewer deep into the pictorial space in a 
manner similar to that utilized by il- 
lustrators of similar scenes from Dau- 
bigny to the innumerable anonymous 
artists whose work peppered the con- 
temporary press.- Juxtaposed with the 
bridge is a single sailboat. Monet painted 
this picture standing on the Epinay— 
Argenteuil side of the bridge looking 
toward Gennevilliers; the boat rental 
area was within view on the other side of 
the highway bridge. From contemporary 
descriptions of this particular point it is 
possible to determine that Monet chose 
to enhance the physical beauty of the 
area. The industrialization of Argenteuil, 
indeed of all France, as well as the means 
utilized by her citizens to enjoy the lei- 
sure time created by that industrializa- 
tion, are nowhere more definitively pre- 
sented than in this painting. 

This iconography of modern river- 
scapes owes its inspiration and syntax to 
contemporary illustrations and popular 
prints. There is no question that these 
crude graphics lack the eloquence and 
physical beauty of Monet's paintings, for 
example. In their own way, however, 
they exhibit a masterly ability to capture 
the panorama of modern life quickly and 

without pretense. Today they strike us as 
insignificant and banal in the same way, 
in fact, that Impressionist painting must 
have appeared to some members of its 
contemporary audience. To peruse the 
ephemera of the 1860s and the '70s is to 
rediscover the foundations upon which 
the Impressionists presented to an af- 
fronted public the familiar landscape of 
their world, but in a radically new style. 


1. Rhodes, c. 1875, p. 80. 

I.Tucker, 1982, pp. 70-75. 

47. Claude Monet 

On the Seine at Bennecourt 

(Au BORD D£ l'eAU, BeNNECOURt), 1868 

Bennecourt is a small village situated in 
the elbow of the Seine about three miles 
southeast of Giverny. Myriad small and 
large islands dot the Seine between 
Bennecourt and Gloton on the right 
bank, and Bonnieres and Jeufosse on the 
left. In the mid-nineteenth century 
Bennecourt's economy was essentially 
based on agriculture, particularly the 
cultivation of fruit and the making of 
wine. Two years before Monet painted 
On the Seine at Bennecourt, Cezanne 
had visited the town, which he may have 
known through the paintings and etch- 
ings of Daubigny and his son from the 
previous decade. He certainly would 
have known of it through several of his 
friends, including Zola, who lived there 
on and off between 1866 and 1871 and 
who wrote several of his novels and sto- 
ries there, including La Riviere, Therese 
Raquin, and L'Oeuvre. 

Because Monet's work of the late 
1860s was, in a sense, experimental (like 
that of his compatriots Sisley, Renoir, 
and Bazille), he reworked and reused his 
canvases at later dates. As a result, this 
painting is the only picture of Benne- 
court that survives from the early period. 
However, Monet returned to this site 15 
years later in a number of winter land- 
scapes showing the town veiled by frosty 
mists, his house at Giverny (nos. 91—93) 
being only a very short distance away. 

In this painting, Monet depicted his 
mistress (later, his first wife), Camille 
Doncieux, seated beneath a tree on the 
largest island in the Seine at this point; 
the rowboat in which they traveled to get 



No. 46. Gustave Caillebotte 

TirE Bridge over the Seine at Arcenteuil, 18S5 



No. 47. Claude Monet 

On the Seine at Bennecoubt, 1 868 

(detail on pp. 50~S1) 



CVwwCi^^ V xV-^^N t 

No. 48. Claude Monet 

Trai.s- [n the Countryside, c. 1870-71 



there is moored nearby. In the grand 
tradition of early nineteenth-century 
Romantic painting, she looks, with pro- 
file perdu (a pose which allows us only to 
glimpse her face) at the houses of 
Gloton. The lofty associations conjured 
by Romantic artists are here suppressed, 
however, by Monet's obvious delight in 
color and light and by the beautiful sur- 
face qualities of the whole. His clarity of 
vision and composition, perhaps reliant 
on similar effects in contemporary 
photography (see below, V), imbued the 
painting — whose focus is the river it- 
self — with an objectivity which com- 
pletely liberates the scene from its possi- 
bly sentimental constraints. 

48. Claude Monet 

Train in the Countryside 

(Train dans la campagne), c. 1870-71 

49. Pierre-Auguste Renoir 

Oarsmen at Chatou 

(Les Canotiers a Chatou), 1879 

Few paintings reveal so perfectly and 
succinctly the "improved" landscape of 
nineteenth-century France. Monet's 
small picture depicts ladies with parasols 
and small children engaging in prom- 
enades in the country. Passing on an 
embankment is the train, that mechani- 
cal invention which allowed Parisians of 
various classes to participate in the plea- 
sures to be found in the countryside. 
Hidden by the trees, the locomotive's 
presence is suggested by the puffs of 
steam that indicate the direction in 
which the train is moving. Insouciantly 
integrated into the landscape, much like 
a temple in a painting by Claude, the 
train provides the viewer with a focus as 
his eve moves slowly into the distance in 
order to appreciate the whole landscape. 

Monet's picture shows the Saint- 
Germain branch of the Pans — Saint- 
Germain-en-Laye railroad line, the earli- 
est to be inaugurated in France (see 
above, III/4). The height of the embank- 
ment suggests that the site of the painting 
must lie between Rueil and Chatou. The 
wagons a I'wiperiale, or double-decker 
cars, crowded with holiday-seekers 
charmingly, even disarmingly, silhouet- 
ted against the sky, were a feature unique 
to this particular line. By 1864 the train 

ran every hour (with additional depar- 
tures scheduled during the summer) at a 
very low cost, although there was a sur- 
charge on weekends. As early as 1848, 
only two years after this branch had 
opened, the anonymous author of an 
article in L'lUustration criticized this 
policy of increasing fees on the only days 
when people could shake off "the heavy 
chain" that bound them to "the mer- 
chant's bank, the office of the man of af- 
fairs, the painter's atelier, or the employ- 
ee's desk."' Even artists, then, seem to 
have discovered the beauty of this site 
very early on in the century. 

Renoir's Oarsmen at Chatou reveals 
the summer pleasures awaiting those 
who got off the train depicted in Monet's 
painting. (The line continued to Le 
Vesinet, Le Pecq, and, finally, to Saint- 
Germain-en-Laye.) Located on the right 
bank of the Seine across from Rueil and 
just south of Argenteuil, Bezons, and 
Carrieres-Saint-Denis, Chatou was 
becoming a popular place for the rich to 
build country houses and for the mem- 
bers of other classes to visit on week- 
ends. In fact, it was one of the oldest sub- 
urbs of Paris. By this time it had become 
a rival of Asnieres as a place to go for 
pleasure-boating. Joanne's guide of 1881 
describes the town as a paradise for 
anglers as well as canotiers.- 

LInlike other paintings by Renoir of 
this site in which the figures become 
mere staffage (as, for example, in Seme at 
Chatou [1880; Museum of Fine Arts, 
Boston]), here the subject of the picture 
is the figures — the boaters and well- 
wishers, including the artist's own well- 
dressed friends Caillebotte and Aline 
Charigot, Renoir's future wife. The Seine 
is depicted here in its role as provider of 
enjoyment and relaxation. Renoir's great 
Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881; 
The Phillips Collection, Washington, 
D.C.) illustrates the lunch-time activities 
of these weekend sailors at the Restau- 
rant Fournaise in Chatou. In the latter 
picture, as in Oarsmen at Chatou, Re- 
noir has captured the quality of a day in 
the country in liquid strokes of pure 


1. L'lUustration, Oct. ~, 1848, p. 93. 

2. A.Joanne, 1881, pp. 144-145. 

50. Eugene Boudin 

Landscape with Washerwomen/ 
Le Faou, the Harbor at Low Tide 
(Paysage aux lavandieres/ 
Le Faou, le porta maree basse), 1873 

Boudin devoted a large part of his career 
to painting the far reaches of the north- 
ern and western French coastline, from 
the chic resort towns of Le Havre and 
Trouville to the quiet backwaters of the 
Finistere. Le Faou, a tiny village 561 ki- 
lometers from Paris, is 19 kilometers 
from Quimper. It is described by Paul 
Joanne in his Dictionnaire geographique 
et administratif de la France (1872) as 
being at the bottom of the estuary of the 
Brest basin. Although trains coming 
from Paris (one could board them at the 
Gate d'Orleans) ran very near Quimper 
at Lorient, its size, distance, and so- 
ciological make-up were unattractive to 
the Impressionists. Although Boudin 
painted here, his major interest seems to 
have been in reducing the site to a for- 
mula like those used in paintings by such 
seventeenth-century Dutch artists as the 
Ruisdaels or Jan van Goyen. The pic- 
ture's surface of crusty impasto evenly 
applied and the objective examination of 
detail reveal Boudin's contribution to 
French painting of the period. 

51. Armand Guillaumin 
The Arcueil Aqueduct at Sceaux 
Railroad Crossing 
(L'Aql'EDL'C a Arcueil, eigne de 
Sceaux), c. 1874 

Guillaumin's painting, possibly dating to 
the summer of 1874, when the architec- 
tural decoration of the newly completed 
Aqueduc de la Vanne was finished, 
depicts the point where the aqueduct — 
which separates Arcueil from Cachan — 
leaps the Paris— Sceaux railway line 
immediately south of Paris. People can 
be seen waiting at a small, covered sta- 
tion in the distance. To the left, a graded 
road alive with human traffic provides 
yet another link between Arcueil and 
Cachan. The Paris-Sceaux line had been 
inaugurated 30 years earlier; from the 
Gate de Luxembourg in Paris it took 
only a matter of minutes to reach Ar- 
cueil, a few kilometers away. Thus in one 



No. 49. Pierre-Auguste Renoir 

Oarsmen at chatou, 1879 



No. 50. Eugene Boudin 

Landscape WITH Washerwomen, 1873 



No. 51. Armand GuillauTTiin 

The Arcueil Aqueduct at Sceaux Railroad Crossing, c. 1874 



No. 52. Armand Guillaumin 

Environs of Parcs, c. 1874 
(detail on p. 136) 



No. 53. Camille Pissarro 

Railway Crossing at Pahs, near Pontoise, 1873-74 



painting Guillaumin has revealed three 
of the most important aspects of the me- 
chanically improved French landscape of 
the nineteenth century: the road, the 
railroad, and the aqueduct. 

The Aqueduc de la Vanne was listed 
in all the contemporary guidebooks as 
one of the major sites of this region 
because of its historical, aesthetic, and 
technological importance. It linked the 
Roman aqueduct of Arcueil, celebrated 
by Pierre de Ronsard in the sixteenth 
century, with the structure commis- 
sioned in 1613 by Marie de Medici and 
designed by Salomon de Brosse to pro- 
vide water for her new Palais de Luxem- 
bourg. In 1867 the system was further 
enlarged and reinforced with Portland 
cement by Eugene Belgrand; by the time 
its architectural embellishments had 
been completed, it already had been in 
operation for some time. 

In the nineteenth century Arcueil, 
with a population of about 5,300, was a 
small town which could be reached by 
train from Paris or by stagecoach by way 
of the post road from the Porte d'Or- 
leans. Because it was situated in a valley 
which possessed both natural beauty and 
historical importance (Etienne Jodelle, 
like Ronsard a member of the Pleiade, 
and the Marquis de Sade had chateaus 
there), many bourgeois built country 
houses in the area. 

52. Armand Guillaumin 

Environs of Paris 
(Environs de Paris), c. 1874 

The subject of Guillaumin's painting, the 
road which snakes through the fore- 
ground, is a carefully constructed and 
newly graded one with recently planted 
trees placed at regular intervals — a pub- 
lic highway, in short, created for the gen- 
eral good. Its presence in the landscape 
outside Paris in no way interferes with 
nature. In fact, quite the opposite is true. 
The "improved" landscape, because of 
man's activities, has been made more 
effectual, more commodious, and more 
attractive. It is now a landscape of 
convenience that allows travelers and 
their goods to move from one place to 
another more efficaciously than before. 
Nothing could be more mundane or 
more modern (see above, II). 

The identification of the site of 

Guillaumin's painting has proved elu- 
sive. However, it has been suggested that 
a comparison with Sisley's Road to 
Verrieres (1872; Private Collection) 
might be helpful in this regard.' The 
compositions are similar and the land- 
scapes depicted have a great deal in com- 
mon. Verrieres-le-Buisson, near Igny, is 
thirteen kilometers southwest of Paris 
and four kilometers southwest of Sceaux 
in the forest of Verrieres. However, as 
Sisley's painting depicts only a road to 
that town, it could be anywhere in the 
region in which he painted — at Ver- 
sailles, Sevres, Meudon, or Ville-d'Avray. 


1. R. Brettell, oral communication. 

53. Camille Pissarro 

Railway Crossing at Patis, near 

(La Barriere du chemin de fer, av 
Patis pres Pontoise), 1873-74 

Pissarro lived in and around Pontoise for 
the better part of two decades, beginning 
in 1863 and ending with his departure 
for nearby Osny 20 years later (see 
above, III/2, and below, II1/5). Les Patis 
was adjacent to I'Ermitage, between 
Eragny and Pontoise, 30 kilometers 
north of Paris. The houses of the farmers 
and factory workers in the area form an 
amphitheater around the Oise River and 
the Nesles plateau in the Viosne valley. 
This area proved to be attractive to Dau- 
bigny and other earlier artists who en- 
joyed its peaceful, remarkably undif- 
ferentiated river views of slowly moving 
water and still foliage. Pissarro, on the 
other hand, though surrounded by the 
same motifs, chose very different aspects 
of the area to record on canvas. 

Railivay Crossing at Patis, near 
Pontoise is a subject of almost shocking 
banality. A road races into the distance 
while a railroad barrier abruptly closes 
off the space. (Such barriers were much 
higher in Pissarro's time than they are 
today and were kept lowered until they 
had to be raised, rather than vice versa.) 
Two peasants walk toward each other on 
a broad, graded road. A wall and gate 
house on the right and a severely abbre- 
viated, grassy shoulder on the left close 
off our vision and force it directly to the 
barrier and beyond to the hills of Eragny. 

The telegraph pole and wood bar- 
rier indicate the presence of the tracks of 
the railway line, built the decade before, 
to connect Saint-Ouen-l'Aumone (and 
ultimately Paris) with Pontoise. There is 
no hint of the picturesque in Pissarro's 
painting, nor of the sentimental or 
romantic. The view is utterly devoid of 
emotional or historical reference. In this 
sense it is unrelentingly and insistently 
modern (see above, II). 

54. Claude Monet 

Springtime, through the Branches 
(Le Printemps, a travers les 

branches), 1878 

In the spring of 1878 Monet did a num- 
ber of paintings on the southern tip of 
the He de la Grande Jatte on the north- 
west outskirts of Paris, between Neuilly 
and Courbevoie. In this work Monet 
painted the few houses on the shore of 
the Seine at Courbevoie as seen through 
the branches of willow trees growing on 
the banks of the island. Because the site 
lacks particularization, it must be as- 
sumed that Monet's main concern was 
with the composition. The painting is 
conceived with a strong repoussoir pat- 
tern of trees that almost obliterates any 
view into the distance. The Seine, which 
is revealed in other works by Monet as 
having been a great playground for the 
Parisians at Argenteuil (nos. 39—43), is 
here reduced to little more than one of a 
series of barriers discouraging the viewer 
from analyzing anything except, to a 
limited degree, several nondescript 
houses seen across it. Monet's ability to 
reduce the branches and leaves to a sur- 
face pattern cut off at both top and bot- 
tom is particularly to be noted. 

55. Claude Monet 

Floating Ice on the Seine 
(Debacle sur la Seine), 1880 

The winter of 1879-80 was particularly 
severe in France. Newspaper accounts 
could only compare it to the winter of 
the Franco-Prussian War, exactly a dec- 
ade before.' The snow paralyzed Paris 
and its environs, and the transportation 
system of the He de France came to a 
halt. The Seine was completely frozen 
over. In January a thaw came, but was in- 



No. 54. Claude Monei 

Springtime, through the Branches, 1 878 



No. 55. Claude Monet 
Floating Ice on the Seine, 1880 



No. 56. Alfred Sisley 

The Seine near By, 1881 



terrupted by an immediate drop in tem- 
perature. At this moment Monet, in a 
great burst of activity, began to depict 
the landscape in and around Vetheuil, 
where he Hved beginning in 1878 (having 
left Argenteuil in 1876). Vetheuil was a 
small, charming village on the river mid- 
way between Mantes and Vernon, just 
northwest of Paris. The resulting paint- 
ings were Monet's earliest works follow- 
ing the death of his first wife, Camille, at 
the end of the previous summer. Al- 
though the pathetic fallacy is invoked 
most often with disastrous results, some- 
how it is consoling to know that these 
desolate, but extraordinary, winter land- 
scapes were painted at this most poig- 
nant moment in Monet's life. 

Floating Ice on the Seine was one of 
18 paintings done in the first few months 
of 1880 following the breakup of the ice 
on the river. This picture seems to have 
served as a sketch or as an experimental 
version for a larger painting (Shelburne 
Museum) which Monet submitted for 
inclusion in the Salon of 1880. In^spite of 
the fact that he felt that this larger com- 
position was "a more prudent, more 
bourgeois thing" than his other paint- 
ings, as he wrote in a contemporary let- 
ter to Theodore Duret,^ it was rejected. 
What Monet meant by this comment can 
only be inferred. The utterly symmetrical 
and classical composition of Floating Ice 
on the Seine's mirror-imaged sky and 
water, which almost meet at the golden 
mean of the canvas; its total lack of 
specificity; and its avoidance of anything 
modern in its subject matter — in spite of 
its technical freedom — may have been 
what Monet was referring to. The art- 
ist's concern here seems to have been less 
with the landscape itself than with how 
he could distribute it across the surface 
of the canvas. Both in spite of, and 
because of, the surface pattern, the 
pictorial space is almost negated. 

In the end, however, Monet depicted 
nature at its most grand and its most ar- 
tificial. Although Floating Ice on the 
Seine is a picture within the early-nine- 
teenth-century landscape tradition, its 
facture reveals its extraordinary moder- 
nity despite its traditional subject. 


1. See Le Petit Journal, Dec. 7, 1879. 

2. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. I, p. 438. 

56-57. Alfred Sisley 

The Seine near By 

(La Seine vue des coteaux de By), 


The Bridge at Moret 

(Pont de Moret), 1893 

In competition with his Impressionist 
colleagues Sisley sought desperately to 
provide pictures of old-fashioned land- 
scapes in a traditional format for bour- 
geois Parisian collectors. Although — or 
perhaps because — he utilized pictur- 
esque motifs found in places popular 
with an earlier generation, however, 
Sisley's work proved to be totally un- 
successful. His search for a format which 
would find buyers eluded him through- 
out his career. 

By 1880 Sisley had established him- 
self in the small village of Veneux-Nadon 
in the forest of Fontainebleau, a short 
walk from Moret-sur-Loing, the town at 
the junction of the Loing and the Seine 
rivers that was a two-hour train ride 
from the Gare de Lyon in Paris. In 1882 
he moved to Moret itself. The area, as he 
wrote to Monet in an attempt to lure 
him there, had very picturesque views.' 
Sisley remained there, with the exception 
of short trips, until his death in 1899, 
recording on canvas views of the town 
and its surrounding villages and land- 

Just two kilometers north of 
Veneux-Nadon is the hamlet of By, 
where Rosa Bonheur lived and where 
Sisley painted The Seine near By. Here, 
Sisley has reduced the presence of man to 
a few small buildings; the town of 
Champagne on the other side of the river 
is hardly alluded to. The hills slope gent- 
ly down to the river. Dividing the canvas 
diagonally into halves, one devoted to 
earth, the other to sky, with a view into 
extreme depth, Sisley's composition is 
dependent on Monet's views of Vetheuil 
(such as View of Vetheuil [1880; Los An- 
geles County Museum of Art]) of the 
year before. His attempt to reinterpret 
Monet's work proved to be unsuccessful 
in terms of finding the buyers he so des- 
perately sought, however. 

Sisley must have known Moret from 
his earlier stay at Marlotte (no. 11), as 
Moret was just less than 10 kilometers 
southwest of that hamlet. His Bridge at 
Moret was painted when he lived near 

Notre-Dame-de-Grace at the corner of 
the rues Montmartre and Donjon. Al- 
though the picture appears to record 
those features of the town mentioned by 
all the contemporary guidebooks, that is, 
the bridge, the mills, and the church, 
upon closer examination it becomes 
clear that Sisley's main interest here was 
in the bridge as an active and vital con- 
ductor of traffic across the Loing. Look- 
ing southwest into the town, the bridge is 
telescoped; the large central mills, the 
Moulin de Graciot on the right, and the 
Moulin de Provencher on the opposite 
side, have been emphasized at the 
expense of the church and the Medieval 
town gate in the center of the bridge 
whose steep, squared-off roof can be 
seen rising above the gabled mill to the 
right. In fact, Sisley took the most pictur- 
esque aspects of Moret and willfully 
obliterated them by using a selective 
point of view. 


l.Daulte, 1959, p. 31. 

58. Paul Signac 

The Seine at Herblay 

(BORDS DE riviere, LA SeINE A 

Herblay), 1889 

Four railroad stops beyond Argenteuil 
on the right bank of the Seine (as one 
goes toward the sea), twenty-one kilome- 
ters northwest of Paris, is the small town 
of Herblay. The village is a few kilome- 
ters past La Frette, which was popular 
with Parisian weekend tourists who 
came by boat to spend a day in the coun- 
try. In 1889, when Signac came to 
Herblay and his artist friend Maximilien 
Luce joined him a few months later, 
Herblay was beginning to institute a 
major sewage and water transport sys- 
tem. In spite of this activity, however, the 
town decreased in population during this 

This painting belongs to a series of 
four pictures Signac executed at this site, 
inspired by John Ruskin's Elements of 
Draiving (1852), parts of which he and 
Henri-Edmond Cross translated for the 
Brussels publication L'Art moderne in 
1889. The picture almost appears to 
have been painted from a floating atelier 
like that used by Daubigny and, later, 
Monet (no. 41). The town of Herblay is 



No. 57. Alfred Sislcy 
The Bridge at Moret, 1893 



No. 58. Paul Signac 
The Seine AT Herblay, iS 



No. 59. Alfred Sisley 

The Road, View of Sevres Path, Louveciennes, 1873 



reflected in the still water. The twelfth- 
century church tower without its spire 
dominates the small hamlet; the poplars 
on the other shore of the river balance 
the composition. Man is set to one side, 
nature to the other. The calm, watery di- 
vider between the two is broken by a 
small boat sailing toward Paris, its wake 
providing a mirrored image of the sky 
above. The small dots of color placed 
evenly across the surface of the painting 
quiver against the strain of Signac's at- 
tempt to provide a deep, central reces- 
sion into depth. The dichotomy between 
the artist's pointillist technique and the 
type of subject — and composition — he 
chose to depict is particularly strong. 

59. Alfred Sisley 

The Road, View of Sevres Path, 


(La Route, vue du chemin de 

Sevres), 1873 

This painting is among the most boldly 
conceived of Sisley's landscapes and took 
its composition almost directly from the 
series of road landscapes painted by Mo- 
net and Pissarro on the route de Ver- 
sailles, also in Louveciennes, between 
1869 and 1872 (see above, III/2). Al- 
though its title has traditionally been ac- 
cepted, it is incorrect. The painting actu- 
ally represents the route departementale, 
or main county road, from Bougival to 
Louveciennes. On the right are the gate 
buildings leading to Mme. du Barry's 
famous country residence.^ Rather than 
having made this topographically and 
historically interesting structure the mo- 
tif of his landscape, however, Sisley sim- 
ply included it as the anchor for the right 
half of his carefully balanced compo- 

The true subject of the painting is 
the road and its series of trees planted by 
the State. Indeed, the equidistant place- 
ment of the trees and the fact that they 
were carefully pruned so as to form a 
band of foliage in the spring and summer 
make it clear that this is an "official" 
road, designed with the allees that cut 
through the forests and parks of the 
French aristocracy in mind. Here, Sisley 
has painted the road in what one might 
call the "off season"; the laughter from 

La Grenouillere (no. 14), just minutes on 
foot from this spot, is far from our 

— R. B. 


1. Sisley painted this motif another time m 1874; 
see Daulte 145. 

60. Alfred Sisley 

Autumn: Banks of the Seine near 
Bougival/ Autumn: Banks of the Oise 

(L'avtomne sur les bords de l'Oise), 


Traditionally titled Autumn: Banks of 
the Oise, this superb landscape was un- 
doubtedly painted along the Seine near 
Bougival. The sharp bend of the river 
and the configuration of the hillsides 
suggest that Sisley set his easel on the 
path along the river near the suburban 
town of Malmaison and pamted looking 
downriver toward Bougival. He had 
depicted the town from the other direc- 
tion earlier in the same year (The Bridge 
at Bougival [Private Collection, New 
York]) and made at least 20 other paint- 
ings of the Seine between Bougival and 
Port-Marly during the 1870s. The large 
structure that peeks through the foliage 
at the right is probably the end of the 
aqueduct at Louveciennes, which Sisley 
painted in 1874 (The Aqueduct at Marly 
[The Toledo Museum of Art]). 

Executed on a fresh, clear autumn 
day, this picture is a celebration of the 
most fleeting aspect of that transitional 
season. The brilliant yellow of the foliage 
and the bright blue of the sky mingle in 
the tranquil waters of the Seine. Sisley's 
inclusion of a small ferry at its or- 
namented dock suggests that this perfect 
reflection soon will be broken. A well- 
dressed woman with a little girl walks 
toward the boat, and, in front of them, a 
little boy runs to hold its departure. Thus 
the landscape is in two senses transitory; 
Sisley has investigated here a shift in sea- 
sons just as he has a departure which will 
spoil the reflected glories of autumn. 

Compositionally, this picture has its 
roots in the river landscapes painted by 
Daubigny throughout the 1860s and 
'70s along the Oise River. It is perhaps 
for this reason that the picture acquired 
its mistaken title. 

— R. B. 



No. 60. Alfred Sisley 

Autumn: Banks of the Seine near Boucival, 1 873 




Ill/ 5 

Pissarro, Cezanne, and the School of Pontoise 

IF THE REGION AROUND BouGiVAL, Louveciennes, and Marly-le-Roi pro- 
vided the Impressionists with their first opportunities to paint a truly 
modern, suburban landscape (see above, III/2), the environs of Pontoise 
became the center for rural landscape painting (map 7). Dominated by 
the presence of Camille Pissarro, a group of painters who came to be known 
as the school of Pontoise worked intensely in the landscape between that 
town and Auvers during the 1870s and early 1880s, when the other major 
center of Impressionist painting was the Seine at the large suburban town of 
Argenteuil (see above, III/4). It is fascinating to observe that — in spite of the 
close pictorial relationships among works done by Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, 
and Sisley around Bougival — these artists split into apparently separate 
groups after the Commune. Monet centered himself in Argenteuil, rarely 
moving from that region; Sisley remained in the near western suburbs around 
Bougival; and Pissarro repaired to Pontoise. There is no evidence that they 
visited each other frequently at these sites; they tended to meet in Paris and to 
paint in isolation. For that reason the different locales they chose were an 
important component of their increasingly separate landscape aesthetics. 

The school of Pontoise created an Impressionism which emphasized 
the work of the fields and the continuing life of hamlets and villages, a mode 
which must be read as a Counterbalance to the Impressionism of leisure of 
Monet, Renoir, Caillebotte, and, to a lesser extent, Sisley. Paintings by the 
school of Pontoise were criticized in reviews of early Impressionist exhibi- 
tions for the vulgarity of their subjects — cabbage patches, rural paths, and 
farmyards. The style of these paintings was thought to be as crude as their 
subjects. Indeed, the Impressionists of the school of Pontoise created a rural 
brand of pictorial naturalism that departed dramatically from what seems by 
comparison to have been the poetic realism of the Barbizon school. As such, 


Map 7. Pontoise and Environs. "'%gty\'?\^2t» 

their pastoral mode was as aggressively new as the Impressionism of leisure 
of the school of Argenteuil. 

In order to fully understand the school of Pontoise, one must know 
something of the nature of the town in which its members lived and painted. ' 
Possessor of a distinguished history which stretched back into the Middle 
Ages, the town of Pontoise had been the fortified border capital of a proud, 
self-conscious region called the Vexin. Situated on a well-protected hillside 
above the Oise River, Pontoise cast a wary eye on the plains of Montmorency 
that stretched from the Oise uninterrupted into Paris (fig. 39). Its ecclesias- 
tical institutions — monastic and otherwise — were wealthy and powerful, 
and its population in the fourteenth century was considerably larger than it 
was during the nineteenth century. Meaning Uterally "bridge over the Oise," 
Pontoise was the point of contact between the entire Vexin, a region rich in 
wheat fields since Roman times, and the great capital cit)' of Paris. Yet since 
Pontoise was a capital, it was, to a degree, independent of influence from the 
capital of the Seine and of France. It was a provincial town proud of a history 
which was decidedly anti-Parisian. 

By the middle of the nineteenth century Pontoise had waned in signifi- 
cance. Railroads had penetrated the Vexin and the religious institutions that 
had given it real importance had been all but totally destroyed following the 
Revolution. Its links to Paris became stronger as the railroad arrived in its 
twin city, Saint-Ouen-l'Aumone, in 1846 and in Pontoise itself in 1864, and 
Pontoise came increasingly to have the character of a suburban town built on 
the ruins of a provincial capital. As the Oise was dredged to become the con- 
nector between the Seine and the newly built canals of the industrially rich 
north, more and more barges sailed the river, and, as a consequence, small 
factories devoted to the manufacturing of paint and of sugar from sugar beets 
began to spring up along its banks. Parisian businessmen, ever on the lookout 
for pleasant sites for their weekend and summer residences, recognized, to a 



limited extent at least, the charms of the region around Pontoise, perhaps the 
chief of which was easy accessibihty to Paris. Even the agriculture of the town 
and the surrounding region was modernized; as a result, the valleys and hill- 
sides came increasingly to be used as truck gardens for the expanding fruit 
and vegetable markets in Paris (see below, III/7). 

When Pissarro arrived in Pontoise with his mistress and their two chil- 
dren to set up house in January 1866, there was one small factory in the 
town, and the railroad station had just opened two years before. A litho- 
graphic panorama of the town published in 1 864 as part of the celebration of 
Pontoise's railroad shows us the town not from the river, its traditional 
source of power and wealth, but from the station (fig. 40). In fact, it was the 
train that enabled Pissarro and his many friends to make the landscape sur- 
rounding this suburban capital familiar to people throughout the world. 

The daily train to Pontoise left the Gate du Nord in Paris at 9:30 a.m. 
and arrived only 45 minutes later. Once at the station, the hamlets of Les 
Patis and I'Ermitage, the hillsides known as the Cote des Grouettes, the 
Cote des Boeufs, and the Jalais, and the paths along the Seine to such places 
as Valhermay and Chaponval were easily accessible on foot (fig. 41). We 
know the names of these sites today because they were depicted by the paint- 
ers of the Pontoise school, although the archives and newspapers of the nine- 
teenth century make no reference whatsoever to these artists, almost as if 
they had never lived in and around the town. Yet the landscape titles pre- 
ferred by them, particularly by Pissarro, show an intense familiarity with 
Pontoise and its surroundings, naming not only the appropriate town or vil- 
lage, but also the path, street, hillside, or area depicted. The precision of these 
titles is not in itself unusual — landscape paintings made in the forest of Fon- 
tainebleau in the mid-lSOOs could be equally precise (see above, I). What is 
fascinating is that no one who did not live in Pontoise could have recognized 
such places. Unlike the names of famous rocks or trees in the forest of Fon- 
tainebleau, the paths and hillsides of Pontoise were rarely — if ever — men- 
tioned in guidebooks and were not in the least "places to see." Their inclusion 
in painting titles assures us that this or that humble landscape is neither a 
composite nor a hypothetical landscape concocted by the painter, but the 
representation of a real — and verifiable — place. 

Why Pontoise? The answer is perhaps not as easy as those to the re- 
lated questions "Why Bougival?" and "Why Argenteuil?" The Oise was not 

Fig. 39. General View of the Banks of the 
Oise, 1849. Postcard. 

Fig. 40. Bird's-eye View of Pontoise, 
c. 1890. Postcard. 



3lf' POS'TOISE. — {''•r priif Su liaui Soir.t-Mct'tin. — SD Phc!. 

\\ PcnIcisC — L'Hi milage - rjnorama 

Figs. 41—42. Pontoise. — Vteiv from Haut 
Saint-Martin; Pontoise. — I'Ermitage. — Pan- 
orama, c. 1890. Postcards. 

wide enough to make sailboating very pleasurable or easy. There were no 
great gardens or collections of old and imposing country residences as at 
Louveciennes and Marly-le-Roi (see above, III/2). Le Notre had worked on 
the gardens of the Chateau de Pontoise for Cardinal Richelieu, but no trace of 
these existed except in the town archives or in old prints. Nor were the 
charms of Pontoise extolled in guidebooks with the same fervency as those of 
the other suburban towns pamted by the Impressionists. It was, in fact, the 
rural nature of the region around Pontoise that was its most significant char- 
acteristic (fig. 42). The major reason for a Parisian to go there was not to boat 
or eat, as at Bougival, but to go to a rural fair like the famous Foire de la 
Saint-Martin or to a regional market. There were many traditional farms 
near Pontoise and a large population of agricultural workers who tilled the 
fields and tended their animals. In fact, it is arguably true to say that the 
region around Pontoise was the most accessible rural landscape to Paris, and 
Pontoisians were known in the capital on the Seine not as suburbanites, but 
as provincial boobs, as a drawing by Dore makes abundantly clear (fig. 43). 

Perhaps the most important reason that so many important artists 
painted in this small area was the sheer variety of its landscape. Any of the 
members of the school of Pontoise — Pissarro, Cezanne, Guillaumin, 
Gauguin, or the other, minor figures — could paint rolling wheat fields, gently 
sloping hills, cliffs, rivulets, gardens, river-scapes (figs. 44—45), factories, 
traditional villages, country houses (fig. 46), markets, barnyards, and for- 
ests — all without walking more than 15 minutes from their various homes. 
Although not as famous as other Impressionist sites, Pontoise was simply 
richer and, as a result, more — and more varied — landscapes representing it 
were painted during the 1870s than of any other major site. Artists of widely 
diverse sensibilities could sustain themselves as landscape painters in and 
around the town. 

It was perhaps Dr. Paul Cachet, the homeopathic physician for, and 
friend of, Pissarro's mother, who suggested that the painter and his family 
come to Pontoise. He certainly helped to find them a house — the first of 
several rented dwellings occupied by Pissarro and his family during the next 
decade — at 1, rue du Fond de TErmitage in the hamlet of I'Frmitage in 1866, 
and Pissarro visited the doctor frequently in his own large house in nearby 
Auvers (figs. 47—48). One might wonder, in fact, why Pissarro decided to 
move to Pontoise and not Auvers. The smaller town further up the Oise River 



was at once more beautiful and more famous than Pontoise, and it was the 
site preferred by Daubigny, who visited there frequendy beginning in 1860 
and built a house for himself in nearby Villiers-de-Lisle-Adam in 1864. Co- 
rot, Daumier, Henriet, and many other landscape painters visited Daubigny, 
and Corot painted decorations for his house. Daubigny was even mentioned 
as the painter of Auvers in the 1862 edition of Les Chemins de fer illustres: 
Les Environs de Paris. 

It was probably to escape those associations with an already-famous 
landscape painter that the young Pissarro chose Pontoise. It was significantly 
un-pictured when he arrived there in 1866. In fact, his own presence — and 
the brilliance of his earliest landscapes painted in I'Ermitage — brought Dau- 
bigny to that site, which the older artist painted several times and which was 
the subject of his entry to the Salon of 1 874, the year of the first Impressionist 
exhibition, in which Pissarro himself exhibited several landscapes painted 
near Pontoise. In any case, Pissarro seems to have worried continuously about 
the presence of Daubigny, for, in all the years he painted in Pontoise — and in 
spite of the fact that he visited Cachet and Cezanne in Auvers — Pissarro 
never painted a landscape there. 

If Daubigny surrounded himself with his friends in Auvers, Pissarro 
did the same thing in Pontoise. Indeed, the fatherly painter who played such 
an active role in the formation of the Impressionist movement was the great 
teacher of his generation. Like Corot, who had so many students that he 
himself joked about their number, Pissarro was happiest when he worked 
with other, preferably young artists. It was undoubtedly easier to tolerate 
what must have been the tedious society of Pontoise in the supportive com- 
pany of friends and fellow artists, and the Pissarro household not only pro- 
duced a second generation of painters of its own, but fed and sustained a 
whole group of young artists from the difficult Cezanne through the relative 
unknowns Edouard Beliard and Victor Vignon to the brilliant, egomaniacal 
Gauguin. Although there is not a wealth of documentary material describing 
the life of the school of Pontoise, Henriet's books about landscape painters, 
published through the last third of the nineteenth century, give us a clear idea 
of the social and intellectual world of painters who lived in isolation from 
their "host" society, depicting the landscape without interacting with its 
inhabitants. - 

The landscapes painted around Pontoise by members of its school are, 
for the most part (no. 61), self-consciously rural. Sailboats, factories, or 
bourgeois gardens rarely appear; thatched cottages, orchards, fields, village 
paths, farmyards, and kitchen gardens are common. Although Pissarro him- 
self had managed to "ruralize" even the suburban landscape of Louveciennes 
(see above, III/2), he had ampler material in Pontoise for a sustained inves- 
tigation of the texture of a village landscape. And it was the vernacular archi- 
tecture of the hamlets surrounding the town and the anonymous, mundane 
rhythms of life in them that appealed to the artist and his friends. Their land- 
scapes. Impressionist though they might be in style and in their exploration of 
the temporal aspects of nature, represent ordinary hamlets and villages, many 
of which were little touched by the upheavals of industrial modernism that 
created the landscape painted by the Pontoise painters' colleagues in nearby 
Argenteuil. When they were, the Pontoise school chose to use carefully se- 
lected evidence of "improvement" as a foil for a celebration of traditional 
ruralism (nos. 62, 65). 


Fig. 43. After Gustave Dore (French, 1832- 
1888), I Arrive from Pontoise!...." 
Postcard. Bibliotheque Nationale, 
Serie Topographique. 



rosroiSE. — uoin i nu s<iiu:-},i.>ri, 

Figs. 44—45. Pontoise. — The Oise at lie 

Saint-Martin; Banks of the Oise at Pontoise, 

c. 1890. Postcards. 

The great critic Duret was the first to recognize the rural character of 
Pissarro's sensibihty and to encourage him (in a letter of December 6, 1873) 
to paint in a manner appropriate to his imagery.^ For Duret, the proper sub- 
ject matter for Pissarro was "rustic agrarian nature with animals" and not 
the sailboats, railroad bridges, and flower gardens upon which Monet ex- 
ercised what Duret called his "fantastic eye." Duret advised Pissarro to stress 
in his painting "a power of the brush" that the critic considered to be the 
essential characteristic 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. These 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 poiver that accords with the 
ordinary rural subjects of the Pontoise school and is therefore the st\'listic 
hallmark of these pictures. 

To whom were these village landscapes designed to appeal? Stylisti- 
cally, the rural imagery of the school of Pontoise derived loosely from the 
aesthetic of the Barbizon school and particularly that of Millet (see above, II 
and III/l). Any study of the market for Barbizon paintings during the 1860s 
and '70s, when the school of Pontoise was at its height, reveals clearly that 
they appealed strongly to the urban bourgeoisie not only of France, but, per- 
haps more importantly, of Britain and the United States. The number of rich 
businessmen who made their fortunes during the great age of industrial cap- 
italism and who surrounded themselves with paintings of villages and villag- 
ers is truly staggering. From Paris and Liverpool to Boston, New York, Chi- 
cago, and Minneapolis, the galleries of such men had more Barbizon 
paintings than Old Masters or even Salon nudes, and patrons of their type 
formed a market to which any aspiring young landscape painter might want 
quite naturally to appeal (see below, IV). The simple landscapes of Bar- 
bizon — filled with peasant figures, always obedient to the cycle of the sea- 
sons and the work of the fields — suited the atavistic tastes of many men 
whose fortunes were founded on railroads and industry. 

Yet, in spite of their evident interest in the marketing of their pictures 
(see below, IV), members of the school of Pontoise painted rural landscapes 
which have only superficial similarities to those of the Barbizon school that 
sold so well. Not only are the Pontoise paintings' surfaces more labored and 
difficult even than those of Millet's late pictures, but their subjects rarely have 




the easy charm so evident in works by their predecessors. Comparisons 
between contemporary paintings by Pissarro and Daubigny of similar sites 
make this point clearly. Pissarro's rural landscapes simply exist — strongly 
painted, confidently composed, and absolutely actual. His houses, for exam- 
ple, are powerful, not beautiful; one returns to Duret and his "power of the 

It was the strength and the physicahty of rural nature that Pissarro 
understood and communicated so strongly to his friends, the other members 
of the school of Pontoise. They strove to paint rustic scenes with a directness 
and formal honesty unprecedented in the history of art. It is perhaps for this 
reason that their paintings, based upon the prevailing aesthetic of naturalism 
being practiced by so many writers following the lead of Zola, failed to 
appeal to the audience for Barbizon pictures which they also sought as theirs. 
It was, in the end, easier for a bourgeois to buy and read one of Zola's nov- 
els — crude as it might be — than to own and look repeatedly at a painting 
with so little finesse or charm. The novel could be fumed over and put aside; 
the painting could not. 

One last point must be made before discussing specific landscape 
paintings by the school of Pontoise. The works of art created by these men 
are not alike in every way. The two greatest painters of the group, the painters 
who really developed their art in the Pontoisian landscape, were Pissarro and 
Cezanne. Cezanne the Provencal spent less time in the landscape around 
Pontoise than did Pissarro. Indeed, while the older artist worked there with 
only a single interruption between 1866 and 1883, the younger one was there 
between 1873 and 1875 and again between 1879 and 1882. Yet the site 
played an equally important role in their developments. Cezanne began his 
career in Pontoise by copying a Louveciennes landscape by Pissarro." He rap- 
idly moved out-of-doors, however, disciplining his own impetuous and erotic 
sensibility by a rigorous study of rural nature. Even after comparing the land- 
scapes by Pissarro and Cezanne in this exhibition, one can tell that their sen- 
sibilities were utterly different — as different as those of Corot and Rousseau, 
for example. Cezanne submitted the landscape to rigorous structural and 
pictorial analysis, taking Duret's advice to Pissarro further than the critic 
intended it to be taken. Pissarro, the great socialist and humanist, perceived 
Pontoise and its environs not merely as a landscape qua landscape, but as a 
human environment, populated by humble rural workers, many of whom the 

Figs. 46-47. Pontoise. — Chateau de Saint- 
Martin; Pontoise. — Panorama ofl'Ermitage, 
c. 1890. Postcards. 



Fig. 48. Pontoise. 

— Vieiv from the Auvers 
Path,c. 1890. Postcard. 

POSTOISH. - Vue yt.ic Je \t ^> 

painter knew and used as models. The village, for Pissarro, was at one with its 
inhabitants. For Cezanne, it was simply a group of buildings surrounded by 
hills and vegetation. Yet for each it was a pre-modern landscape, and for each 
it sustained repeated investigation and analysis. 

In fact, it was less Cezanne than Gauguin who derived not just his 
style, but a good deal of his iconography from the village landscapes of 
Pontoise and its environs. Gauguin painted extensively with Pissarro during 
the late 1870s and early '80s, particularly in 1883, when the latter moved to 
the village of Osny. Here, the two men painted fields, rural roads, cottages, 
and barnyards in manners so similar that — were it not for the presence of 
signatures and dates — many of their landscapes would be virtually indistin- 
guishable from one another. And, as if in homage to his master, Gauguin 
depicted village landscapes very much like those by Pissarro of Osny and 
Valhermay when he painted his own neighborhood in Paris in 1870 (no. 74) 
and even when he made his first, famous trip to Pont-Aven in Brittany in 
1886 — in spite of the rugged wildness of that site and the constant presence 
of the sea (nos. 75—76). This fact alone shows the extent to which the rural 
Impressionism of the school of Pontoise made its impact upon the subsequent 
history of landscape painting in France. 

— R. B. 


l.Brettell, 1977, pp. 22-69. 

2. See Henriet, 1891. Other books hy this author are L'Ete du paysagiste (1866) and Le 
Pavsagiste anx champs il8T'6). 

3. Pissarro and Venturi, 1939, p. 26. 

4. See also Zola, 1959, pp. 128-129. In his 1868 review of the Salon Zola wrote of Pissarro's 
landscapes: "Nothing could have been more banal and nothing was more powerful. From 
ordinary truth, the temperament of this painter has fashioned a rare poem of life and of 

5. Compare Venturi 153 and Pissarro and Venturi 123. 



61. Camille Pissarro 

The Banks of the Oise, Pontoise 

(BURDS DF l'eAU A PoNlX^ISI-.), 1S72 

Pissarro painted this superb river land- 
scape within months of his arrival in 
Pontoise from Louveciennes, and — with- 
out secure knowledge of the geography 
and architecture of Pontoise — one 
would almost think that it had been 
painted in Bougival. Both the composi- 
tion and the facture of the painting have 
direct antecedents in the river landscapes 
Pissarro had painted just months earlier 
in that modernizing and suburban land- 
scape on the Seine. In fact, as if in hom- 
age to Wash House at Bougival, his land- 
scape with a small factory on the Seine 
(no. 17), Pissarro chose to center the 
composition of The Banks of the Oise, 
Pontoise on the smokestack of the usine 
a gaz, or gasworks, in the town; the 
bridge crossing the river in the distance is 
the railroad bridge, which was less than a 
decade old in 1872. The path from 
which Pissarro painted this picture, the 
so-called chemin de la Pelouse, passed in 
front of the grounds of several recently 
built country residences, one of which, 
immediately to the left of Pissarro's com- 
position, was the property of the owner 
of the great Parisian department store Le 
Printemps. This was in every way a mod- 
ernized, suburban landscape. 

What is unusual about this painting 
in Pissarro's Pontoisian oeuvre is its very 
modernity. When he had painted the 
town and its environs in the late 1860s, 
his large landscapes, several of which 
were made for the Salon, were utterly ru- 
ral in character. This tendency character- 
ized most of the more than 300 land- 
scapes Pissarro painted in arid around 
Pontoise during the 1870s and early 
1880s. However, during the years 1872 
and 1873, just after his period in 
Louveciennes, Pissarro tended to paint 
the modernizing and suburban land- 
scape of Pontoise itself rather than the 
traditional, rural landscape that sur- 
rounded it. In this context. The Banks of 
the Oise, Pontoise is a suburban, rather 
than a village, landscape. Its composition 
and the unusual length of the canvas 
connect the picture to the river land- 
scapes of Daubigny (see above, III/5). 
However, Pissarro's frank acceptance of 
modern and industrial forms would not 
have been sanctioned by the older artist. 

who allowed such intrusions into his 
prints, but rarely into his paintings. 

62. Camille Pissarro 

The Red House 

(La Maison rouge), 1873 

This delicate, subtle painting was 
acquired, shortly after it was painted, by 
the great opera singer and collector of 
Impressionism Jean-Baptiste Faure (see 
below, IV). It is a study in balances — 
between old and new, earth and sky, man 
and nature. The red house of its title 
anchors the right half of the composi- 
tion, its newly built facade strictly par- 
allel to the picture plane and crying out 
for attention. This utterly modern dwell- 
ing is balanced by a considerably older 
farmhouse of a type common on the flat 
planes of the Vexin. The contrast of 
color, placement, and style is apparent, 
and the houses — representing two 
"ages" of man — vie for pictorial domi- 
nance on either side of a marvelous 
specimen fruit tree. 

The picture was painted from a path 
in the fields that ran alongside the route 
de Gisors, an old trading road from the 
fields of the Vexin into the market town 
of Pontoise. Pissarro could walk to the 
spot within ten minutes from his house 
in I'Ermitage. Undoubtedly he returned 
time after time to perfect this delicate 
painting. So carefully observed are the 
nuances of color in the fields and the sky, 
so perfectly detailed is its facture, that a 
short period en plein air would not have 
sufficed to complete it. Pissarro, like his 
friend Sisley, was struggling through the 
medium of paint to understand the dif- 
ficult transitions into modernity being 
experienced even in rural places. 

63—64. Camille Pissarro 

Hillside in the Hermitage, Pontoise 


Snow at the Hermitage, Pontoise 


Pontoise), 1874 

These two landscapes, painted in 
successive years in I'Ermitage, are studies 
of the effect of the seasons and weather 
upon a single landscape composition. 
Such "pairings" are common in the oeu- 
vres of both Pissarro and Sisley, who of- 



ten returned to a landscape one or two 
years after they first had painted it. In 
such cases they chose to retain a particu- 
larly effective view or composition so 
that their attention could be directed 
completely to the accurate entrapment of 
color and atmosphere. There is no evi- 
dence that these pairs were ever exhib- 
ited together, and many of them are dif- 
ferent enough to suggest that they were 
conceived as independent easel pictures 
rather than as part of an ongoing series 
or group of landscapes. None of them 
were ever sold together. This pair, exhib- 
ited together for the first time, gives the 
viewer the opportunity to analyze the 
many shifts that Pissarro made in the 
landscape to suit the demands of each 

These landscapes represent a group 
of small seventeenth- or eighteenth-cen- 
tury rural dwellings huddled alongside a 
hill, the Cote des Grouettes, in 
I'Ermitage (fig. 42). When he painted 
these landscapes, Pissarro lived in a 
newly constructed house on the rue de 
I'Ermitage, a modern, paved street in the 
same hamlet (see above, III/5). This 
street ran almost parallel to an older, 
curved path called the fond de 
I'Ermitage, along which the houses 
depicted in these paintings were located. 
It is interesting that Pissarro painted 
these older dwellings many more times 
during the 1860s and '70s than he did 
buildings on the larger, newer street, 
thereby indicating a pictorial preference 
for what one might call a traditional vil- 
lage landscape. The old man in the ear- 
lier Hillside in the Herjnitage, Pontoise, 
his back bent from years of work, is a fig- 
ure who transcends time as he works in 
his kitchen garden. Only the large beige 
facade of the Chateau des Mathurins, 
then owned by Pissarro's friend the radi- 
cal feminist author Marie Desraimes, 
peeks into the landscapes from the upper 
right corner and gives the barest hint of 
modernity to these rural views (see 
above, II). 

65. Camille Pissarro 

The Ennery Road near Pontoise 
(Route d'Ennery pres Pontoise), 1874 

The rue de I'Ermitage ran from the Oise 
until it merged with the road to Ennery, a 
small village about eight kilometers from 
Pontoise. This road was particularly 

beautiful and tranquil because it was a 
secondary route without much traffic 
and because it wound through a pictur- 
esque and forested valley before climbing 
the hill to the plains of the Vexin on 
which Ennery was situated. Pissarro's 
other paintings made on the same road 
in the early and mid-1870s all represent 
the section of the road closest to 
I'Ermitage before the more beautiful, 
forested area began. ^ 

The Ennery Road near Pontoise is 
almost strictly geometrical in concep- 
tion, each angled line balanced by 
another, each plane of color neatly delin- 
eated. Unlike all of Pissarro's other views 
of this road, the parallel construction of 
the painting allows the viewer no 
entrance, and it possesses a quality of 
transitoriness. Yet in spite of Pissarro's 
evident fascination with the transitory — 
and hence modern — quality of this land- 
scape, it is strictly traditional in subject. 
The horse cart is a simple rural wagon of 
a type used in France for several cen- 
turies before this painting was made, and 
the pedestrians are not vacationing 
promenaders, but peasants or rural 
workers coming from and going to the 
fields. The "time" of the painting is slow 
and continuous and has little of the dis- 
connected, random, and nervous quality 
of urban time as expressed in contem- 
porary paintings by Monet, Degas, and 
Manet (see above, III/3). It is interesting 
to note, however, that this road had 
recently been rebuilt and improved, un- 
doubtedly to the design of a government 
engineer from Paris, when Pissarro chose 
to paint it. 

1. Pissarro and Venturi 212, 304, 307, 351, 385, 

66. Camille Pissarro 

Climbing Path in the Hermitage, 


(Le Chemin montant l'hermitage, 

Pontoise), 1875 

Climbing in the Hermitage, Potitoise is 
among the most original and accom- 
plished landscapes by Pissarro. Painted 
from a point midway up a steep footpath 
on the Cote des Boeufs (no. 67), it repre- 
sents the brightly tiled rooftops of the ru- 
ral dwellings in I'Ermitage. Again, as 
was so often the case with Pissarro, the 
painting was executed less than five min- 

utes away from his home, so that he 
could transport it back and forth with 
ease whenever his mood or the con- 
ditions of light and weather permitted. 
Pissarro derived the style and point of 
view of this painting from the slightly 
earlier Auvers landscapes by Cezanne 
(for example, Auvers, Panoramic View 
[no. 69], and seems, in turn, to have had 
a profound influence on Cezanne, who 
turned countless times in his later career 
to the interaction of planes of foliage and 
distant groups of vernacular buildings. 

Traditional dwellings in this region 
of France were made of rough stones and 
roofed with wood or, more frequently, 
thatch. These dwellings, called 
"chaumieres," were painted many times 
by Pissarro and Cezanne; the most fam- 
ous example is the House of the Hanged 
Man (1873-74; Musee du Louvre, 
Paris) by Cezanne. These dwellings, the 
norm for the region even in the early 
nineteenth century, either were being 
replaced or improved in the mid- and 
later 1800s, and in Pissarro's day it was 
becoming increasingly difficult to find a 
concentrated group of authentic, tradi- 
tional rural dwellings. The newer houses 
were covered with smooth white or 
cream-colored stucco, had regularly 
hung doors and windows, and were 
roofed with brightly colored tile. In this 
way they were the opposite of the earth- 
toned and irregular dwellings of the past, 
houses which tended to merge with the 
landscape. The new dwellings domi- 
nated their surroundings both in color 
and shape; their geometric regularity and 
brilliance appealed to three generations 
of French landscape painters. Here, 
Pissarro, as had Cezanne before him, 
chose a viewpoint looking down on the 
strident, seemingly floating planes of the 
tiled roofs, described as "playing cards" 
in a letter Cezanne was to write to the 
older artist from Provence in 1876.^ 


1. Cezanne, 1941, p. 102, no. 34. 

67. Camille Pissarro 

Red Roofs, a Corner of the Village 

IN Winter 

(Les Toits rouges, coin de village, 

EFFET d'hIVEr), 1877 

Painted late in the winter of 1876—77, 
this picture represents a group of eigh- 



No. 61. Camille Pissarro 

The Banks of the Oise, Pontoise, 1872 
(detail on pp. 14-15) 




.^^ '%^. 

(i '.ii- 

" W<k ^ 

No. 62. Camille Pissarro 

The Red House, 1873 



No. 63. Camille Pissarro 




No. 64. Camille Pissarro 

Snow AT THE Hermitage, PoNTOisE, 1874 


No. 65. Camille Pissarro 

The Ennery Road near Pontqise, 1874 
(detail on pp. 14-15) 



teenth-century dwellings at the base of 
the Cote des Boeufs (no. 66) very near 
Pissarro's house. The season is late win- 
ter, almost early spring. The fields are 
bright with winter wheat, traditionally 
planted in December and green in Feb- 
ruary and March, and the fruit trees are 
about to burst into flower. Although old, 
the houses that anchor the center of this 
composition recently had been re-roofed 
in bright tile, the red and red-orange of 
which activates the greens of the compo- 

Although the painting is close in 
palette and subject to many contem- 
porary landscapes painted by Cezanne, it 
is significantly more complex in its 
facture. Pissarro built up the rugged im- 
pasto of the painting on top of an earlier 
portrait, the presence of which has been 
revealed by X rays, and created complex 
scumbled passages which seem almost to 
anticipate the paintings of 1877 and 
1878 made by Monet at the Gate Saint- 
Lazare in Paris (nos. 30—32). 

The title of the painting is fascinat- 
ing — and probably original (see above, I 
and III/5). It indicates that the redness of 
the roofs is the principal motif of the pic- 
ture, alerting us immediately to color as 
a subject. It then informs us that the 
painting represents a corner of an 
unnamed village. This latter point is 
significant because certam Impressionist 
titles, particularly those including the 
words "corner of," "environs of," and 
"near," tell us that the motif as such was 
less important to the artist than the site 
in general. This particular title ends with 
a temporal indicator — a seasonal one — 
thus explaining that the principal inter- 
est of the artist was color, his secondary 
interest site, and his tertiary interest the 
effect of time upon form. 

68. Camilla Pissarro 

Rabbit Warren at Pontoise, Snow 

(La Garenne a Pontoise, effet de 

NEICE), 1879 

During the particularly severe winter of 
1879 (no. 55) Pissarro painted some of 
his most powerful — and original — land- 
scapes. This one, probably painted from 
the window of a house on a small path 
now called the chemin du General Belger, 
is doggedly complex and difficult. There 

is nothing pleasant about the subject; its 
pictorial structure is highly idiosyncratic 
and even unclear; its facture is almost 
messy. Pissarro seems to have reveled in 
the ugliness of winter, and neither space 
nor sunshine gives us relief from what is 
little more than a tangle of vegetation in 
the dirty snow. None of this is made any 
pleasanter by the fact that the painting 
depicts a rabbit warren; the viewer is 
therefore called upon to imagine a group 
of shivering rabbits living together in the 

Yet, for all this, the painting is 
strangely beautiful because it is so richly 
observed. It rewards lengthy examina- 
tion, less because of its theme — one 
would never find such a subject in a rural 
guidebook — than because Pissarro was 
so patient and careful in recording the 
bend of each tree trunk, the precise rises 
and falls of the terrain, and the familiar 
activities of a lone man out gathering 
wood to keep his house warm. The roofs 
and walls of I'Ermitage are visible on the 

69. Paul Cezanne 

AuvERS, Panoramic View 

(AuvERS, VL'E PANORAMIQUe), 1873-75 

Auvers, Panoramic View was painted 
from a small path, the sente de Pontoise, 
which climbs the hillside east of Auvers. 
The path, barely visible in the lower left 
corner of the painting, was used by ag- 
ricultural workers on their way to the 
wheat fields of the Vexin plateau. When 
mounting this path, a number of beau- 
tiful views of the Oise River, its islands, 
the rich alluvial plain along its bank, and 
the monuments of the village itself could 
be enjoyed, and several of these were 
mentioned in the early guide literature. 
Cezanne seems consciously to have cho- 
sen a bland view. Absent are the Oise it- 
self, which stretched and divided just to 
the right of his framed view, and the 
important church at Auvers, painted 
later by Van Gogh and admired in every 
guide to the charming town. This beau- 
tifully preserved building, as well as the 
amusing Second-Empire Mairie, or 
Town Hall, were omitted from all of 
Cezanne's landscapes of Auvers and, 
because of this, his views of that famous 
small town give it the air of a simple vil- 

lage with no history and no evidence of 
"high" civilization. The only building 
which asserts itself within the interlock- 
ing geometries of walls and roofs in 
Auvers, Panoramic View is the large 
house of Cezanne's friend and patron 
Gachet, the first owner of this picture 
(see above, III/5). It rises, a great white 
rectangle, at the left edge of the composi- 
tion, as it does in other of Cezanne's 
many paintings of Auvers. Its placement 
is not dissimilar to that of the house of 
Pissarro's friend Marie Desraimes in his 
village landscapes (nos. 63—64). 

Neither signed nor dated, Auvers, 
Panoramic View is clearly unfinished. 
Certain portions of the foreground, 
particularly the lower left quadrant of 
the picture, are worked in a manner that 
is completely consistent with other 
paintings of the period by Cezanne. The 
remainder of the surface was thinly — 
and sometimes softly — painted in a way 
that has led several recent scholars of 
Cezanne's oeuvre to doubt the painting's 
attribution.' There is no doubt, however, 
that the picture is by him. Its early prov- 
enance, although occasionally problem- 
atic, rules out the possibilitv' of a forgery. 
It was certainly owned by Gachet and 
may have passed through the distin- 
guished collection of Georges Viau 
before being acquired by Alfred Strolin 
and the great dealer Durand-Ruel, who 
sold it to the Chicago collector Mr. Lewis 
Lamed Coburn (see below, IV). Further, 
the painting is too original in conception 
and its finished portions too close to 
autograph works by Cezanne to be as- 
signed to Vignon, Guillaumin, or 
Pissarro. It can be analyzed as a product 
of the young Cezanne's working meth- 
ods precisely because it is variously "fin- 
ished." It is close to Pissarro's paintings 
of 1875, particularly Climbing Path in 
the Hermitage, Pontoise (no. 66) and 
Flowering Garden, Pontoise (Private 
Collection, Paris), thus indicating the 
importance of the relationship between 
Pissarro and his most brilliant student 
during the first half of the 1870s. 

The highly organized, geometrical 
facture of Auvers, Panoramic View is a 
prelude to the systematic, diagonal, 
"constructive" stroke used by Cezanne 
later in the same decade and more or less 
"invented" during the period when he 
worked on this and the superb Auvers, 



No. 66. Camille Pissairo 

Climbing Path in the Hermitage, Pontoise, !87S 



No. 67. Camille Pissarro 

Red Roofs, a Corner of the Village in Winter, 1877 






No. 68. Camiile Pissarro 

Rabbit Warren at Pontoise, Snow, 1879 



Small Houses (1873-74; Fogg Art 

Museum, Cambridge). ^ 


1. Oral communications. 

2. Reff, 1962, pp. 215-217. 

70. Paul Cezanne 

Farmyard at Auvers 

(COUR DE FERME A AuVERs), C. 1879-80 

Farmyard at Auvers is among the group 
of superb village and field landscapes 
painted during Cezanne's second cam- 
paign in Auvers and Pontoise between 
1879 and early 1882 (his first havmg 
been between 1874 and 1877). It repre- 
sents a farmyard, probably not in Auvers 
despite its title, but in Pontoise, where 
Cezanne then lived. Pissarro painted sev- 
eral similar farmyards in the middle 
1870s; Farmyard at Montfoucault and 
Farmyard at Pontoise (both locations 
unknown) are perhaps the closest in sub- 
ject. However, the contrast between 
Cezanne's farmyard and those painted 
by Pissarro is extreme. Where the older 
artist was fascinated with the "life" of 
these outdoor spaces and populated 
them with peasants and their chickens, 
geese, and goats, Cezanne studied the 
relationship between architecture and 
vegetation as if the farm was abandoned, 
and his paintings have an abstract, for- 
mal gravity almost at odds with their 
subject as it had been painted tradi- 

Farmyard at Auvers is a landscape 
abounding in walls and barriers. A wall 
at the right functions as a dramatic 
repoussoir, almost becoming a stripe of 
creamy plaster on the picture surface. 
One proceeds back — step by step, plane 
by plane — until one reaches the ultimate 
barrier, a simple farm building, its door 
and window shut and shuttered, respec- 
tively. In front of it is a defoliated tree, 
whose contours are lovingly sculpted in 
paint and whose shadow plays across the 
facade and roof of the building. A 
thatched structure, perhaps the entrance 
to the farmyard, is wedged into the 
remaining space, completely blocking 
the viewer's path into the landscape 
beyond. The gentle, wooded hillside, 
painted with a series of disconnected, 
hatched lines, seems to shift and tremble 
behind the terrible solidity of the 

The painting has an atmosphere of 
death, desertion, and even suspicion. 
One feels almost afraid of what or who 
will emerge from behind the walls in the 
foreground; every exit from the barn- 
yard is closed. How grateful we would be 
for one of Pissarro's lively chickens or a 
child playing on the packed earth of the 
farmyard floor! How far we have come 
from the most famous barnyards painted 
by a Frenchman, those by Francois 
Boucher. In fact, it is instructive to con- 
trast Cezanne's desolate barnyard with a 
description — hypothetical though it 
is — of Boucher's barnyards written by 
Cezanne's contemporaries the Goncourt 

And to increase further the CONFUSION 
of his [Boucher's] landscapes, to give them 
more life, more disorder, more bewildering 
animation, flocks of birds were flung into 
the skies, while below the hens were squab- 
bling, the dogs barking, the children run- 
ning around the yard where their feet slip 
on the grain; and on the roads, he launches 
convoys of animals into the dust....' 


1. Goncourt and Goncourt, 1971, p. 69. 

71. Paul Cezanne 

The Poplars 

(LeS PeUI'LIERS), C. 1879-82 

The Poplars was probably painted just 
outside the park of the Chateau des 
Marcouvilles in the hamlet of Les Patis. 
Pissarro had worked in the region in the 
early and middle 1870s (no. 53), paint- 
ing one landscape in the park itself, and 
Cezanne made several important land- 
scapes there during his second campaign 
in that region.' Here, he concentrated on 
a large group of trees which ran along 
the Viosne River. His "problem" was to 
make this completely vegetative land- 
scape formally legible, and he chose to 
contrast the strictly linear, even martial 
rhythms of the poplars with the informal 
clumping of the other trees. He allowed 
himself few, if any, distractions from the 
foliage. The field is uninteresting, the 
wall, scarcely distinguished, and the 
landscape at the left, summary. There are 
no figures working in the fields or 
peering at us from the park. Clearly Ce- 
zanne was intent on solving a particu- 
larly difficult pictorial problem for the 

landscape painter — the rendering of a 
view whose only subject is foliage. 

The precedents for this painting lie 
in works by Pissarro, and there are sev- 
eral landscapes by the older master, 
mostly from the late 1860s and early 
1870s, that must have been familiar to 
Cezanne. Perhaps the chief characteristic 
of the landscape that links it to Pissarro 
is the distance between the painter and 
the plane of foliage. Cezanne preferred 
to immerse himself in a forested land- 
scape and to let the trunks of the trees 
play an important sculptural role in the 
composition. When viewed from a dis- 
tance, however, foliage must be treated in 
other ways. Cezanne turned to a specific 
painting by Pissarro, painted at least five 
years earlier from roughly the same spot, 
as his model in this case. The difference 
between these foliated landscapes and 
the then-famous wooded landscapes by 
the Barbizon school should be men- 
tioned here (fig. 12). Pissarro's and 
Cezanne's focus was planted trees — 
rather than "natural" ones — which 
formed part of compositions in which 
the intentions of man, rather than the 
wild will of nature, organized the land- 


l.Venturi 319, 323-324. 

72. Paul Cezanne 

Bend in the Road 

(La Route tournante), 1879-82 

Bend in the Road is among the very 
greatest landscapes from Cezanne's sec- 
ond period in Pontoise and Auvers. Its 
first owner was no less a connoisseur 
than Monet, and the painting was a star 
in the great private collection of John T. 
Spaulding in Boston. The site chosen by 
Cezanne has always eluded identifica- 
tion, but there is little doubt that Bend in 
the Road was painted in the village of 
Valhermay, situated in the hills along the 
Oise nearly halfway between Pontoise 
and Auvers. Pissarro painted many land- 
scapes in this and the neighboring village 
of Chaponval during the same years,' 
and the picturesque assembly of tradi- 
tional rural dwellings along a naturally 
curved, unpaved path appealed to the 
sensibilities of both artists. Indeed, in the 



No. 69. Paul Cezanne 

AuvERs, Panoramic View, 1873-75 
(detail on p. 174) 



No. 70. Paul Cezanne 

Farmyard at Auvers, c. 1 879 - 80 



No. 71. Paul Cezanne 
The Poplars, c. 1879-82 



No. 72. Paul Cezanne 
Bend in the Road, 1S79- 



No. 73. Paul Cezanne 

The Bridge at MArNO-, near Melun, c. 1879-80 



early 1880s their preference for sites was 
distinctly anti-modern, and neither artist 
painted factories, river-scapes, the 
railroad, or newly constructed country 
residences during those years (see above, 

No matter how much Cezanne 
learned from Pissarro, it was not from 
the Pissarro of the late 1870s and early 
1880s, but from the Pissarro of 1866- 
68. When the latter painted in Val- 
hermay and Chaponval, he treated the 
villages as part of what might be called a 
social or, at the very least, an inhabited 
landscape. Figures move back and forth 
on its paths and roads; young women 
tend cattle in the fields or weed in the 
kitchen gardens next to their small 
houses. None of this is true of Cezanne's 
landscapes made at the same time in the 
same villages. One never sees an inhabi- 
tant; smoke never comes from a chim- 
ney; animals never rustle in the barn- 
yards. One thinks of the earlier deserted 
villages pamted by Daubigny and Sisley. 

Bend in the Road, like so many of 
Cezanne's landscapes, at first entices the 
viewer into its cool depths and then de- 
nies him access to the landscape. The 
road swoops generously into the paint- 
ing, but bends behind a tree and seem- 
ingly disappears. The houses have virtu- 
ally no windows or doors, and those 
openings that are present are — as 
always — closed, featureless rectangles. 
The viewer stands outside the village, 
which refuses him admission, and he can 
imagine no intercourse with its inhabi- 
tants. Indeed, the social — and psy- 
chological — detachment of this land- 
scape is its most important characteris- 
tic — and its greatest paradox. The 
viewer is asked to marvel at a beautiful, 
forgotten, anonymous place, which hud- 
dles like a Japanese village behmd a deli- 
cate screen of trees (see above, II). Yet he 
is completely isolated from its inhabi- 
tants, a human viewer of a village with 
no humans. 

It may not be irrelevant to mention 
that the villages of Chaponval and 
Valhermay were ravaged by arson- 
caused fire in 1879, and that news of the 
tragic conflagrations was reported even 
in Paris.- It is perhaps because of the 
tragedy surrounding these events that 
both Cezanne and Pissarro turned their 

attentions to those fragile and pictur- 
esque hamlets, representing not the 
charred ruins described eloquently in the 
newspaper accounts, but the beauties 
which had been threatened by this ter- 
rifying rural crime. 


1. See especialiv Pissarro and Venturi 506, 511— 

2. La Presse illustree, no. 62, Oct. 12, 1879. 

73. Paul Cezanne 

The Bridge at Maincy, near Melun 
(Le Pont de Maincy), c. 1879-80 

Although it was not painted in the land- 
scape in and around Auvers and Pon- 
toise, this paintmg by Cezanne owes a 
great deal to his experience in that area. 
It can be compared in structure and pal- 
ette to Pissarro's major painting of 1875, 
The Little Bridge, Pontoise (Stadtische 
Kunsthalle Mannheim), painted in the 
park of the Chateau des Marcouvilles, 
where Cezanne was also to work (no. 
71). There is a slightly later drawing by 
Pissarro^ which also explores many of 
the same pictorial problems as those 
studied by Cezanne in this brilliantly 
structured landscape. His balance of 
mass and space, of form and reflection, is 
both powerful and subtle, and he used a 
forthright, rigorous facture of diagonal 
hatchings derived in part from the 
graphic arts and, perhaps most directly, 
from early drawings made by Pissarro in 
South America and the Virgin Islands. 
Comparisons with Wooded Landscape 
in St. Thomas (1853; Ashmolean 
Museum of Art and Archaeology, Ox- 
ford), which remained in Pissarro's 
possession until his death, makes it clear 
that the older artist had achieved an 
exactly comparable organization of sur- 
face marks m these early drawings. 

The Bridge at Maincy, near Mehm, 
like most landscapes by Cezanne, has a 
single, clearly identifiable subject. Unlike 
Pissarro, who preferred to paint highly 
complex groups of forms with titles that 
stress their location in a real landscape, 
Cezanne was less interested in topo- 
graphical matters and preferred to con- 
centrate his attention on isolated, 
particularly powerful subjects. Bridge, 
barnyard, village panorama, winding 
road, mill, tree — all these subjects tran- 

scend the particularities of place and 
seem more "philosophical" than "topo- 
graphical." In fact, Cezanne's de-em- 
phasis of site in his landscapes is clear 
proof that, no matter how much he 
painted out-of-doors, his interests lay 
firmly in the visual rhythms of land- 
scape. The deep and associative power of 
certain generalized subjects was of great 
significance to him; this representation 
of an old bridge over a quiet river must 
be contrasted in every way with earlier 
and contemporary representations of 
foot- and railroad bridges by the other 
Impressionists (nos. 29—30). Here, the 
woods are deep and cool. No figures 
come and go, and we are alone in what 
seems almost to be a timeless place. 

Maincy is a small village just east of 
Melun in Brie and directly adjacent to 
the great seventeenth-century gardens of 
Vaux-le-Vicomte designed by Le Notre. 
Cezanne, in painting Maincy, chose to 
represent a wood and stone bridge 
connecting the mills in the hamlet of 
Trois-Moulin with Maincy itself. The 
river is the Almont, which provides 
water for Le Notre's canals and foun- 
tains at Vaux-le-Vicomte and flows into 
the Seine at Melun. Comparison with a 
photograph of the bridge and mills- indi- 
cates that Cezanne chose to screen the 
mill buildings immediately to the left of 
the bridge and to de-emphasize the fact 
that the Almont flowed rapidly at that 
point, to make it appear more calm and 


1. Brettell and Lloyd, 1980, no. 171c. 

2. Reidemeister, 1963, p. 34. 

74. Paul Gauguin 

The Market Gardens at Vaugirard 

{Les Maraichers de Vaugirard), 
c. 1879 

This large, highly finished, and ambi- 
tious early landscape by Gauguin was 
first recognized by Wildenstein as Les 
Maraichers de Vaugirard, which 
Gauguin had exhibited in the fifth 
Impressionist exhibition in 1880. Before 
publication of the 1964 catalogue 
raisonne, the painting was called simply 
Parisian Suburb. Vaugirard, then as now 
part of the city of Paris, lies south of the 
Seine and consisted, in the nineteenth 



No. 74. Paul Gauguin 

The Market Gardens at VAUcrRARD, c 



No. 75. Paul Gauguin 

The Church at Pont-Aven, 1886 



No. 76. Paul Gauguin 

The FrELD or Derout-Lollicho.v, 1886 



century, of a series of long streets, behind 
which were large kitchen gardens. 
Gauguin, still a prosperous financier, 
lived there with his Danish wife and two 
children; this painting was made from a 
window in an upper story of their large 

What is interesting about this land- 
scape is its closeness to earlier and 
contemporary paintings by Pissarro and 
Cezanne and the extent to which their 
village landscapes affected the way the 
young Gauguin perceived and organized 
a landscape within the confines of the 
city of Paris itself (see above, III/3). The 
arrangement of the composition in par- 
allel planes occurs frequently in the vil- 
lage landscapes by Pissarro and Cezanne 
(nos. 62, 65), and the alternating bands 
of architecture and foliage also have 
precedents in their work. It is in the 
unpeopled village landscapes by Ce- 
zanne, in fact, that one sees the strongest 
source of influence on the younger 
Gauguin. There is no real entrance into 
The Market Gardens at Vattgirard, and it 
was painted with the short, diagonal 
strokes of paint common in Cezanne's 
landscapes of the late 1870s (no. 73). 
Gauguin's painting has an unusually 
brilliant palette for a work of his of the 
late 1870s, and its facture is also more 
tightly ordered than was generally the 
rule during that period. While it is there- 
fore possible that the picture was worked 
on considerably later than 1879, perhaps 
during the mid-1 880s, it is also possible 
that at the time Gauguin was submitting 
himself rigorously to the influence of Ce- 
zanne, an influence which was soon sub- 
sumed by that of Pissarro. 

75—76. Paul Gauguin 

The Church at Pont-Aven 

(Le Champ Derout-Lollichon [i]), 


The Field of Derout-Lollichon 

(Le Champ Derout-Lollichon [ii]), 


These two paintings were made in the 
Breton village of Pont-Aven shortly after 
Gauguin's first visit to that fabled place 
in 1886. They have been included in this 
section for two reasons. First, they are 

utterly dependent in st\'le and composi- 
tion on precedents m the oeuvres of Ce- 
zanne and his and Gauguin's teacher, 
Pissarro. Second, they were made prior 
to Gauguin's first transatlantic trip to 
Panama and Martinique, after which he 
severed his stylistic ties to Impres- 

The motif chosen here by Gauguin 
was a group of thatched farm buildings 
just on the edge of Pont-Aven. One of 
these paintings. The Field of Derout- 
Lollichon, was exhibited at Boussod et 
Valadon in January 1888, and its title 
presumably derives from Gauguin him- 
self. The other painting was originally 
entitled L'Eglise de Pont-Aven by 
Gauguin when it was given to M. Eugene 
Mirtil in payment for the painter's debts 
(it was given the title Le Champ Derout- 
Lollichon [I] by Wildenstein). 

In The Church at Pont-Aven the 
farm buildings are placed exactly in the 
center of the canvas in front of the 
church spire. A woman with her cattle 
occupies the field. In its almost naive 
combination of peasant, dwelling, 
church, and landscape, the picture is a 
kind of summation of rural life in a 
remote village. The woman tends her 
cattle, presides over her home, and, by 
implication, goes to church. The round 
of work and worship so important in 
remote peasant societies is completely 
captured. It goes without saying that 
Pissarro, whose anti-clericalism was in- 
tense, would never have painted such a 
landscape. The Field of Derout- 
Lollichon is more adventurous in com- 
position, balancing the planar wall of the 
farm buildings with a great mass of fo- 
liage. It is particularly close in organiza- 
tion and facture to the Pontoise and 
Auvers paintings of Cezanne and to cer- 
tain landscapes painted by Pissarro in the 

Both paintings are interesting 
because they treat the village of Pont- 
Aven as if it hardly differed from Auvers, 
Chaponval, or Valhermay. There are no 
allusions to the presence of the sea, and, 
in each, the landscape is verdant and 
rich, far from the bleak and desolate 
Breton countryside around Pont-Aven 
described by so many nineteenth-century 

visitors to that place. Indeed in the mid- 
1880s Gauguin took with him to Brit- 
tany a language of rural landscape 
worked out for another site, and it was 
not until his return in 1888 that he was 
able to give himself over to the native 
Breton bleakness, desolation, and 


1. Pissarro and Venturi 272, 302. 

77. Armand Guillaumin 

Environs of P.\ris 
(Enviroxs de Paris), c. 1890 

In spite of the fact that Guillaumin, a 
major artist of the Pontoise school, has 
been the subject of two recent cata- 
logues,' he remains a more or less mys- 
terious figure in French painting of the 
1870s. His landscapes were included in 
most of the Impressionist exhibitions; he 
was a charter member of the group; and 
he maintained a particularly close 
friendship with Pissarro. It is fair to say 
that Guillaumin's pictorial relationship 
with the older master was the strongest 
of his lifetime. We do not know the exact 
dates of his visits to Pontoise, but they 
were undoubtedly numerous. We do 
know that he never lived there or in the 
environs, nor did he stay with the 
Pissarro family. 

This painting has never been dated 
or titled with any precision. Its high- 
keyed palette suggests that it was ex- 
ecuted closer to 1890 than to the 1870s 
when the school of Pontoise was at its 
height. Yet in facture, composition, and 
imagery it harks back to the paintings of 
Pissarro made in the mid-1870s.- It is 
likely that Environs of Paris was painted 
near Pontoise — both the slope of the 
hillsides and the character of the archi- 
tecture suggest a location near Valher- 
may or Chaponval — but there are no di- 
rectly comparable compositions by 
Pissarro, Cezanne, Gauguin, 'Vignon, or 
any of the other artists in the Pontoise 


1. See Serret and Fabiani, 1971; also Gray, 1972. 

2. Compare Pissarro and Venturi 262, 297. 



No. 77. Armand Guillaumin 
Environs of Paris, c. 1890 







'I .^ 




Private and Public Gardens 

IF THE Impressionists meandered along the Seine and its tributaries, 
walked the roads and paths of France, and followed the tourists by 
means of the railroad network, they also relaxed in private gardens and 
public parks throughout Paris and her suburbs. Their "garden- 
scapes" — painted from Pontoise to Argenteuil — are so familiar to us today 
and so much a part of our own collective taste that we can easily forget the 
newness of their imagery at the time. Impressionism celebrated the conquest 
of the open air — indeed, of nature — by the middle classes, and the revolu- 
tions in small-scale private gardening and public parks that transformed 
industrializing Europe and America during the nineteenth century were cen- 
tral to the Impressionist aesthetic. Antoine Watteau, Jean-Honore Frago- 
nard, and Hubert Robert painted the French aristocratic garden during the 
eighteenth century. Manet, Pissarro, Berthe Morisot, Caillebotte, and Monet 
recorded the bourgeois garden and the public park in their first flowerings. 
To understand these paintings, one must consider them within the formidable 
context of articles, books, manuals, and magazines about horticulture pub- 
lished in France throughout the 1800s. 

In the nineteenth century horticulture was considered to be an art as 
well as a science. In his Entretiens familiers sur I'horticulture (1860), Elie- 
Abel Carriere defined the term by means of the following dialogue: 

Question: What is horticulture? 

Answer: The art or means of making the best of any piece of land, be it from the 

standpoint of ornamentation or produce. 

Question: What does the word horticulture mean? 

Answer: It literally means "the cultivation of gardens" and comes from the Latin 

word hortus, meaning "garden," and the French word culture.... Wtnct also the 

word horticulturist or gardener, which we give to those who exercise the 



Question: Apart from agriculture and silviculture, has horticulture other points of 

contact with the sciences, or is it independent of them? 

Answer: It most certainly has. Horticulture itself, together with the sciences we 

have just mentioned (agriculture and silviculture), is but a part, a member of the 

great corpus of knowledge we designate by the name of NATURAL 

SCIENCES. ...But the science with which horticulture has the closest links is 


Question: What is botany? 

Answer: It is that part of natural history which concentrates exclusively on the 

study of plants.' 

A spate of courses and lectures on horticulture was published at this time, 
including: Alexandre Poiteau, Cours d' horticulture (1847); Cours elemen- 
taire d'horticulture a I'usage des ecoles primaires (edited from the notes of M. 
Boncenne by Sauvaget, 1859—60); Felix Boncenne, Cours elementaire 
d'horticulture (1861); Jules Bidault, L' Horticulture des ecoles primaires 
(1864); H. Billiard, L' Horticulture des ecoles primaires. Legumes, fruits et 
fleurs de pleine terre (second edition, 1872); and Pierre Joigneaux, Con- 
ferences sur le jardinage et la culture des arbres fruitiers (1865). The "Exposi- 
tion Universelle" of 1889 featured a lecture series, published the following 
year, on the recent development of French horticulture: L' Horticulture 
franqaise, ses progres et ses conquetes depuis 1 789, by Charles Baltet. Among 
the numerous manuals, dictionaries, treatises, and guides devoted to the sub- 
ject we might mention L'Art de cultiver les jardins, ou Nouveau manuel 
complet des jardiniers, par un jardinier agronome (new edition by M. Bossin, 
1852); Charles de Bussy, Dictionnaire usuel et pratique d'agriculture et 
d'horticulture (1863); H. Spruyt, Traite elementaire d' arboriculture, 
d'agriculture et d'horticulture (1883); and Edouard Hocquart, Guide du 
parfait jardinier-fleuriste, indiquant la culture de plus de sept cents especes de 
plantes, arbres et arbustes d'ornement (1873). There were also various kinds 
of almanacs and other periodicals, including L'Almanach du jardinier (in its 
thirty-second year in 1875); L'Almanach du jardinier fleuriste et potager (in 
its nineteenth year in 1873); and Le journal de vulgarisation de I'horticul- 
ture, a monthly compendium established in 1877. 

The inaugural issue (March 5, 1887) of Le Jardin. Journal d'horticul- 
ture generale, a journal originating in Argenteuil, the town which had seen 
the early blossoming of Impressionism (see above, II1/4), opens with the fol- 
lowing message: 

To Our Readers 

In no other era have flowers and plants been so widely appreciated: they preside at 
all our ceremonies, take part in all our festivities; their use has increased a 
hundredfold in 20 years, and their mass cultivation has become a source of revenue 
for many regions formerly in dire straits. Perhaps this infatuation, though perfectly 
natural, is merely a passing fancy.. ..But we have resolved to encourage a love for 
plants as such. ...To give a multitude of facts, to answer all questions pertaining to 
our program, to conceal the difficulties of our art behind a pleasant facade, to do 
everything possible to help our fellow horticulturists, to guide them, urge them to 
keep us abreast of their discoveries, facilitate the task of presenting them to the 
public by giving them the full benefit of our public forum, in sum, to sacrifice our 
personal mterest whenever the interest of our public is at stake — such are the prin- 
ciples of our publication. 

The amateur gardening craze gave rise to the garden tour. Owners would 
show visitors around their properties with great pride and pleasure. Some 



Fig. 49. Manet, The House at Rueil, 1882. 
Oil on canvas. 73 x 92 cm. Nationalgalene, 
Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, 
Berlin. Photo: Jorg P. Anders. 

even wrote books about them, books like Voyage autour de mon jardin, 
botanique amusante et usuelle (1883) by Henri Van Looy, or Autour de mon 
jardin (1888) by Eugene de Duren. When we imagine the Impressionists 
standing at their easels in the vicinity of Paris, we must imagine them in this 
cultural context. 

Gardens were considered to fall into several "families." Vegetable gar- 
dens and fruit orchards constituted the family of utility gardens and were 
dominated by the notions of fertility or fecundity. In the 1887 issue of Le 
Jardin. Journal d' horticulture generale already mentioned, Eugene Noel 
pointed to their prohferation in the region of Normandy: 

Fifty years ago nearly all farms limited their vegetable gardens to narrow plots, 
which were more often than not poorly cultivated, poorly kept up. Today farmers 
maintain gardens which are clean and properly cared for, rich in choice vegetables 
and strong, healthy fruit trees; moreover, the majority of their buildings and walls 
are covered with fruit trellises. Nor will you find these pretty little gardens, these 
orchards, these espaliers only among the well-to-do; you will find them among the 
poorest of farmers as well. ...The people who cultivate these gardens gain much 
more than a bit of extra food: they find a path to greater knowledge, to an appreci- 
ation of beauty; they find morality. A certain rich industrialist never took on a new 
hand for one of his workshops without asking, "Have you a garden?" The worker 
who answered in the negative was rarely hired....Indeed, this phenomenon will be 
remembered in our countryside as one of the characteristics of the nineteenth 

Unlike these utility gardens, pleasure gardens (fig. 49) afforded views of 
flower bed after flower bed. For this reason they were also called "florist 
gardens" or "ornamental gardens." They were laid out with purely aesthetic 
ends in mind. Mixed gardens were sometimes planted. "To combine the use- 
ful with the agreeable is, in all things, to increase the sum of one's delights," 



Fig. 50. Monet, '^omen in the Garden, 

c. 1866-67. Oil on canvas. 256 x 

208 cm. Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de 

Paume, Paris. Photo: Musees Nationaux. 

Moleri reminded readers of his Vetxts jardins,- therefore recommending a 
mixture of garden genres (as practiced today at the Chateau de Miromesnil 
near Dieppe, the putative birthplace of Maupassant). During the 1 890s, how- 
ever, G. Boyer took the opposite position in his "Jardin" entry for La Grande 

Nearly everywhere gardens are called upon to produce vegetables, ornamental 
plants, and fruit trees simultaneously. They are enclosed by walls lined with fruit 
shrubs on trellises and surrounded in turn by flower beds and paths. In the center 
of the garden there are one or several squares separated by paths and divided into 
plots for vegetables; along their perimeter run various fruit trees in the form of 
strings, candelabras, or distaffs. ...And paths all around, paths bordered with flow- 
ers, with parsley, with chervil and sorrel. ...Such an arrangement suits most people; 
they believe it makes the best use of the land. In fact, however, mixing cultures 
impedes success and infringes on the ornamental effect. It is thus advisable to keep 
different categories of garden plants separate from one another.^ 



Indoor hothouse gardens, or conservatories, were also popular. "The 
garden is like a fragrant entrance hall, the perfumed antichamber of the 
house. It is also its pantry," wrote Fulbert Dumonteil in Le Jardin. Journal 
d'horticulture generale in 1887. "Finally, the conservatory rises before us," 
he continued in his ornate style, 

a temple of flowers, a palace of plants. Here it is summer in winter, spring in 
December, the south in the north, the tropics, the equator beneath our cold Eu- 
ropean sky. Its flowers are rare, aristocratic, titled, so to speak: they come from the 
lands of the sun, from the scented shores of the Pacific or the Indian Ocean. 

Some houses, like Baron de Rothschild's Chateau de Ferrieres, had an or- 
angery as well."* Other categories of gardens prevalent at the time included 
public gardens, which were numerous in Paris (see above, III/3), and botani- 
cal gardens, which were for research only. 

France has had her "garden painters" like Fragonard and Robert, the 
latter having earned the title "Dessinateur du jardin du roi."'' But as Louis 
Vauxcelles has pointed out, "in the nineteenth century we can boast no paint- 
ers specializing in gardens, though nearly all of them, at a given point in their 
careers, painted their garden, the garden of a friend or teacher."^ As a result 
of the influence of the Barbizon school, which had itself turned for inspira- 
tion to the English landscapists, French painters in the later nineteenth cen- 
tury became more sensitive to nature and the passing of the seasons. Pissarro, 
Monet, and Sisley, for example, all depicted the gaiety of orchards in spring 
blossom (nos. 98 — 100). However, the Impressionists were mainly attracted 
by pleasure gardens: Bazille on the flower-drenched terrace at Meric (no. 79); 
Pissarro at Pontoise (no. 85) and Eragny; Morisot at Bougival during the 
summers of 1881 and 1882 while Manet was at Versailles and Rueil; Renoir 
at the Collettes in Cagnes, and above all Caillebotte and Monet, both of 
whom returned often to the subject throughout their careers. Monet under- 
took Women in the Garden (fig. 50), a major composition, as early as 1866— 
67. The garden at Sevres as he shows it was typical of its day. In Flowering 
Garden (1866; Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris) and Terrace 
at Sainte-Adresse (no. 5) the decorative value of the rose trees is self-evident; 
gardening treatises of the 1850s listed endless varieties of these. ^ 

The gardens of the two houses Monet lived in at Argenteuil (nos. 80- 
83) belonged more to the urban world. As Paul Tucker has observed,^ the 
Parisians who spent their weekends and holidays in nearby country houses 
recreated a disciplined landscape in keeping with their urban vision. Monet, 
commissioned in 1876 to decorate the grand salon of the Chateau de 
Rottembourg (at Montgeron in the south of Paris) by its owner, Ernest 
Hoschede (whose wife Monet was later to marry [see below, III/8]), painted 
four large panels, with great virtuosity, of various views of the garden. These 
included a grassy expanse in The Turkeys (fig. 51); banks of dahlias and roses 
in bloom and the reflections of trees in the water in Corner of the Garden and 
The Pond at Montgeron (The Hermitage, Leningrad); and a luminous stretch 
of underbrush illustrating one of the favorite pastimes of the chateau in The 
Hunt (Private Collection).'' Later, Monet would not leave Vetheuil without a 
picture of the place where he had lived for three years. Of the four versions of 
Garden at Vetheuil, the one in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, 
D.C., dated 1880 but painted in 1881, is the most monumental and fully 
realized. And finally, in 1883 (as we shall see) Monet discovered Giverny 
(nos. 91-93). 

Fig. 51. Monet, The Turkeys, 1876. Oil on 
canvas. 172 x 175 cm. Musee d'Orsay, 
Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris. Photo: 
Musees Nationaux. 



Not far from Montgeron, in Yerres, Caillebotte captured the image of 
his family's country residence on several canvases during the summers 
preceding the sale of the house: Portraits in the Country (1876; Musee Baron 
Gerard, Bayeux); Family Reunion (1867; Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de 
Paume, Paris), executed in the manner of the young Bazille at Meric; and 
Orange Trees — Zoe and Martial in the Garden at Yerres (1878; Collection of 
John A. and Audrey Jones Beck, Houston). From the Yerres garden to Roses, 
Garden at Petit-Gennevilliers (no. 87), Caillebotte's art evolved in the direc- 
tion of a greater freedom, a spontaneity similar to that of his friend Monet.i° 

Pleasure gardens were an important motif in the literature of the 
Impressionists' time just as they were in art. Zola described his childhood 
memories of the Gallice estate, west of Aix-en-Provence, with a fantastic twist 
in one of the Rougon-Macquart novels: "A glowing gap appeared in the 
black of the wall. It was like the vision of a virgin forest, a vast yet hidden 
stand of timber beneath a flood of sunlight."" The "Flower Maiden" 
temptresses created by Wagner for the garden of Klingsor in the second act of 
Parsifal, which had its premiere in 1882, reappeared in the title Proust gave to 
the second part of A la recherche du temps perdu: A I'ombre des jeunes filles 
en fleurs. (The standard English translation of the title, Within a Budding 
Grove, partly obscures the connection.) In his biography of Proust, George D. 
Painter paid careful attention to the role of gardens in the genesis of this 
novel. "Proust's Edens," he wrote, "were the gardens of Auteuil and lUiers, 
which later became the gardens of Combray. He saw them only at holiday 
times and afterwards forfeited them eternally through the original sin of 
asthma; but if he had never lost them, they would never have become 
Paradise." '- 

Indoor gardens also appear in literature, for example, in Zola's novel 
La Curee, which contains a detailed description of the conservatory in the 
townhouse of his hero, Aristide Rougon-Saccard: 

The conservatory, like the nave in a church, its slender iron columns rising up to 
support the glass arched roof, displayed a variety of lush vegetation, mighty lay- 
ered leaves, luxuriant sprays of verdure. In the center, in an oval basin....the 
aquatic flora of the lands of the sun lived out their mysterious, blue-green 
lives.. ..And floating in the sultry, stagnant, gently heated bath, water lilies opened 
their pink stars." 

In 1867 the Goncourt brothers reported in their Journal on the well-known 
salon of the Princess Mathilde. "These conservatory-salons are an entirely 
new luxury," they noted, 

the taste for which goes back perhaps to Mile, de Cardoville in Sue, who aston- 
ished all of Paris at the time. The Princess, with her somewhat barbaric taste, has 
furnished the conservatory, which encircles the house, by mingling scattered arti- 
cles of furniture of every possible country, every possible period, every possible 
color, and every possible shape with the most beautiful exotic plants. It creates the 
bizarre impression of a display of bric-a-brac in a virgin forest. 

A few months later the Goncourts referred to the conservatory of La PaiVa as 

Indoor gardens were often associated with a feminine presence (Renee 
Saccard in Zola's novel, Odette de Crecy in Proust's). In fact, women wrote 
many of the treatises associated with indoor gardens, works like Le Jardinier 
des fenetres, des appartements et des petits jardins (fourth edition, 1854) by 
Mme. Millet-Robinet, or Le jardinier des datnes, ou I' Art de cultiver les 
plantes d'appartement dans les salons, sur les balcons. ...{1S75) by Celine 



Fig. 52. Manet, In the Greenhouse, 1879. Oil 
on canvas. 115 x 150 cm. Nationalgalerie, 
Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, 
Berlin. Photo: Jorg P. Anders. 

Fleuriot. In these interior gardens more than elsewhere, the influence of the 
Orient was pervasive. In addition to orchids (about which Comte Franqois du 
Buysson published a book-length appreciation entitled L'Orchidophile, traite 
sur la culture des orchidees [1878]), chrysanthemums were very much the 
fashion in France. "This plant," we read in a contemporary gardening 

raised by the Chinese to a rare degree of perfection, has become all the rage in 
Europe ever since horticulturists have taken to sowing its seeds and developing 
varieties with a wide range of hues. No plant currently in fashion is easier to care 
for.. ..Less sensitive to early cold spells than the dahlia, it will outlive it in the 
flower bed and disappear only with hard frost. It is advisable, therefore, to take a 
certain number of cuttings from them and plant them in pots, where they will serve 
to brighten your conservatory and fill your winter jardinieres.'^ 

In A la recherche du temps perdu Odette de Crecy's flat contained 

...a rectangular box in which, as in a conservatory, there bloomed a row of 
chrysanthemums, large for their time but not nearly the size of the ones 
horticulturists later succeeded in producing. Swann was annoyed by the vogue 
they had enjoyed for the past year, but he was glad, this once, to find the half-light 
in the room striped with pink, orange, and white by the fragrant rays of those 
fleeting stars that flare up on gray days.'* 

The motif of the indoor garden also appeared in art; at the Salon of 1879 
Manet exhibited In the Greenhouse (fig. 52), a painting showing a couple, 
friends of the artist, in the winter garden of a studio Manet had sublet from a 
Swedish painter at 70, rue d'Amsterdam. He also painted his wife there in 
Mme. Manet in the Greenhouse (1879; Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo). 

If the pleasure gardens of Argenteuil represented the city intruding on 
the countryside, then the Parisian public gardens represented the opposite 



Fig. 53. Pissarro, The Jardin des Tuileries, 

1900. Oil on canvas. 73 x 92 cm. Glasgow 

Art Gallery and Museum. Photo: Glasgow 

Art Gallery and Museum. 

phenomenon: the countryside sHpping into the capital (see above, III/3). Fol- 
lowing in the footsteps of Napoleon I, Napoleon III (with the help of 
Alphand)'''laid out a network ol promenades, or public walks, in the work- 
ing-class districts of Buttes-Chaumont and Montsouris as well as in residen- 
tial areas like the Bois de Boulogne and the Pare Monceau. Zola's La Cures 
opens on "an autumn afternoon" in the Bois de Boulogne, a meeting place for 
elegant Parisiennes and one which Proust invoked as well. Berthe Morisot, 
who lived nearby on the rue de Villejust, often set up her easel there. Another 
promenade especially popular during the Second Empire, the Pare Monceau, 
the "land of illusion" designed by Louis Carmontelle between 1773 and 
1778, is also described in La Curee. The townhouse of Aristide and Renee 
Saccard in the novel overlooks that "indispensable flowerbed of the new 
Paris."'** Its picturesque qualities attracted Monet in 1876 and 1878, and 
Caillebotte did two contemporary views as well.''^ 

Renoir, Monet, and Zola all depicted the public garden located in the 
heart of the capital and known for its important place in social rounds: the 
Tuileries (no. 84). Redesigned by Charles Percier and Pierre-Francois 
Fontaine in the early nineteenth century, it remained, during the Second Em- 
pire, an important center of social life (fig. 52>). As a Guide des promenades 
published in 1855 has it, 

The Tuileries is the promenade of Paris just as the Jardin du Luxembourg is the 
promenade of the Latin Quarter and the Jardin des Plantes the haven of the provin- 
cial. The Tuileries no longer attracts one particular type, one group of the popula- 
tion. It is a hodgepodge of childhood and maturity, merchant and artist, officer 
and civil servant, the Faubourg Saint-Honore and the Chaussee-d'Antin, the 
Marais and the Faubourg Saint-Germain. People converse in hushed tones as at a 
salon; they come dressed to mix with society; they make their social calls, read 
their newspapers, and in general behave like members of a large and highly proper 
circle to which men and women are admitted only on condition that they conform 
to rules of the strictest decorum. One no longer sees — as one does at the Jardin du 



Luxembourg — the type of child whose bruised knees and tattered blue tunic be- 
token spirited play rather than concern for the sartorial. ...The Tuileries is the true 
garden of Paris. -'^ 

Like the garden of the Champs-Elysees, then, where Proust liked to meet Ma- 
rie de Benardaky (the inspiration for Gilberte Swann) and her friends for a 
game of prisoner's base, the Tuileries differed in the elegance of those who 
frequented it regularly from the more common Jardin du Luxembourg (the 
birthplace of Marius' love for Cosette in Hugo's Les Miserables). A painting 
done there — where Watteau had also gone for inspiration — by Caillebotte 
around 1876 has the distinction of being "the only of his numerous views of 
Paris to depict a site on the Left Bank."-' Other important sites were the 
Jardin des Plantes (where the former Jardin du Roi had become the Musee 
National d'Histoire Naturelle), which attracted both sculptors and painters, 
and the more recent Jardin d'Acclimatation, or Zoo, in the Bois de Boulogne, 
which was opened to the public in 1860. The rise of public gardens was 
closely correlated with the rise of the "new Paris" during the Second Empire 
(see above, III/3): both were created and designed not by gardeners, ar- 
chitects, or painters, but by town planners, and both played an active part in 
Parisian life of the time. 

One garden of the period deserves special mention for its intimate 
connection with the genesis of the incomparable body of pictorial art pro- 
duced by the Impressionists: Giverny. Upon his arrival there in 1883, Monet 
found that the house in which he was to live fronted on a large orchard, the 
kind for which Normandy is known (at the time the estate was called "Le 
Pressoir," or "The Cider Press"). Litde by little, Monet transformed this util- 
ity garden into a pleasure garden (nos. 91-93), replacing the existing trees 
with more decorative varieties such as Japanese apple and cherry.— With the 
help of Felix Breuil, a gardener recommended by Octave Mirbeau (author of 
Le jardin des supplices), and five assistants, the artist worked hard to make 
the garden beautiful, keeping his eyes open for any ephemeral flowering. 
Whenever he traveled, he constantly thought of his garden, worried about the 
temperature and its effect on his flowers, sent home instructions for the 
greenhouse he was having built. While working on the Rouen Cathedral 
series in 1893, he made a point of visiting that city's Jardin des Plantes, where 
he went into transports over the orchids and had several species sent to 
Giverny. Writing home two years later from Norway, he promised, ever the 
passionate botanist, to bring back "several specimens of plants" native to the 
countries of Scandinavia and, fearful of the cold back at Giverny, showered 
his wife with advice for the garden. "I'm heartbroken at your news of my 
poor rose trees," he wrote. "We seem to be in for a number of disasters. Has 
anyone thought of at least covering the Japanese peonies? It would be murder 
not to. And I'm so looking forward to seeing the greenhouse. I hope it will 
still be beautiful."-^ 

Monet bought his supplies from Vilmorm and the firm of Truffaut. He 
exchanged seedlings with Caillebotte, who was a frequent guest. Mirbeau, 
another enthusiast, whose garden was painted by Pissarro, sometimes would 
join them. "I shall be very happy to entertain you," he wrote one day to 
Caillebotte. "What if I tell Monet to come too? Then we could spend a 
delightful day here chatting about painting and flowers and boats — three 
things all three of us dearly love."-"* Monet's addition of a new garden, the 
water garden, with its lilies, merely underscored the influence on him of the 
Orient; he was as particular about the Oriental poppies and chrysanthe- 
mums in his flowerbeds as he was about his collection of Japanese prints.-^ 


If, before Giverny, Monet was merely responding to a given fashion, if 
he was merely one artist among many to cover his canvases with gardens, 
then after Giverny, in the last years of his life, he came to see the garden as 
more than a simple motif; he came to see it as a work of art in itself, a com- 
position of subtle combinations of colors that he himself had imagined. Life 
and art became one. Jean-Pierre Hoschede has quoted Monet as saying, "My 
most beautiful work of art is my garden."-^ It is for this reason that the at- 
tempt to restore Giverny to its appearance during Monet's tenure there has 
enriched our knowledge of his late paintings. 

The creation of so distinct a universe did not go unnoticed at the time. 
Proust pointed to its originality as early as 1907 when he wrote. 

If... one day I can see Claude Monet's garden, I feel certain that what I shall see 
there in a garden of tones and colors more than of flowers is a garden less the old 
florist garden than a colorist garden, if I may call it that, of flowers arranged in a 
whole that is not entirely that of nature, since they have been planted in such a way 
that only those flowers blossom together whose shades match, harmonize in- 
finitely in a blue or pink expanse, and which this powerfully revealed intention on 
the part of the painter has dematerialized, in a way, from all that is not color. 
Flowers of the soil and also flowers of the water, those tender water lilies the mas- 
ter has depicted in sublime canvases of which this garden (a true transposition of 
art rather than mere model, a picture done straight from nature, which lights up 
beneath the eyes of a great painter) is like a first and living sketch — or at least the 
palette where their harmonious hues are prepared comes already made and 

— S. G.-P. 


l.Carriere, 1860, pp. 11-12. 

2. Moleri, 1866, p. 16. 

3. Boyer in La Grande Encyclopedie, 1886-1902, vol. 21, p. 48. 

4. Robinson, 1878, pi. 257. 

5. Grimal, 1954, p. 240. 

6. Vauxcelles, 1934, p. 10. 

7. Ysabeau, 1854, pp. 11-13. 

8. Tucker, 1982, pp. 125-153, 198-199. 

9. Reunion des Musees Nationaux, 1980, pp. 168-183. 

10. Berhaut, 1978, pp. 9, 41, 64. 

11. Zola, 1960, vol. 1, pp. 1253, 1677. 

12. Painter, 1966, vol. I, p. 38. 

13. Zola, 1960, vol. 1, p. 354. 

14. Ibid., p. 1593. 

15. Ysabeau, 1854, pp. 14-15. 

16. Proust, 1973-74, vol. I, p. 220. 

17. See Alphand, 1867-73, vols. I-II; Charageat, 1962, p. 175. 

18. Walter, 1978, pp. 18-25. 

19. Wildenstein 398, 466; Berhaut 58, 111. 

20. Guide des promenades, 1855, pp. 102, 108. 

21. Berhaut 37. 

22. Centre Culturel du Marais, 1983, pp. 14-15. 

23. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. Ill, pp. 269-271, 282, 284. 

24. Berhaut, 1978, pp. 248-249. 

25. Bibliotheque des Arts, 1983, pp. 12, 27. 

26. Hoschede, 1960, vol. I, pp. 57-70. 

27. Proust, 1971, pp. 539-540. 



78. Claude Monet 

Flowering Garden 

(Jardin en fleurs), C. 1866 

The private garden depicted here has 
been identified as part of Le Coteau, an 
estate in Sainte-Adresse near Le Havre 
belonging to some cousins of Monet, the 
Lecadre family. It exists to this day at the 
corner of the rues des Phares and 
Charles-Dalencourt.' Together with a 
canvas showing a more extensive view of 
the same garden, Jeanne-Marguerite 
Lecadre in the Garden (The Hermitage, 
Leningrad), it was probably done during 
a visit the artist made to Sainte-Adresse 
in 1866 (nos. 1, 4-6); however, both 
canvases may date from the following 
summer when, on June 25, Monet wrote 
from there to his friend Bazille, 

I am in the bosom of my family.. .as happy, 
as well as I can be. ...My work is cut out for 
me: I've a good twenty canvases under 
way — dazzling seascapes and figures and 

Much more modest in format than 
Women in the Garden (fig. 50) or Ter- 
race at Sainte-Adresse (no. 5), Flowering 
Garden nonetheless bears the marks of 
the same plein-air investigations. In it, as 
in other works, Monet divided the can- 
vas into zones of light and shade: by 
leaving the left-hand portion of the fore- 
ground in the shade, he heightened the 
intensity of the light coming from the 
blue summer sky. He took great care to 
reproduce the spontaneity of his first 
sun-drenched vision, which he expressed 
by means of color contrasts, the various 
reds of the roses and geraniums bursting 
into the green vegetation and sparkling 
in the light, much like the flowers he 
painted later scattered through the fields 
of Argenteuil in Poppies (1873; Musee 
d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris). 
The "decorative exuberance of flowers 
and foliage"^ and the unusual treatment 
of blooming flower beds recall works of 
Monet's earliest period. Even then, he 
used a fragmented-stroke technique, the 
technique that would soon epitomize 

l.Wildenstein 68-69. 

2. Ibid., p. 423. 

3. Reunion des Musees Nationaux, 1980, nos. 

79. Frederic Bazille 

Rose Trellis (Terrace at Meric) 
(Les Lauriers-Roses [Terrasse a 
Meric]), 1867 

Early in 1864 the young Bazille, who had 
been forced to study medicine by his par- 
ents, wrote to his father from Paris, 
If I pass my exam, I shall take advantage of 
the situation. ask your permission to 
spend a fortnight at Honfleur in May with 
my friend Monet, the one I went to Fon- 
tainebleau with last year.' 

The year before, Bazille had been more 
specific about this jaunt in a letter to his 

I've just spent a week in the tiny village of 
Chailly near the forest of Fontainebleau. I 
was with my friend Monet. ..who has quite 
a flair for landscapes. The advice he gave 
me was very useful. - 

It therefore comes as no surprise that 
Monet's investigations into the nature of 
painting had an influence on the early 
artistic career of his friend from his time 
at the Atelier Gleyre. Bazille's Family Re- 
union (Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de 
Paume, Paris), the definitive version of 
which was done at Meric during the 
summer of 1867, owes a great deal to 
Monet's Women in the Garden (fig. 50), 
which Bazille bought to help his friend in 

A native of Montpellier, Bazille re- 
joiced at the opportunity to visit the fam- 
ily seat at Meric and devote himself en- 
tirely to his painting, whiling away the 
hours "in the shade of the chestnut trees, 
on the terrace," which had an unob- 
structed view of Castelnau and over- 
looked the Lez as it flowed along the foot 
of the hill. As he wrote, "The cicadas 
chirp stridently nearby, and the sun cre- 
ates infinite clouds of dust."^ While in 
Paris, he often thought with nostalgia of 
his native region. "You must take great 
delight in visiting Meric from time to 
time," he wrote to his father. 
The greenhouse must be very pretty.. ..Tell 
all the people there that I haven't forgotten 
them and that I sometimes envy them the 
wonderful sun they must be enjoying.** 

During a trip to the coast of Normandy 
in 1864 he mentioned in a letter some 
friends who "have a charming estate at 
Sainte-Adresse, where the life is very 
much like ours at Meric."^ 

The heat of the summer afternoons 



No. 78. Claude Monet 
FLo^FERING Garden, c. 1S66 




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No. 79. Frederic Bazille 

Rose Trelus (Terrace at MtRic), 1867 

(detail on p. 106) 



often sent Bazille to his terrace refuge, 
which appears several times in his work, 
in Terrace at Meric (1867; Petit Palais, 
Musee d'Art Moderne, Geneva), for 
example, and in Family Reunion, which 
he referred to in his correspondence as 
"my Meric picture." During the same 
summer Bazille depicted the garden there 
in two paintings he never completed: 
The Small Jardiniere (Museum of Fine 
Arts, Houston) and Rose Trellis (Terrace 
at Meric). The latter clearly reveals 
Monet's lessons: the division of the can- 
vas into zones of light and shade (as in 
the patch of shade cast by the tree on the 
ground), the interest in large clusters of 
flowers, and the attempt to insert figures 
into the landscape (the woman sketched 
in on the right). A comparison with 
Flowering Garden (no. 78) is instructive 
here. Beyond the bench, the pathway, 
and the marvelously tinted irises, 
nasturtia, and oleanders running along 
it, the house is just barely visible at the 
left. Although Bazille succeeded admira- 
bly in rendering the special, violet quality 
of the light of Languedoc and the sun of 
southern France, he was perhaps being 
more faithful to the letter of nascent 
Impressionism than to its spirit. In 
comparison with Monet, he has been 
criticized for a certain lack of 


1. The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, p. 197. 

2. Ibid., p. 192. 

3. See Poulain, 1932. 

4. The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, p. 192. 
S.Ibid., p. 199, 

6. Ibid., no. 20. 

80. Claude Monet 

Monet's House at Argenteuil 
(La Maison d£ l' artiste a Argen- 
teuil), 1873 

Immediately after arriving at Argenteuil 
on December 21, 1871, Monet dashed 
off a note to Pissarro saying, "We are 
very busy settling in" and giving his new 
address: "Maison Aubry near the hos- 
pice. Porte Saint-Denis at Argenteuil."^ 
Located more exactly at the corner of the 
rue Pierre-Guienne and the boulevard 
Saint-Denis, this was Monet's first house 

at Argenteuil (it was torn down at the 
beginning of the twentieth century). ^ 
Here, we see it from the back, as it 
opened on the garden, a choice of setting 
recalling works by Manet. ^ 

The years 1872—73 were far from 
lean for Monet thanks to the purchases 
of Durand-Ruel, his dealer. This tem- 
porary opulence is obvious in Monet's 
works of the period. The various views 
of the house and the luxuriant garden 
suggest that life was easy and might even 
have been happy had the artist's wife, 
Camille, not suffered her first bouts of 
illness there. The artist appears to have 
begun drifting away from her at the time, 
and several critics have remarked that 
the figures in the Argenteuil canvases are 
always separate from one another, as if 
unable to communicate."' 

Here we find Jean, Monet's first- 
born son (he was five or six at the time), 
playing alone with his hoop, an object 
that accompanies him in a contemporary 
picture, Camille in the Garden with Jean 
and His Nurse (1873; Biihrle Collection, 
Zurich). The tiny silhouette of the ele- 
gantly dressed child accentuates his iso- 
lation in the center of the composition, 
where he stands out against the empty, 
uniform surface of the ground. At the 
top of the stairs, framed in a doorway, a 
woman (Camille?) watches over him. 
Jean Monet is seen from behind, an 
unusual point of view that his father of- 
ten used when inserting figures into a 

Foliage and flowers, the combina- 
tion of reds and greens, recall Flowering 
Garden (no. 78), and the opposition of 
strokes of light and shade on the path 
goes back to Monet's landscapes of 
1867. The blue-patterned Oriental vases, 
commonly called Cologne ware, contrib- 
ute to the decorative character of the 
composition. Tradition has it that Monet 
brought these vases back from a trip to 
Holland in 1871. They appear in other 
canvases as well. We find them in The 
Garden (1872; Private Collection, 
United States) and, shifted inside for the 
winter, in the foreground of Corner of an 
Apartment (1875; Musee d'Orsay, 
Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris), which 
depicts Monet's second Argenteuil 
house. Clearly the artist had a sentimen- 
tal attachment to them, and they fol- 

lowed him through many moves to 
Vetheuil (see The Garden at Vetheuil 
[1881; National Gallery of Art, Wash- 
ington, D.C.]). 


1. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. I, p. 428. 

2. Walter, 1966, p. 335. 

3. Ibid., pp. 334-336; fig. 2. 

4. Isaacson, 1978, p. 99, no. 42; Tucker, 1982, pp. 
136, 139; 140, fig. 112. 

81. Claude Monet 

The Luncheon 

(Le Dejeuner), c. 1873-74 

In this unusual composition, as in 
Monet's House at Argenteuil (no. 80), it 
is the back of Monet's first house at Ar- 
genteuil that closes off the space, but this 
time the artist used the large format he 
employed in his early works. This paint- 
ing was displayed at the second Impres- 
sionist exhibition in 1876 under the 
designation of "decorative panel." 

Once more, Jean Monet is shown 
lost in play, but now he has been rel- 
egated to the extreme left of the canvas, 
while two female figures, their bright 
dresses standing out against the foliage, 
appear in the right background. The pre- 
viously noted division into highly 
contrasting areas of light and shade is at 
work here as well (no. 80), and, like 
Monet's House at Argenteuil, The Lun- 
cheon gives an idea of the art of country 
living. A feeling of genteel prosperity 
emanates from the picture, and every 
detail, however anecdotal it may appear 
at first,' works to enhance this sensation: 
the profusion of flowers, the beauty of 
the dresses, the whiteness of the linen, 
the arrangement of the dishes (the fruit 
bowl, in particular), the table settings, 
and the fine china (coffeepot and cups). 

But, as Paul Tucker has pointed out, 
the fact that the meal has already been 
finished creates an impression of uncer- 
tainty.^ Fruit there may be, and in abun- 
dance, but it cannot conceal the absence 
of the human element, the guests. The ta- 
ble has been abandoned, a parasol for- 
gotten on the bench, a hat left hanging 
from a branch. This is the moment the 
artist has chosen to paint instead of a 
picture including family and friends sit- 
ting down to break bread together. The 



No. 80. Claude Monet 

Monet's House at Argenteuil, 1873 



No. 81. Claude Monet 

The Luncheon, c. 1873-74 



No. 82. Claude iMonet 

Madame jn the Garden, c. 1872 



choice is indicative of the absence of 
interchange among the members of the 
Argenteuil household. At the same time, 
however, the decorative and intimate 
character of the scene, its composition, 
and the terracing of its planes anticipate 
more obviously cheerful works by 
Bonnard and Vuillard. 

The date usually assigned to this 
picture is 1873, but since Monet stayed 
in the house until the summer of 1874, 
he may well have done some more work 
on it then.' 


1. Isaacson, 1978, p. 99, no. 42. 

2. Tucker, 1982, pp. 145-146, pi. 26. 

3. Reunion des Musees Nationau.x, 1980, no. 47. 

82. Claude Monet 

Madame Monet in the Garden 
(Madame Monet dans unjardin), 

C. 1872 

In an article on the second Impressionist 
exhibition, Zola singled out Monet as 

undoubtedly the head of the group. His 
brush is conspicuous for its extraordinary 
brilliance. ...His landscapes gleam in the 
sun.... Among the many pictures deserving 
special attention is one of a woman in 
white sitting in the shade of some greenery, 
her dress dotted with bursts of light similar 
to large drops.' 

The painting Zola was referring to is The 
Reader (Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore), 
which dates from 1872-74 and was 
bought by the American artist Mary 
Cassatt. Blanche Hoschede-Monet has 
suggested that the model for that picture 
was Camille Monet, but nothing in the 
composition allows us to establish the 
sitter's identity with certitude. - 

A paintmg of identical dimensions 
to The Reader, Madame Monet in the 
Garden shows the same figure dressed in 
the same white dress mentioned by Zola 
and with a hat fastened under her chin. 
But this time she is accompanied by 
another woman whose dress is blue by 
way of contrast. Here, as in The Reader, 
Monet was intent on rendering the effect 
of the sun filtering through the leaves. 
Hence the luminous strokes that made 
such an impression on Zola. 

John House considered this work to 

be a variant of The Reader.' He felt that 
they must be a pair, like Lilacs in the Sun 
(Pushkin Museum, Moscow) and Lilacs 
in the Shade (Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du 
Jeu de Paume, Paris), both painted by 
Monet in the spring of 1872 at Argen- 
teuil. The Reader also seems to have 
been painted in the garden there. 


I.Zola, 1970, p. 279. 

2. Wildenstein 205. 

3. House, 1978,p. 680, fig. 3. 

83. Claude Monet 


(LeS GlAIEULs), 1876 

Monet made a point of memorializing 
his second, as well as his first, Argenteuil 
house on several canvases. The rormer, in 
which he lived for four years starting in 
the autumn of 1874, still stands at 5, 
boulevard Saint-Denis (and not 2, bou- 
levard Saint-Denis as Monet himself 
indicated).' It was "a pink house with 
green shutters opposite the station" 
according to the description the artist 
gave to Victor Chocquet, a customs of- 
ficial and avid collector of Delacroi.x, Ce- 
zanne, and Renoir (see below, IV).- 

The garden of this house, which 
extended back from it, is the object of a 
group of Monet's paintings. Gladioli 
being the most sumptuous and effective 
one. Long thought to have been done in 
1873 (at which time Monet was still liv- 
ing in the first Argenteuil house), it is 
now dated three years later, in accord- 
ance with Wildenstein's classification.^ It 
thus overlaps with three other canvases 
showing Camille Monet among the 
flowers. Here, she stands shading her 
face under a parasol, an object often 
present in Monet's works (it provided 
more areas of light and shade to work 
with), in those of other Impressionist 
painters (Boudin [no. 12] and Morisot, 
for example), and even in the stories of 
Maupassant: "He found her delightful, 
the pink young girl who, with her bright 
parasol and fresh dress, strolled along 
the broad horizon of the sea."'* 

In Gladioli Monet took up a line of 
research he had initiated some ten years 
before with Luncheon on the Grass 
(Destroyed) and Women in the Garden 
(fig. 50): the placement of human figures 

in a landscape. He was not primarily 
concerned with the face of his model, 
preferring to let the environment 
predominate in order to highlight the co- 
pious growth of flowers in the fore- 
ground. These gladioli recall those of 
Terrace at Sainte-Adresse (no. 5) and are 
a motif which provided the artist with 
ample opportunity to apply the Impres- 
sionist technique whereby "stroke divi- 
sion accentuates the vibration of the at- 
mosphere."^' Monet made skillful use of 
the great luminosity that comes from 
mixing complementary colors, from 
exploding reds in the midst of greens. 
Faithful to the cheerful atmosphere of 
Flowering Garden (no. 78), this rich and 
sunny vision, easily synthesized by the 
eye from the proper distance, is charac- 
teristic of Monet's style at the height of 
Impressionism. It was not until much 
later, however, at Giverny (nos. 91—93), 
that he returned in his paintings to the 
floral extravagance he held so dear. 

1. Wal 

ter, 1966, pp. 336-338. 
Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. I, 
Ibid., p. 292, no. 414. 
4. Mau] 

p. 430. 

J. lUlU., p. —7.1, IIU. *tl*t. 

4. Maupassant, 1977-79, vol. II, p. 548. 

5. Degand and Rouart, 1958, p. 65. 

84. Claude Monet 

Tuileries Gardens 
{VuE DES Tuileries), i876 

At the time he painted Gladioli (no. 83), 
Monet also showed great interest in the 
public gardens of Paris: the Pare 
Monceau and the Tuileries. He executed 
four views of the latter, all from a win- 
dow in the apartment (at 198, rue de 
Rivoli) of the collector Chocquet (no. 
83), whom Monet had met through the 
good graces of Cezanne several months 
before, in February 1876.' Yet Chocquet 
does not seem to have owned any of the 
four, all of which were done in the spring 
of that year shortly after the second 
Impressionist exhibition closed. On June 
7 Monet wrote to Georges de Bellio, "I 
should very much like to show you my 
latest canvases (views of Paris)."- It was 
Tuileries Gardens, the most finished of 
the lot, that de Bellio selected; the paint- 
ing is visible in a photograph of his flat 



No. 83. Claude Monet 
Gladioli, 1876 



No. 84. Claude Monet 
TuiLERiES Gardens. 1S''6 



No. 85. Camille Pissarro 

Corner of the Garden at the Hermitage, 1 877 



taken about 1890.^ In April of the fol- 
lowing year he lent it, together with sev- 
eral other works by Monet, to the third 
Impressionist exhibition. Two of the 
other views were acquired by the collec- 
tor Ernest May and by Caillebotte. (The 
sketch owned by Caillebotte passed to 
the Musee du Louvre [Musee d'Orsay, 
Galerie du Jeu de Paume] as part of his 

The two towers of the Eglise Sainte- 
Clotilde and the dome of Les Invalides 
on the left bank of the Seine appear in the 
distance in several of Monet's paintings 
(as here), but the present canvas is the 
only one that shows part of the Louvre 
with the Pavillion de Flore (at the left) 
(see above, III/3). Paul Tucker has re- 
marked that Monet took care to exclude 
the Chateau des Tuileries, however, in ru- 
ins since the Commune.'' 

Monet concentrated here on his 
favorite subject: the depiction of nature 
as it appeared in the garden stretched out 
before his eyes. He had experimented 
with panoramic landscapes seen from 
above when, working side by side with 
Renoir from the colonnade of the Louvre 
in 1867, he was inspired by the coming 
of spring to paint The Garden of 
I'Infante (Allen Memorial Art Museum, 
Oberlin). In 1875 Renoir himself did a 
view of the Tuileries (Mrs. Grover A. 
Magmn Collection, San Francisco) that 
is quite similar to Monet's. 

Zola could scarcely have been 
thinking of anyone but Monet when he 
described the revolutionary approach to 
painting conceived by Claude Lantier, 
the hero of his novel L'Oeuvre: 

He wanted to catch the blazing sun — the 
Paris sun which, on certain days, turns the 
street white hot — in the dazzling retlection 
of the housefronts....what, more than any- 
thing, made his painting so dreadful was 
his new way of looking at light, the de- 
composition that resulted from extremely 
precise observation and ran counter to 
everything the eye was wont to accept by 
accentuating blues, yellows, reds where no 
one was accustomed to see them. The 
Tuileries, in the background, vanished in a 
golden shimmer, the cobblestones bled, the 
passersby were reduced to so many dark 
blotches corroded by too vivid a light.^ 

The Tuileries likewise attracted the 
attention of both Manet (Music at the 
Tuileries [1862; The National Gallery, 

London]) and Pissarro, who wrote to his 

son on December 4, 1898: 

We've taken a flat at 204, rue de Rivoli fac- 
ing the Tuileries with a superb view of the 
garden: the Louvre to the left, then the 
buildings lining the Seine behind the trees 
of the garden, to the right the dome of Les 
Invalides and the steeples of Sainte- 
Clotilde emerging from clusters of chesmut 
trees. It's very beautiful! I shall have a 
beautiful series to do.*^ 

In the end this series comprised close to 
30 canvases, all dating from 1899 and 
1900. One of the most successful is The 
Jardin des Tuileries (fig. 53). 


1. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. I, p. 430. 

2. Ibid. 

3. Tucker, 1982, p. 163; p. 173, fig. 140. 

4. Ibid. 

5. Zola, 1966, vol. IV, pp. 205-206. 

6. Pissarro, 1950, p. 464. 

85. Camille Pissarro 

Corner of the G.-\rden .■^t the 



In January 1866 Pissarro went to stay in 
Pontoise, just north of Pans, at 1, rue du 
Fond de THermitage. He returned in 
1873, residing first at 10, then at 16, rue 
de I'Hermitage. This district, in the 
northeast of Pontoise, inspired him to 
paint several landscapes (see above. III' 
5). In 1876 Pissarro obtained authoriza- 
tion from his neighbor Marie Desraimes 
(nos. 63—64) to work in the garden of 
the Chateau des Mathurins, of which she 
was proprietress. First he did a large-for- 
mat (113 by 165.1 centimeters) view of 
the garden together with the front of the 
house (Garden of the Mathurins, Pon- 
toise [William Rockhili Nelson Gallery 
of Art and Mary Atkins Museum of Fine 
Arts, Kansas Cit)-]). This was followed in 
the summer of 1877 by two others, vety 
similar in composition and representing 
a corner of the same garden. One, identi- 
cal in dimensions with the canvas of the 
previous year, showed a woman holding 
a parasol and sitting on a bench with a 
little girl at her side (formerly Baron 
Maurice de Rothschild Collection), 

while the other (illustrated here), much 
more modest in format, shows two chil- 
dren on the bench.' 

Pissarro's very human character 
comes through quite clearly in this in- 
timate scene: we seem to be witnessing 
the telling of a secret. In his garden pic- 
tures the artist was highly dependent on 
Monet: here, he borrowed both the 
latter's fragmented-stroke technique and 
his Impressionist vision. In this picture 
Pissarro abandoned the rustic, coun- 
trified subjects he usually chose (see 
above, III/5) in favor of a landscape with 
a more civilized, urban feeling. This 
choice may have been suggested by 
Monet's elegant views of the Pare 
Monceau shown at the third Impression- 
ist exhibition in the spring of 1877 or by 
the work of Renoir. Throughout this 
auspicious period in Pissarro's career we 
can also feel the influence of Cezanne in 
the former's sense of space and depth 
and in his rigorous multi-planar compo- 


1. Coe, 1963, p. 16, fig. 14, has pinpointed the ex- 
act location of the site. 

86. Gustave Caillebotte 

Th.atched Cottage .at Trouvtlle 
(La Chaumiere, Trouville), 1882 

Only on rare occasions did Caillebotte 
leave the capital ot the nearby banks of 
the Seine. However, the regattas of the 
Cercle de la Voile de Paris, in which he 
sailed (no. 46), and especially its annual 
trip to Trouville, led him to stay several 
times in Normandy, a region potentially 
significant to him because he could claim 
Norman ancestry on both sides of his 
family. But although he sailed the Nor- 
man coast regularly between 1880 and 
1887, Norman landscapes — views of 
Villers, Trouville, or the vicinity of 
Etretat — disappeared from his work 
after 1884. 

At Trouville Caillebotte painted the 
villas and their gardens, the Hotel des 
Roches Noires, the cliffs and the road 
that rimmed them, and the fields near the 
sea (see below, III/8). That he was 
equally sensitive to the charm of the hin- 



No. 86. Gustave Caillebotte 

Thatched Cottage at Trouville, 1882 



terland, however, is clear from Thatched 
Cottage at Trouville. Both this and a 
contemporary canvas depicting the same 
thatched-roof building seen from a dif- 
ferent point of view were signed by Re- 
noir, who was the executor of Caille- 
botte's will. 

This sunny garden recalls Monet's; 
the two artists were close friends. 
Caillebotte played an important part in 
the organization of the Impressionist 
exhibitions, and it was at the last one he 
was involved in (the seventh, and penul- 
timate, show of the group, in 1882) that 
he first unveiled several of his Norman 
canvases to the public. They constituted 
a sort of transition in his career during 
the '80s: from urban views, portraits, 
and interiors he henceforth turned exclu- 
sively to the landscapes of his Petit- 
Gennevilliers period (no. 87). 

Caillebotte's biographer gives the 
following analysis of his Norman 

Compared with the works of the previous 
period, that is, of the Paris years, the Nor- 
man paintings doubtless lack a certain 
originality of vision; nor have they any- 
thing unusual to offer by way of composi- 
tion. What they do reveal — and that quite 
frequently — is a spontaneity which links 
them with the studies of his fellow Impres- 
sionist landscapists. In these paintings 
Caillebotte uses a broader, freer style to 
convey intensity of color and the contrast 
between zones of light and shade in the 
open air.' 


l.Berhaut, 1978, p. 62. 

87. Gustave Caillebotte 

Roses, Garden at Petit-Gennevilliers 
(Les Roses, jardin du Petit- 
Gennevilliers), C. 1886 

Although Caillebotte seems to have 
bought his Petit-Gennevilliers house 
around 1880, it was not until 1888, the 
year after his brother Martial married, 
that he left the capital and settled there 
for good. In returning to the region of 
Argenteuil, Caillebotte was returning to 
one of the earliest Impressionist locales 
(see above, III/2 and 4). The Petit- 

Gennevilliers property, which ran down 
to the Seine, provided an inexhaustible 
source of motifs in the last years of his 
life. It was for Caillebotte what Giverny 
was for Monet (nos. 91-93). Caillebotte 
shared the latter's passion for gardening 
(photographs exist showing Caillebotte 
at work in his garden and greenhouse^), 
and he had a similar love of flowers, 
which are very much present in his work. 
Monet sent him frequent letters from 
Giverny, inviting him to see his own gar- 
den: "Be sure to come on Monday as 
agreed. All my iris will be in bloom. 
They'll begin to fade later."^ 

Caillebotte did numerous canvases 
of the Petit-Gennevilliers paths and 
flower beds: masses of dahlias, roses, 
chrysanthemums, and sunflowers, with 
iris and hyacinth borders. To paint the 
roses, as here, he adopted a freer tech- 
nique than usual: drawing upon Monet's 
work for inspiration, he applied his col- 
ors in small, rapid strokes. Even so, both 
the flowers and the female silhouette in 
Roses, Garden at Petit-Gennevilliers 
have obvious contours which have not 
been absorbed by the light. Moreover, 
Caillebotte here rejected Monet's recur- 
ring device of juxtaposing contrasting 
zones of light and shade. 

Caillebotte also had a different way 
of integrating the human figure into a 
landscape. Somewhat in the manner of 
Bazille, he refrained from completely de- 
personalizing his model. Here, she was 
Charlotte Berthier, the companion to 
whom he left the Petit-Gennevilliers 
house (which is no longer standing). Re- 
noir, who did her portrait in 1883 
(National Gallery of Art, Washington 
D.C.), identified her as Mme. Hagen.^ 
The dog sitting in her lap in Renoir's ren- 
dering is the dog sitting on the path in 
Caillebotte's picture, to which it adds a 
note of humor and spontaneity. 

In 1894 Caillebotte suffered a 
stroke while working on a landscape in 
this garden. He died several days later. 


l.Berhaut, 1978, pp. 13, 17. 

2. Ibid., p. 248. 

3. Daulte 432; Varnedoe and Lee, 1976, no. 70, 
p. 40; p. 45, n. 40. 

88. Vincent van Gogh 

Corner in Voyer-d'Argenson Park at 


(Coin du parc Voyer-d'Arcenson a 

Asnieres), 1887 

In 1886 Van Gogh left his native Holland 
to join his brother, Theo, who was work- 
ing at the Galerie Goupil (later the firm 
of Boussod et Valadon) in Paris. There, he 
met the Impressionist painters, who initi- 
ated him into their world of light and lib- 
erated him from a palette which, until 
then, had been limited to somber hues. 
His time in Paris was one of fleeting 
experiences, a transitional period which 
enabled him to experiment with all the 
current styles before settling into one 
personal mode. As he wrote to an Eng- 
lish painter, "I went regularly to the Ate- 
lier Cormon for three or four months, 
but I found it less useful than I had 
expected.... Now I've stopped. ..and have 
been working on my own. You can imag- 
ine how much more myself I've felt 

Nonetheless, it was at Cormon's 
that Van Gogh discovered both Tou- 
louse-Lautrec and an important new 
friend: the young Emile Bernard, whose 
parents lived in the suburb of Asnieres, 
on the avenue de la Lauziere, a major ar- 
tery running parallel to the railway line.^ 
Bernard invited Van Gogh to spend some 
time there and helped to familiarize him 
with the countryside surrounding Paris. 
Like the Impressionists, Van Gogh en- 
joyed working on the banks of the Seine. 
In the course of the spring and summer 
of 1887 he painted several landscapes 
showing the Pont d'Asnieres, the Restau- 
rant de la Greve, and the factories at As- 
nieres. This painting, which dates from 
May 1887, was one of several he did on 
the grounds of the chateau of Marquis 
Rene-Louis Le Voyer d'Argenson. These 
grounds had just been restored by Thion 
de La Chaume, only to be divided, 
approximately ten years later, to make 
way for the rue du Chateau. The impor- 
tance of Asnieres to Van Gogh has been 
emphasized by Pierre Leprohon, who 
has stated that it "occupies a place in 
Van Gogh's topography almost equal to 
Nuenen, Aries, or Auvers."- 



No. 87. Gustave Caillebotte 

Roses, Garden at Petit-Gennevilliers, c. 1886 





.-.>" r 

No. 88. Vincent van Gogh 

Corner in Voyer-d'Argenson Park at Asnieres, 1887 



No. 89. Vincent van Gogh 

The Garden of the Poets, 188 


Both the subject and technique of 
this painting show the Impressionist in- 
fluence on the Asnieres canvases. Van 
Gogh was aware of the sudden change in 
style his work was undergoing. As he 
wrote to his sister, "This summer, paint- 
ing landscapes at Asnieres, I saw more 
color than before."^ 


1. Van Gogh, 1960, letter 459a A. 

2. Leprohon, 1972, pp. 353-354. 

3. Van Gogh, 1960, letter WIN. 

89. Vincent van Gogh 

The Garden of the Poets 
(LeJardin des Poetes), 1888 

On February 21, 1888, Van Gogh was at 
Aries, where his painting would follow 
the rhythm of the seasons (see below. III/ 
9). By May he had rented the house (at 2, 
Place Lamartine) which became the site 
of several of his most famous works, of 
which this is one. 

The first mention of this garden 
occurs in the artist's letters of July 1888. 
It was then, too, that he sent his brother, 
Theo, a sketch very similar to that of this 
canvas. "Here is a new motif," he wrote 
in the accompanying letter, 

a piece of the garden with ball-like bushes 
and a weeping tree, and some clusters of 
oleanders in the background. And the 
newly mown grass with wisps of hay dry- 
ing in the sun with a small patch of blue sky 
above it all.' 

In August he did several studies of gar- 
dens in bloom, but wrote to his sister: 

I have another garden without flowers, 
more of a pasture, actually, that has just 
been mown, very green, with gray hay set 
out in long rows. A weeping ash, several ce- 
dars and cypresses, the cedars ball-like, yel- 
low, the cypresses tall and straight, green 
tinged with blue. Behind them an oleander 
and a small patch of blue-green sky. The 
shadows shed by the bushes on the grass 
are blue.- 

Van Gogh worked particularly hard 
in his garden during the months of 
September and October. On September 
17 he described a canvas to Theo: 

...a piece of the garden with a weeping tree, 
grass, cedar bushes shaped into balls, a 
bush of oleander... the same piece of garden 

vou received a sketch of in my last letter. 
But much larger, with a lemony sky above 
it all, and the colors now have the richness 
and intensity of autumn.' 

He likened the site to "the gardens of 
Manet.""* In another letter he explained 
what he meant by "the garden of the 

The garden has an odd feeling about it. 
You could easily picture Renaissance po- 
ets — Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio — trip- 
ping through the bushes and succulent 
grass. True, I've removed some trees, but 
the ones I've kept in the composition are 
just as they are in reality. Except that it has 
too many out-of-character bushes. The rea- 
son I'm painting the same place for the 
third time is that 1 want to find the real, 
most basic character of the place. And the 
place is right here, in front of my house. 
This piece of garden is a good example of 
what I've been telling you about: if you 
want to capture the real character of things 
here, you've got to watch them and paint 
them for a long time.-'' 

The Garden of the Poets is therefore part 
of a whole, and a letter Van Gogh wrote 
to Gauguin makes it clear how much it 
meant to him: 

For the room where you will be sleeping 
I've made a special decoration, the garden 

of a poet The banal public garden 

includes plants and bushes that conjure up 
landscapes where you might well find Bot- 
ticelli, Giotto, Petrarch, Dante and 
Boccaccio. I've tried to sort out in it what is 
essential to the fundamental character of 
the countryside. And I hope I've painted 
the garden in such a way as to make people 
think of both Petrarch, the old local poet 
(or, rather, poet of Avignon), and the new 
local poet — Paul Gauguin.*' 

Much can be learned about Van 
Gogh's artistic approach from his letters. 
They allow us to follow his day-to-day 
labor, the changes he made in his motifs 
(Van Gogh would have none of Monet's 
spontaneity), and the symbolic content 
he injected into the "poet's garden" pic- 
tures. John House has stressed the debt 
Van Gogh owed to Adolphe Monticelli 
in these canvases, which moved beyond 
his previous Impressionist phase. ^ Yet 
while Van Gogh continued to paint from 
nature, Gauguin preferred to plot the 
composition of In the Garden at Aries 
(1888; The Art Institute of Chicago), 
painted while visiting Van Gogh, in his 

imagination. Thus his work was a 
response to his host's, but in a different 


1. Van Gogh, 1960, letter 508 R 

2. Ibid., letter W5N. 

3. Ibid., letter 537 F. 

4. Ibid., letter 539 F 

5. Ibid., letter 541 F 

6. Ibid., letter 553a F 

7. Royal Academy of Arts, 1979, no. 100. 

90. Vincent van Gogh 


(Les Iris), 1889 

After repeated personal crises and at his 
own request, Van Gogh entered an asy- 
lum on May 3, 1889. Northeast of Aries 
in the region of the Petite Crau, the asy- 
lum, Saint-Remy-de-Provence, formed 
part of the thirteenth-century monastery 
of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, which had 
maintained its Catholic church and clois- 
ter. Van Gogh spent an entire year there. 
Early in May, almost immediately 
after his arrival, he announced to Theo, 
"I have two other [pictures] in 
progress — some purple iris and a lilac 
busb, two motifs I've taken from the gar- 
den."' At first he did not dare to leave the 
monastery grounds and found motifs at 
his window, in the corridors of the hos- 
pital, or in the garden itself. As he wrote 
to Theo on May 25, 

Since I've been here, the desolate garden of 
large pines, under which a mixture of grass 
and various weeds grows tall and unkempt, 
has provided me with enough to work at, 
and I have not yet strayed beyond it. But 
the scenery of Saint-Remy is very beautiful, 
and I shall probably make my way into it 
by easy stages.' 

From Paris Theo passed on to Vin- 
cent whatever he heard about the open- 
ing of the 1889 "Salon des Inde- 
pendants," where both Irises and Starry 
Night (1889; Museum of Modern Art, 
New York) were on display. "The exhibi- 
tion by the Independants is over, and I 
have your Iris back," he wrote, singling 
out tbe canvas he particularly admired. 
"It's one of your good things. I find 
you're at your best when you do real 
things like that.... The form is so well 
chosen, the whole canvas full of color."^ 



No. 90. Vincent van Gogh 
Irises, 1889 



A month before entering Saint- 
Remy, at the very end of his Aries period, 
Van Gogh had done a painting called 
The Iris (The National Gallery of 
Canada, Ottawa). Irises made a final 
appearance in his work when, shortly 
before leaving Saint-Remy, he painted 
them lovingly in "two still lifes: large 
bouquets of purple iris"; one of them 

some against a pink background, where the 
effect is gentle and harmonious because of 
the combination of greens, pinks, and 
purples [The Metropolitan Museum of 
Art, New York], while in the other 
[Rijksmuseum Vincent Van Gogh, Am- 
sterdam] the purple bouquet {a purple bor- 
dering on carmine and pure Prussian blue), 
which stands out against a striking lemon 
yellow background.... illustrates the effect 
of awful, ill-sorted complementarities 
elated by their opposition."* 

Interestingly enough. Irises 
belonged to Octave Mirbeau, a great 
flower-lover, before becoming part of the 
famous collections of Auguste Pellerin 
and Jacques Doucet. 


1. Van Gogh, 1960, letter 591. 

2. Ibid., letter 592 F. 

3. Ibid., letter from Theo to Vincent. 

4. Ibid., letter 633 F. 

91-93. Claude Monet 

The Garden at Giverny 

(LeJardin A Giverny), 1900 
Monet's Garden at Giverny 
(LeJardin de Monet a Giverny), 1900 
Japanese Bridge at Giverny 
(Le Pontjaponais, Giverny), c. 1900 

Monsieur Monet, may neither winter 
Nor summer delude his vision. 
Lives, painting, at Giverny, 
Located near Vernon in Eure. 

— Mallarme 

When Monet wrote to Caillebotte from 
Giverny inviting the latter to see his 
irises (no. 87), he undoubtedly had in 

mind the blue-mauve variety planted 
close together along the narrow paths 
leading to his green-shuttered, pink 
house.' (The nasturtia in various oranges 
had not yet taken over the main path- 
way.) A letter from Monet sent to the 
dealer Maurice Joyant in 1896 confirms 
not only the artist's taste for irises, but 
also the influence of the Orient, in the 
form of his Japanese print collection, on 
the garden at Giverny: "I thank you for 
having thought of me for the Hokusai 
flowers," he wrote. "But you do not 
mention poppies, and they are most im- 
portant, since I already have irises and 

Monet moved to the village of 
Giverny, on the Ile-de-France — Nor- 
mandy border, in April 1883. "I am in 
ecstasy," he wrote to the critic Duret a 
month later. "Giverny is a splendid 
region for me."^ During every absence 
his letters showed the attachment he felt 
for the place. At last, in the autumn of 
1890, "certain never to find comparable 
living arrangements or so beautiful a 
region" (as he wrote to Durand-Ruel on 
October ly), Monet decided to pur- 
chase the house he formerly had rented. 
Immediately he redoubled his efforts to 
make over the garden that came with it. 
Mirbeau's description of this gar- 
den, published in the March 7, 1891, is- 
sue of L'Art dans les deux mondes, 
closely corresponds to the vision offered 
by Monet's paintings of it: 

A house roughcast in pink mortar at the far 
end of a garden always dazzling with flow- 
ers. It is spring. The stock is giving off its 
final fragrance; the peonies — the divine 
peonies — have faded; gone are the hya- 
cinths. Now the nasturtia and eschscholtz- 
ias have begun to bloom, the former 
displaying their young, bronze verdure, the 
latter their delightful, tart green linear 
leaves. And in the broad beds they border, 
against the background of a blossoming 
orchard, the iris lift their strange, shapely 
petals trimmed in white, mauve, lilac, yel- 
low, and blue and stippled with dots and 

dabs of brown and crimson, their elaborate 
undersides conjuring up mysterious analo- 
gies, perverse, seductive dreams like the 
dreams hovering over provocative 

Fifty or so years later, another famous 
Giverny resident, the poet Louis Aragon, 
described Monet's garden from a dif- 
ferent point of view in his autobiograph- 
ical novel Aurelien (1944): 

When [Berenice] reached the beautiful gar- 
den cut in two by the road, she stopped and 
looked to her left at the bridge, the water, 
the airy trees, the delicate buds, the water 
plants. Then she glanced toward the house 
belonging to the tall old man she had often 
seen from a distance and who was the talk 
of the region. ...She saw the blue flowers. 
The earth freshly turned beneath them. 
Blue flowers around about. The small path 
leading to the house. The bright lawn. And 

more blue flowers The light was so 

lovely on the flowers. ...Blue flowers would 
give way to pink. Pink flowers to white. 
And each time it was as if the garden had 
suddenly been repainted.. ..Berenice began 
to dream. To forget her troubles. To hum a 
song she'd never heard. Amidst the blue 
flowers. The finely pebbled paths. Face to 
face with a house so like the houses in her 
dreams.. ..But it was not a dream. Aurelien 
was there, in the garden of Claude Monet, 
looking at her, with tears in his eyes. The 
flowers were blue, indisputably blue.*^ 

In 1893 Monet undertook to put in 
a second garden, a water garden, at 
Giverny. Within this garden was a 
wooden footbridge, yet another testa- 
ment to the artist's interest in Japan. Its 
design appears to have been inspired by 
the prints of Hokusai and Hiroshige. 


1. Berhaut, 1978, p. 248. 

2. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. Ill, p. 289. 

3. Ibid., p. 259. 

4. Ibid. 

5. Mirbeau, 1891, pp. 183-185. 

6. Aragon, 1944, chap. 63. 



No. 91. Claude Monet 

The Garde.n at Giverny, 1900 



No. 92. Claude Monet 

Monet's Garden at Givern^', 1900 



No. 93. Claude Monet 

Japanese Bridge at Giverny, c. 1900 







-,, ^^ ^.'■^^. 


The Fields of France 

IT IS SCARCELY NOVEL to Say that France is — almost above all else — an 
agricultural nation. The fabulous extent of her fields, orchards, and cul- 
tivated forests has been celebrated in countless pages of prose and po- 
etry, and her ability to revel in an abundance of food has often been 
discussed in writings about her, particularly since the famines that led to the 
French Revolution. The French countryside has been contrasted by French 
writers time after time with the smaller, more irregular, and less fertile ter- 
ritories of Italy, Germany, and England. It has been claimed that France is the 
heartland of all Europe, the largest, most diverse, and agriculturally most 
independent nation on the Continent. Her wines, cheeses, breads, sausages, 
vegetables, and fruits are fabled. 

As if in silent support of such notions, the French reveled in images of 
their nation's fields during the nineteenth century. Agricultural abundance 
was celebrated in literally thousands of landscape paintings, prints, and pho- 
tographs. The Impressionists were as assiduous as other artists in catering to 
this rich — and saleable — notion of la belle France. The agricultural land- 
scapes they produced are fascinating chiefly because they are not topographi- 
cal. It scarcely matters in looking at a field of grain painted by Monet, Sisley, 
or Pissarro to know that it was painted outside Argenteuil, Saint-Mammes, 
or Osny. What is important is that one enjoys the beauty of the fields, not the 
beauty of a particular field. In this way the agricultural images of the Impres- 
sionists have a greater mythic quality than do their images of villages, towns, 
or suburbs that are topographically titled. 

The primary message of agricultural images is simple: the continuing 
fecundity of the earth. Landscapes with blooming fruit trees or wheat har- 
vests speak clearly to any viewer about the habitual richness of nature as well 



It PKm. cnm Is caudti d 'u Juiniil tun •tou, t'AOiUCUlTlTRE lODEBSI 

Fig. 54. Modern Agriculture ("What did you 
do, neighbor, to have such beautiful wheat?" 
"You only have to do as I do-, friend: follow 
the advice of the one-sou journal, Modern 
Agriculture."). Illustration from Supplement 
illustre du Petit journal, April 1897. 
Bibliotheque Nationale, Oa22 (731). Photo: 
Bibliotheque Nationale. 

as man's civilizing influence over her. A painting of a wheat harvest celebrates 
the control or ordering of nature by men in no less important a way than an 
industrial image or a painting of suburban leisure addresses itself to man's 
dommance over other aspects of nature: resources, climate, space. Agricul- 
ture, like industry, was part of French nationalist rhetoric and its associated 
imagery throughout the 1800s, and each major world exposition — whether 
in London, Paris, Philadelphia, or Chicago — devoted as much space and 
attention to agricultural as to industrial progress. In fact, it became fashion- 
able to refer to agriculture as "agricultural industry" during this period.^ 

The positivist concept of nature during the nineteenth century is 
important to understand before proceeding to an analysis of agricultural im- 
agery in Impressionist paintings. This concept is perhaps most clearly em- 
bodied in the popular French "scientific" journal founded in 1874 by"Gustav 
Tissandier and called simply La Nature. Whereas most twentieth-century 
Americans understand nature to be the animated world untouched by man, 
the nineteenth-century positivist concept of nature — a concept accepted 
implicitly by most Frenchmen at the time of the Impressionists — considered 
man and his works to be part of nature. This view included both agriculture 
and industry in la nature, rather than treating them as man's attempts to 
order and control the wilds of "true" nature. Reading the texts written for La 
Nature and looking at its numerous illustrations is fascinating because so 
much of what was included has little to do with our own notions of wild or 
untamed nature as expressed in the wilderness areas and lists of endangered 
species of flora and fauna that dominate our present-day consciousness. In 
La Nature there are both articles about and plates illustrating machines, fac- 
tories, microscopes, and tools in addition to plants, animals, and landscapes. 

In fact, the vast majority of books and articles written about agricul- 
ture in France during the time of the Impressionists was about the mechaniza- 
tion and modernization of agricultural practices (fig. 54). Impelled forward 
by the great advances made in the industrialization of American agriculture, 
the French pushed to alter the traditional practices of peasants, farmers, and 
large landowners in their own country. Books by hundreds of diverse authors 
as well as local and national periodicals gave out information about irriga- 
tion, chemical fertilizers, hybrid plants, rotating crop management, and, of 
course, mechanized planting and harvesting. The plates in these volumes look 
like illustrations in scientific texts, alternating as they do between graphs or 
diagrams and reproductions of new machines (fig. 55). Rarely, if ever, does 
one see a field, an orchard, or a garden — and almost never does one see a 
human being — in these illustrations, despite the fact that they describe a 
human activity which had been the work of the hands and bodies of men for 

This "agricultural revolution" was perhaps as important to the 
French as the Industrial Revolution. It may have been more important. Pain- 
fully aware that France had been surpassed by England, Germany, and — 
even more embarrassingly — the United States as an industrial power, French 
officials gave a great deal of their attention not only to keeping abreast of, but 
to surpassing the rest of the world in, the quality and per capita quantity of 
their country's agricultural production. Both nineteenth- and twentieth-cen- 
tury readers of French novels are familiar with the satires of the "scientific 
farmer" to be found in the writings of Flaubert (Bouvard et Pecuchet [1881]) 
and Zola {L'Oeuvre and La Terre), and these unflattering portraits were 
joined by hundreds of earnest monographs written by "modern" farm- 



QcjL^gi Fig. 55. Swinging Steam Plow by Delahaye- 
^ Bajac. Illustration from La Grande 
Encyclopedie, Paris, 1886-1902. 
Bibliotheque Nationale, Md43. 

ers and agricultural theorists for the edification of their less fortunate col- 
leagues. Indeed, an illustration from the April 1897 edition of the mass-cir- 
culation Le Petit Journal (fig. 54) reveals the extent of the popular dichotomy 
between modern and traditional agriculture. 

Yet the tendency toward modernization was not quite so successful in 
France as its promoters either hoped or claimed. In actuality French farmers 
had difficulty in acquiring large enough parcels of land to put mechanized 
agricultural practices to work, and the fact that the literacy rate for rural 
workers and farmers was not very high rendered the audience for much of 
this expensively illustrated prose too small for it to be truly effective. How- 
ever — and in spite of the suspicion, ignorance, and plain stubbornness that 
fought against these new tendencies — French agriculture was alive with the 
spirit of modernism, and statistics indicate clearly that the number of mecha- 
nized harvesting and threshing machines as well as tractors and advanced 
plows increased steadily as the nineteenth century progressed.^ 

It is against this background of fervent modernism that one must con- 
sider the agricultural landscapes of the Impressionists. Although in 1876 
Pissarro painted two rather timid farmyard scenes centered on a mechanical 
harvesting machine (machine a battre) (fig. 56) used on the large farm in 
Brittany owned by his friend Ludovic Piette,^ there are few, if any, machines 
in the numerous Impressionist landscapes representing the fields of France. It 
is almost as if Monet had painted railroad stations and railroad bridges, but 
had omitted the trains that passed through them. This exclusion of modern 
agricultural equipment is evident as well in the Impressionist agricultural 
landscapes in which tilling or plowing is present. Never, in all the paintings 
with plows by Pissarro, is there a single one of recent invention, and never are 
they being pulled by anything other than horses or pushed by anyone other 
than men. This fact must be evaluated in light of the fact that more plows 
were invented, patented, and improved in the nineteenth century than could 
adequately be described in a single volume.'* The Impressionists pictorialized 
agriculture in its pre-modern, or traditional, forms, and it seems from their 
paintings, drawings, and prints that they either ignored, or were utterly igno- 
rant of, the considerable advances in this area evident in the popular press 
and official statistics of their time.^ 



Fig. 56. Hare, Steam Harvesting Machine, 

Made by Ransomes and Sims, with Patented 

Apparatus for Cutting and Stacking Straw. 

Illustration from La Grande Encyclopedie, 

Paris, 1886-1902. 

This lack of interest in agricultural modernization on the part of the 
Impressionists is perhaps most puzzling for Pissarro. As both a painter of 
factories and reader of socialist texts which celebrated what came to be 
known as the agro-industrial revolution, Pissarro seems to have been more 
interested than his colleagues in an integration of the then-separate worlds of 
urban and agricultural modernism. Yet his paintings do not address them- 
selves clearly to such ideas. Among the handful of truly integrated images in 
his oeuvre are two slight preparatory drawings, in the Ashmolean Museum of 
Art and Archaeology, Oxford, and the Musee du Louvre, Paris, respectively, 
for The Pea Harvesters (1887; Location unknown). In the Ashmolean sheet a 
group of harvesters works by hand in a field immediately in front of a factory. 
Pissarro has juxtaposed industry — a smokestack indicates the presence of 
machinery — and the hand labor of agricultural workers, as if accepting 
implicitly the ideology expressed in the communist villages of Robert Owen 
(whose work he had read), in which all inhabitants engaged in both agricul- 
ture and industry. However, the initial visual contrast must have been too 
sharp for him because — in the final gouache for which this drawing was 
made — he replaced the factory with a simple house, thereby giving the com- 
position an unproblematically rural, even elegiac, quality. The agro-indus- 
trial landscape, advocated most passionately by the great anarchist-theorist 
Peter Kropotkin (with whose work Pissarro also was familiar), is implied, but 
never clearly expressed, in Impressionist landscape painting.* 

A persistent dichotomy existed in nineteenth-century writings about 
agriculture between agriculture and horticulture (or jardinage, gardening). 
For most writers about rural life and agricultural techniques the word ag- 
riculture applied to large-scale field cultivation which necessitated the work 
of machines or large numbers of agricultural laborers. Horticulture applied 
less to ornamental gardening (see above, III/6) than to jardins potagers, or 
truck gardens, worked by one, two, or a family of laborers. This latter form 
of intensive polyculture grew up around the large cities of Europe and was 
the dominant form of agriculture in the environs of Paris (no. 74). Horticul- 
ture supplied the majority of produce for the Parisian market.^ The most 
distinctive painter of French horticultural activity was Pissarro; his land- 
scapes of the tiny polyculture fields around Pontoise have already been dis- 
cussed (see above, III/5). 



Figs. 57-60. Pissarro, The Four Seasons: 
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, 1872—73. 
Oil on canvas. Each 55.3 x 130.2 cm. Private 
Collection, Spain. Photos: Robert Schmit, 





When one looks at The Four Seasons, painted by Pissarro in 1872—73 
for the Parisian banker Achille Arosa — one confronts a truly mythic, agricul- 
tural landscape. Spring (fig. 57) represents a landscape of planted and fallow 
fields in the midst of which fruit trees bloom in profusion. The eye wanders 
easily through this spacious, open panorama of the richness of the earth as it 
begins to awaken. Simimer and Autumn (figs. 58—59) are dominated by the 
vast wheat fields of the Vexin. In Summer the ripe heads of the wheat — heavy 
and ready for harvest — sway in the wind to the right of a roadway that 
moves back into a space so deep that it makes an American viewer think 
more of the landscape of Kansas or Nebraska than of France. Autumn shows 
us the same landscape after a rich, collective harvest. The haystacks are so 
numerous that they appear to go on forever, and the land is being plowed — 
primitively, of course — in preparation for the planting of winter wheat. Only 
in Winter (fig. 60) does one descend into a valley near Pontoise, where the 
houses of men huddle together against the cold. 

This series of paintings — surely among the greatest produced by 
Pissarro during the 1870s — conveys a majesterial, nationalist belief in the 
richness of France, a belief which was common among the Impressionists, in 
fact (see above, II). Although one can explain the particularly grand nature of 
these paintings by suggesting that their patron may have dictated their sub- 
jects, one must remember that Pissarro had wanted to fight for France during 
the Franco-Prussian War and that, while living in self-imposed exile in Eng- 
land just one year before they were begun, he longed desperately to return to 
France. Although born outside that country, never a French citizen, and a 
frequent critic of her governments, Pissarro's belief in France was 
unwavering, and his paintings of her rural landscapes — whether these of 
1872—73 or later paintings such as the great Harvest (Location unknown) 
painted for the Impressionist exhibition of 1880 — make it clear that he cele- 
brated her through images of wheat fields and orchards. 

While Pissarro's colleagues Monet, Renoir, and Sisley joined in this 
pictorial festival of the fields of France, the artist who devoted his energies 
most fervently to their poetry was Monet. His paintings of the fields and fruit 
trees surrounding Argenteuil have been much discussed.'^ It was not, however, 
until his arrival in Giverny (nos. 91—93) that he gave himself over to the 
pictorialization of the grain fields bordered by trees that surrounded that vil- 
lage. His paintings of these fields were made in all seasons, even in the dead of 
winter, and culminated in his first series of interrelated paintings representing 
grainstacks (nos. 104—112). They are surely the most mythic agricultural im- 
ages in the history of art. In them the sheltering form of the haystack has 
become a symbol for man's triumph over time. It stands against the frigidness 
of winter days, irradiating a gentle warmth as the seasons change around it. 

In this connection one further point is relevant to this discussion, and 
that revolves around the temporal structure of the landscape. Virtually every 
book written about landscape painting in nineteenth-century France divides 
landscape "time" into eight parts: the four seasons and their "equivalents," 
the four times of the day: morning, afternoon, evening, and night. These 
formed what the great landscape theorist Valenciennes (see above, III/l) 
called "the varied and regular moments that form the chain of our lives."* For 
most landscape painters of the period the truest and most convenient expres- 
sion of the seasonal changes in nature was agriculture, and the cycle of plant- 
ing, blooming, tiUing, and harvest became emblematic of natural or seasonal 
time. The Impressionists were well aware of this tradition — its most potent 



French example was Poussin's Four Seasons (1660—64; Musee du Louvre, 
Paris), which they all must have known. 

Thus the Impressionists' approach to the pictorialization of the ag- 
ricultural landscape had its roots in both the technological and the theoretical 
past. Landscapes which confronted modernity in the agricultural arena head- 
on, which integrated factory and field, came to be the province of the painters 
whom we call the Post-Impressionists as a result of their greater political con- 
sciousness. There are several compositions by Seurat, Luce, Van Gogh, and 
others in which a foreground of vast grain fields ends in a group of factories 
and working-class housing. Although they ignored them, actual landscapes 
of this type were common in the regions painted by the Impressionists; 
Pissarro could easily have painted such scenes in the region around Saint- 
Ouen-l'Aumone, just across the Oise from Pontoise, and Monet, who often 
placed factories, pleasure boats, and country houses in the same landscapes, 
could have painted his factories from the fields just as he painted them from 
the river. The important exceptions to this rule — Monet's Path Through The 
Vineyard (1872; Jack Chrysler, New York) is one — are rare. The Impression- 
ists considered the fields most often in isolation from the modern world — 
whether from factories or from advanced machinery — and chose to celebrate 
the richness of France in generalized, but traditional, terms. 

— R. B. 


1. See particularly Durand-Claye, 1880. 

2. See Noilhan, 1965. 

3. Pissarro and Venturi 267-268. 

4. See Grandroinnet, 1854, as well as later writing by the same author in his widely read 
journal Le Genie rural, published between 1858 and 1875. 

5. See Noilhan, 1965. 

6. See Kropotkin, 1906. 

7. SeeBarrau, 1883. 

8. Most recently in Tucker, 1982. 

9. Valenciennes, 1800, p. 427. 


94. Claude Monet 

Landscape, View of the Argenteuil 

(Paysage, vue de la plaine a 
Argenteuil), 1872 

This is among Monet's earliest — and 
most unusual — views of the suburban 
town of Argenteuil; generally he pre- 
ferred her river-scape to her landscape 
(see above, III/4). As an agricultural cen- 
ter Argenteuil was better known for its 
cultivation 'of that most luxurious of 
vegetables, asparagus, than for its grain. 
Yet immense grain fields could be found 
near its borders. 

Monet chose to climb a hill just 
north of the town on a path leading to 
the village of Sannois when he painted 
this landscape. The view that he found 
was wonderfully spacious. The warmth 
of a summer day seems to spread evenly 
over this picture, illuminating it with a 
hazy indifference. The antecedents for 
such scenes are numerous; one thinks 
immediately of the famous views of 
Haarlam painted in the second half of 
the seventeenth century by Jacob van 
Ruisdael and of the numerous European 
topographical prints and drawings from 
the seventeenth through the nineteenth 
centuries in which a city is viewed from 
the vantage point of a rich agricultural 
panorama. The notions conveyed by all 
these general sources is that urban 
civilization exists as an integral part of 
its landscape, and that the richness of 
one is dependent upon the other. Monet, 
who had barely become interested in 
exploring the poetry of the fields before 
doing this painting, seemed moved by 
the same optimism and nationalism that 
motivated Pissarro to paint The Four 
Seasons in the same year (see above, III/ 
7). Like the latter he had returned only 
recently to France after an exile in Eng- 
land and Holland during the Eranco- 
Prussian War and the Commune. 

This expansive image of an almost 
lazy abundance is viewed from above as 
if to encourage our easy descent into, 
and participation in, its riches. Monet's 
treatment recalls an eloquent description 
by Couture of a hypothetical landscape 
with a great city viewed from the ele- 
vated perspective of a nearby hill. His 
words, published in his famous book on 
landscape painting (1869), are worthy of 

Space allows me to embrace all without 
trouble. ...Nature, you are immense and 
full of variety. You show me all your trea- 
sures. Indeed, they deploy themselves in 
front of my eyes, strangely enough, like a 
gallery. That immense museum of air and 
space seems to contain all the works of our 


1. Couture, 1869, pp. 18-19. 

95. Camille Pissarro 

Harvest Landscape at Pontoise 

(Paysage, la moisson, Pontoise), 1873 

Like The Red House (no. 62), Harvest 
Landscape at Pontoise was purchased 
from Pissarro by Jean-Baptiste Eaure and 
is therefore among the dozen or so major 
paintings from Pissarro's greatest period, 
the early years of the 1 870s, to have been 
recognized early on by an important con- 
noisseur (see below, IV). In painting it 
Pissarro walked from I'Ermitage to the 
hamlet just north of Pontoise known as 
Les Patis and climbed the gently sloping 
hillside leading to the village of Osny. 
When he reached a point about halfway 
up the hill, he turned around and looked 
down into the cool valley formed by the 
rivulet known as the Viosne. Scattered 
along this small tributary of the Oise 
River were dozens of water-powered 
grain mills, many of which had been in 
existence since the Middle Ages. Pissarro 
had painted this landscape from nearly 
the same spot in 1868, and that painting, 
known as Landscape in Les Patis, 
Pontoise (David Rockefeller Collection, 
New York), is among his great works of 
the late 1860s. 

In returning to the spot of an earlier 
"conquest," Pissarro came armed with 
new knowledge and a new technique. 
Whereas the earlier painting was con- 
structed with what seemed almost to be 
slabs of paint, the later one is subtler and 
more detailed in its recording of nature. 
The fields vibrate with life, and the dis- 
tant landscape seems almost to shift with 
a delicate, uniform rhythm. Yet the 
major changes made by Pissarro in his 
conception of a landscape had to do with 
composition. The earlier painting shows 
his almost diagrammatical concern with 
the juxtaposition of spatial planes — 
foreground, middle ground, and back- 

ground — each of which was given a rec- 
tangular area of the picture surface. In 
the later painting Pissarro dispensed 
with a strong foreground plane and 
divided it by a series of gently curved, 
rather than straight, lines. Pissarro's 
landscapes had become "easier" and 
more visually unified under the influence 
of Monet and Sisley. 

It is perhaps worth pointing out 
that, for all its traditional rural charm — 
its lack, that is, of any modern build- 
ings — this landscape relates almost di- 
rectly to contemporary guidebook lit- 
erature. Joanne's Les Environs de Paris 
iUustres — the updated edition of which 
appeared in 1872, the year before this 
picture was painted — recommended 
that the visitor to Pontoise take one 
particularly long walk from the train sta- 
tion, a walk along which both versions 
of this landscape were painted. Although 
Joanne's prose has a kind of thudding, 
guidebook simplicity, it is perhaps worth 

A visitor can also climb the valley of the 
Viosne up to Osny. It's a walk of about two 
hours (coming and going).... Osny, with a 
population of 467, is charmingly situated 
in the valley of the Viosne along which turn 
several water mills. From Osny, one returns 
to Pontoise by the right bank of the 

Pissarro's painting, of course, was made 
from the right bank of the Viosne, look- 
ing down at all the mills along the small 
river. He had already painted one of 
these mills in 1868 (The Patis Mill Near 
Pontoise [Location unknown]). 


I.A.Joanne, 1881, pp. 232-233. 

96. Camille Pissarro 


(Gelee blanche), 1873 

Exhibited in the first Impressionist exhi- 
bition of 1874, this picture might be said 
to embody Pissarro's entire aesthetic. 
Shunning as it does any hint of moder- 
nity — there are neither promenaders on 
vacation nor trains nor factories to be 
seen — this landscape is intensely rural. 
There are no buildings to give us a sense 
of place or history. In fact, this painting 
depicts the old road to the village of 
Ennery, a road rarely painted by 
Pissarro, but clearly evident on nine- 




i'fiH^^.^^lW^jie- ' 



No. 94. Claude Monet 

Landscape, View of the Arcenteuil Plain, 1872 



No. 95. Camille Pissarro 

Harvest Landscape at Pontoise, 1873 
(detail on pp. 24-25) 



No. 96. Camille Pissarro 

Hoarfrost, 1873 



teenth-century cadastral maps of 
Pontoise and its environs. The road had 
been supplanted by a newer route (no. 
65) and had dwindled in significance un- 
til it was little more than a path when 
Pissarro chose to paint it in 1873. The 
time of year was autumn or early winter, 
and one can see the top of a haystack 
from one of the large grain fields near 
Ennery peeking over the hill just above 
the figure of a worker. 

The landscape is not only carefully 
composed, but full of information. The 
fields have been carefully plowed, and 
the remains of the last harvest are de- 
composing to enrich the earth for the 
next planting. The worker plods along 
the path, a bundle of faggots on his back. 
How different he is from the faggot car- 
riers in the winter landscape of Millet's 
Four Seasons (1868-74; National 
Museum of Wales, Cardiff) painted 
about the same time, how much less bur- 
dened than they and how much more a 
part of the landscape! 

We know from Pissarro's title that it 
is early morning — hoarfrost disappears 
shortly after the first appearance of the 
sun — and that therefore the worker is 
going to the fields, over which are cast 
the shadows of a row of poplars just 
behind the painter and outside our field 
of vision. Pissarro was criticized for his 
inclusion of shadows from forms outside 
the picture itself, and his decision to sug- 
gest a world beyond the frame must be 
seen as part of the developing naturalist 
aesthetic of the 1870s. These poplars are 
a rural equivalent of the foot of the ballet 
dancer pushing into the frame from the 
right in Degas' Dancers Rehearsing with 
a Violinist (1878-79; Frick Collection, 
New York) or the reflections in the mir- 
rors of Manet's and Caillebotte's cafe 
scenes. A golden light warms Pissarro's 
picture, lending to it an optimism at odds 
with its wintry subject: the hoarfrost will 
disappear in a moment, Pissarro sug- 
gests, and spring will come soon. 

This painting, like nos. 62 and 95, 
was in the collection of the opera singer 

97. Camille Pissarro 

Harvest at Montfoucault 

(La Moisson a Montfoucault) , 1876 

This is surely among Pissarro's most 

elemental agricultural landscapes. 
Painted at the farm, called Montfou- 
cault, of his friend Piette, the picture rep- 
resents an agricultural laborer, finished 
with her task and facing the viewer as if 
somehow to present us with the results 
of her work. Hand-formed bales of hay 
have been stacked neatly to create a hay- 
stack, and this generous mound has been 
juxtaposed with an immense green tree 
and a gently undulating wooded land- 
scape. The hay is yellow, the trees are a 
deep, rich green, the sky is blue, and the 
clouds are white. Indeed, all the richness 
and subtlety characteristic of many 
Impressionist palettes was eschewed by 
Pissarro in this picture, in which the clar- 
irs' and autonomy of each form are com- 
municated clearly by means of appro- 
priate local color. There are few passages 
of reflected light. The painting was ex- 
ecuted not only with large brushes, but 
also with a palette knife, the result being 
that the paint generously sculpts the 
forms of the landscape. 

Montfoucault is located near the 
village of Foucault, which is a few ki- 
lometers from Mayenne in eastern Brit- 
tany. Pissarro painted many of his most 
descriptive landscapes of rural civiliza- 
tion at this site, whose surrounding area 
of isolated farms had a qualit>' more in 
keeping with the English landscapes of 
John Constable than with anything in 
the lie de France. Harvest at Mont- 
foucault, without a doubt the most con- 
fident and brilliant painting made by 
Pissarro in that region, was chosen by 
him for inclusion in the Impressionist 
exhibition of 1877 and, shortly there- 
after, entered the distinguished collection 
of Caillebotte, who bequeathed it to the 
Musee du Louvre, Paris, in 1894 (no. 

98. Camille Pissarro 
Kitchen Garden and Flowering 
Trees, Spring, Pontoise 
(potacer et arbres en fleurs, 
PRiNTEMPs, Pontoise), i877 

If Harvest at Montfoucault (no. 97) is 
an elemental landscape about the abun- 
dance of the earth at harvest time, the 
climax of the agricultural cycle, this com- 
position carries the breath — and the op- 
timism — of spring. Centered on an im- 
mense apple tree very much like many 

that still stand where it was painted, the 
picture was executed in an orchard at the 
foot of the Cote des Grouettes in 
I'Ermitage (see above, III/5). The same 
motif was also painted by Cezanne {Path 
of the Ravine, View of I'Ermitage, 
Pontoise [c. 1877; Galerie Neupert, 
Zurich]), and a comparison between his 
and Pissarro's landscapes is often made 
in the literature devoted to Impression- 
ism. Pissarro's is magnificently confident 
as a composition, dominated by the 
great tree that rises higher than the hill- 
side to graze the top of the picture. The 
landscape is the tree, and its flowers 
hurst forth from the center of the paint- 
ing until they utterly dominate it. How 
different it is from the balanced array of 
branches and architectural masses that 
make up Cezanne's slightly later treat- 
ment of the same motif. 

Kitchen Garden and Floivering 
Trees, Spring, Pontoise was executed 
with hundreds of tiny, overlapping 
strokes, some of which consist of 
unmixed pigment applied directly to the 
picture surface, while others were care- 
fully mixed from several pigments on the 
brush before being applied to the paint- 
ing. Pissarro felt this work to be so suc- 
cessful, so completely resolved, that he 
chose it for inclusion in the Impressionist 
exhibition of 1879, in which he showed 
a small selection of his best work from 
the past decade. Like Harvest at 
Montfoucault, it was purchased by 
Caillebotte and bequeathed to the Musee 
du Louvre. 

99. Alfred Sisley 

Springtime near Paris — Flowering 

Apple Trees 

(Printemps aux environs de Paris — 

pommiers en fleurs), 1879 

This softly painted landscape is, as its ti- 
tle suggests, a fervent evocation of spring 
and its preeminent symbol for the 
Frenchman, apple blossoms. The pic- 
ture's site IS unspecified, and it is only 
possible to date it by analogy with a 
signed and dated painting of the same 
landscape that represents the same sea- 
son. Spring Rain, Environs of Paris 
(1879; Private Collection, Paris). Prob- 
ably painted in one of the many verdant 
valleys near Sevres or Saint-Cloud where 
Sisley was painting during 1879, 



No. 97. Camille Pissarro 

Harvest at Montfoucault, 1876 



No. 98. Camille Pissarro 

Kitchen Garden and Flowering Trees, Spring, Pontoise. 1877 



No. 99. Alfred Sislcy 

Springtime NEAR Paris — Flowering Apple Trees, 1879 



springtime near Paris, Flowering Apple 
Trees shows little concern for topog- 
raphy. We are not on a path with a name. 
We see no important buildings. Yet the 
presence of a recently built country resi- 
dence of three stories suggests that the 
landscape is, at least in a way, suburban 
rather than strictly rural. 

Unlike Pissarro (no. 98) and Monet 
(no. 100), who seem to have been almost 
unconcerned with the sky in their spring 
landscapes included here, Sisley was anx- 
ious to place his orchard in a larger land- 
scape under a changing spring sky. The 
small clusters of cumulus clouds animate 
it just as the white blossoms add life to 
the landscape below, and — as is so often 
the case with Sisley's spring and summer 
landscapes — one almost feels a breeze 
wafting through the branches and jos- 
tling the blossoms. More informally 
composed and hence less mythic than 
Pissarro's Kitchen Garden and Flower- 
ing Trees, Spring, Pontoise (no. 98), 
Sisley's painting captures the gentlest 
aspects of spring in the environs of Paris. 

100. Claude Monet 

Flowering Apple Trees 

(pommiers en fleurs), 1872 

Painted in Monet's first spring in Argen- 
teuil, Floicering Apple Trees is among 
the most unabashedly rural of his many 
representations of that town. Paul 
Tucker has discussed the extent to which 
Monet ranged throughout the country- 
side surrounding Argenteuil during his 
first years there.' Unlike a great many of 
his paintings made in the fields, which 
show the town itself or elements of it 
(no. 94), this picture has no intrusions of 
the town-scape, either modern or tradi- 
tional. Its motif is a small chemin, or 
path, probably near the slopes of the 
Colline d'Orgemont north of Argenteuil. 
The path moves through several small 
fields used for a polyculture of fruits and 
vegetables and ends at the motif of the 
picture, blooming apple trees. 

Unlike Pissarro and Sisley, who 
included human figures in most of their 
evocations of spring, Monet has allowed 
us to be alone in the fields. The blossoms 
flutter gently, and the path entices us into 

a landscape that is among the most be- 
nign and beautiful painted by the artist. 


1. Tucker, 1982, pp. 9-56. 

101. Georges Seurat 

The Alfalfa Field near Saint-Denis 

(La Luzerne a Saint Denis), 1885 

The title of this landscape tells us clearly 
that it represents an alfalfa (alternatively, 
lucerne) field near the town of Saint- 
Denis just north of Paris. Although asso- 
ciated with the French aristocracy since 
the Middle Ages and the site of the great 
burial cathedral of the French kings, 
Saint-Denis was widely industrialized in 
the nineteenth century and also was sur- 
rounded by very large grain fields. The 
town and its countryside were among the 
least picturesque and most modern in the 
environs of Pans, and it is therefore no 
accident that Monet, Renoir, Sisley, and 
Pissarro never painted there. The guide- 
books directed the tourist to Abbot 
Suger's great cathedral and to one or two 
restaurants, but found no charming rural 
walks to recommend in the bleak, flat 
landscape surrounding the town. In this 
painting Seurat has avoided both the 
cathedral, a considerable "event" in the 
landscape, and the town itself, framing 
instead a group of undistinguished, but 
geometrically clear, buildings of recent 
date in the deep recesses of his compo- 

Seurat reveled in the very bleakness 
of his motif. His horizon line, fully three- 
quarters of the distance from the bottom 
of the picture, is virtually straight, and 
the immense field shows no paths or 
other means of access. Bordered by the 
distant houses and small factory, the 
field is almost a barrier to the viewer, 
preventing access to the "human-scape." 
How different it is from the grain fields 
with poppies painted by Monet and Re- 
noir (no. 103)! Even the tree at the right 
of the composition is isolated and, uhi- 
mately, uninteresting. 

In choosing to paint an alfalfa field, 
Seurat was undoubtedly attracted by the 
fact that alfalfa blooms. Its reddish-pur- 
ple flowers interact powerfully with the 
deep green of its leaves and stems, pro- 

viding a painter of Seurat's special inter- 
ests with a chaynp de vision (see above, I) 
that would vibrate with two conflicting 
colors, each with its own opposite. In 
order to paint this field according to the 
optical laws he employed, Seurat needed 
four colors — the "local" purple and 
green and their opposites, yellow and 
red-orange. Both the composition and 
the complex, interlocking facture indi- 
cate that Seurat was interested in the 
subject as much for its color as for its 
associations with agricultural abun- 
dance or seasonality. Nevertheless the 
sheer splendor and the expanse of this 
field make it an agricultural image of 
mythic proportions. 

102. Paul Gauguin 

Farm at arles 
(Ferme a Arles), 1888 

Gauguin painted this elemental agricul- 
tural landscape near Aries, where he 
worked together with Van Gogh in 
November and December 1888. His 
painting of a grainstack juxtaposed 
against a mas, or Provencal farm dwell- 
ing, is among the most fully resolved of 
his canvases from that two-month period 
spent in the south of France. 

Gauguin's impetus for creating such 
a picture came from two sources. The 
first of these was Van Gogh, whose clas- 
sically composed agricultural landscape 
with grain fields and a haystack, Harvest 
at La Crau (Rijksmuseum Vincent van 
Gogh, Amsterdam), was painted in June 
1888 just before his powerful repre- 
sentation of haystacks themselves, Hay- 
stacks in Provence (Rijksmuseum 
Kroller-Muller, Otterlo).^ Yet the exam- 
ple of Van Gogh cannot explain 
Gauguin's painting completely. Indeed, 
the writhing contours and bloated vol- 
umes of the former's Haystacks in Pro- 
vence prepare us only in terms of its sub- 
ject for the constrained geometries of 
Gauguin's Farm at Aries. The second 
source, which is surely more germane, 
can be found in the work of the greatest 
painter of Provence, Cezanne. Although 
there is no evidence that Gauguin visited 
his colleague in Aix-en-Provence, Ce- 
zanne was surely in his mind as he con- 
structed Farm at Aries. The carefully 



No. 100. Claude Monet 
Flou'ering Apple Trees, 1872 



k'««V '^^ —Tll^^A-^.. 


'»t^'v0 'tf^ 

No. 101. Georges Seurat 

The Alfalfa Field near Saint-Denis, 1885 



.4^ .^^; 

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No. 102. Paul Gauguin 
Farm at Arles, 1888 
{detail on p. 140 j 



applied strokes of paint arranged in par- 
allel rows, as well as the isolated, lonely 
character of the landscape have their ori- 
gin in Cezanne's paintings of the early 
and mid-1880s, in spite of the fact that 
he rarely included so temporal a form as 
a haystack in his rural landscapes of that 

Unlike Monet, whose grainstacks 
(nos. 104-112) were painted without 
knowledge of Farm at Aries, Gauguin 
was less interested in the poetics than in 
the architecture of his motif. In the fore- 
ground of his picture are rows of neatly 
stacked grain drying in the sun in prep- 
aration for a haystack. The viewer is 
encouraged to read the painting from 
foreground to background as a succes- 
sion of forms that become progressively 
permanent and stable — from grain to 
grainstack to hut to house. Hence the 
landscape is an emblem of the continuity 
of life through agriculture. No figures 
work the fields; no smoke emerges from 
a chimney; no curtains blow from the 
window of the mas. Instead, the seasonal 
succession of the harvest is pictured as 
an element of continuity and endurance 
beyond the vicissitudes of urban time. In- 
terestingly, Gauguin painted this picture 
at a moment significantly after the har- 
vest of actual grain — and the construc- 
tion of grainstacks — in Provence. This 
activity, as recorded sur le motif by Van 
Gogh, occurred in June. Here, Gauguin 
has turned to the subject of the 
grainstack at the end of autumn and in 
this sense his painting of it is less an ob- 
servation than a purely pictorial 


1. This picture was no doubt based on Millet's 
Haystacks in Autumn {1868-74; The Metro- 
politan Museum of Art, New York), which Van 
Gogh saw exhibited in Paris in 1887. See Her- 
bert, 1975, pp. 298-299, no. 246. 

103. Claude Monet 

Poppy Field 

(Champ aux coquelicots), 1890 

Monet painted four identically sized ver- 
sions of this composition in the summer 
of 1890,^ and there is evidence to suggest 
that he conceived the group as a series 
and that it may have been made con- 

sciously in preparation for the Grain- 
stack series with which he became preoc- 
cupied later in 1890 (nos. 104-112). In 
any case, Poppy Field and its compan- 
ion-pieces represent a grain field in the 
midst of which grow the wild poppies so 
common in the plains of northern 
France. Monet was fascinated by the 
interplay between brilliant daylight and 
the intense red-orange of the poppies, 
and the paintings are alive with color. 
The artist's analysis of light and hue evi- 
dent here seems to have been a direct 
result of his contact with works by Seu- 
rat and his followers such as The Alfalfa 
Field near Saint-Denis (no. 101). Yet the 
differences between Poppy Field and the 
painting by Seurat are striking. Where 
the latter artist reduced the space and 
accessibility in his landscape, concentrat- 
ing his attentions steadfastly on the inter- 
play of hues in the flowering field, Monet 
was utterly mindful of the amplitude of 
the fields of France and placed the hills 
and trees within the composition in such 
a way as to maximize the spaciousness of 
his scene. One wanders effortlessly 
through his "field-scape" in spite of the 
fact that Monet, like Seurat, provided no 

Poppies in grain fields were more a 
scourge than a blessing to farmers, 
reducing as they did the purity of the har- 
vest. Clearly Monet saw the agricultural 
landscape — especially one of this type — 
with the eyes of an urbanite for whom 
even agricultural nature was a garden. 


1. Wildenstein 1251-1254. 

104-112. Claude Monet 

The Grainstacks 

(LeS MeULES), 1890-91 

On May 4, 1891, an exhibition of recent 
paintings by Monet opened at the 
Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris. In one small 
room were 15 paintings with the same 
motif — grainstacks — hung together as a 
series. Although Monet had exhibited 
several versions of other compositions or 
motifs in earlier exhibitions, never before 
had such pictures been hung adjacently, 
nor had they been considered by the art- 
ist as part of a collective ensemble. Mo- 
net himself had become interested in 

painting series during the preceding year, 

and his letters are full of complaints 

about his struggles to transcribe the sub- 

de, changing sensations of a landscape in 

constant variation. On October 7, 1890, 

he wrote a famous letter to his friend and 

future biographer, Gustave Geffroy: 

I am working very hard: I am set on a series 

of different effects (grainstacks) but at this 

time of year, the sun goes down so quickly 

that I cannot follow it.... I am working at a 

desperately slow pace, but the farther I go, 

the more I realize that I have to work a 

great deal in order to convey what I am 

seeking: "instantaneity," especially 

the. ..same light spread everywhere, and, 

more than ever, facile things achieved all at 

once disgust me. Finally 1 become more 

and more frantic at the need to convey 

what I experience and I vow to go on 

living... .because it seems to me that I am 

making progress.' 

And indeed, he made progress. The 
exhibition was a critical and financial 
success unprecedented for an Impres- 
sionist painter (see below, IV). Pissarro, 
always angry about the monetary ambi- 
tions of his younger colleague, com- 
plained bitterly before he saw the show 
that Monet was mass-producing pictures 
for the American market — an opinion 
largely borne out by their subsequent 
sales. However, Pissarro's annoyance 
was not only modified, but completely 
reversed when he made the trip to Paris 
to see the grainstacks. He reported his 
amazement to his son, Lucien, in a letter 
written the day after Monet's opening: 
That the effect is both luminous and mas- 
terly is uncontestable. The colors are at 
once attractive and strong. The drawing 
beautiful, but insubstantial, in the back- 
grounds as well. It is the work of a very 
great artist.... the canvases seem to breathe 

The critics were almost unanimous 
in their enthusiasm. The conservative 
critic Desire Louis waxed the most elo- 
quent in almost symbolist prose: 

The viewer is in the presence of sensations 
of place and of time in the harmonious and 
melancholic flow of sunsets, ends of day, 
and gentle dawns. The violets, the roses, 
the sulphurs, the saffrons, and the mauves, 
the greens, and the topazes surround the 
objects with a limpidness and infinite ease. 
The space is generous, and the forms in the 
distance are magnificent with their blurred 
contours and their trees in allegorical 



t -. i\»»^»'^ v^-^*^M\ ^J 

No. 103. Claude Monet 
Poppy Field, 1890 



In a brilliantly poetic review, Geffroy re- 
alized that Monet had understood "the 
possibility of embodying the poetry of 
the universe in the small space of the 

There is little doubt that the grain- 
stacks series was made at a decisive point 
in Monet's development as an artist. It 
was painted both in the fields — where he 
worked simultaneously at several ea- 
sels — and in the studio — where he la- 
bored to create subtle pictorial har- 
monies among individual pictures. The 
demands Monet placed upon himself as 
a painter became more complex as the 
series grew larger, because each work of 
art had to exist not only as a successful 
single entity, but as an integral partner of 
all the other works. Monet's success in 
creating both independent and inter- 
dependent paintings was virtually 

Until recently it has been assumed 
by critics and historians of Impression- 
ism that Monet was uninterested in the 
motif of the grainstack, and that he used 
it as a foil for the "true" subjects of the 
paintings — weather, light, and, ulti- 
mately, time. A visitor to Monet's studio 
in the 1920s, the Due de Trevise, called 
the series "philosophical" rather than 
symbolic,^' and another writer claimed 
that the paintings represent not matter — 
with its proper shapes and colors — but 
form perceived by an individual who 
evoked what the critic called a "rapid, 
subjective synthesis."'' In this way the 
series came to be seen as but a step in the 
gradual emergence of abstract art. This 
view was given early artistic credence by 
Wassily Kandinsky, who saw his first 
Monet grainstack painting in Russia in 
1896 and another (no. 110) at the "Mu- 
nich Sezession" exhibition in 1900. 

The power of the grainstacks them- 
selves for Monet must not be forgotten, 
however. This fact was not lost on several 
early viewers of the paintings, not the 
least of whom was Geffroy. Geffroy re- 
alized that, for Monet, the grainstack 
was a form rich in resonance. Its obvious 
associations of abundance and of man's 
ability to sustain himself and his animals 
on the richness of the harvest are obvious 
and compelling. Anyone familiar with 

the grainstacks and bales of hay in paint- 
ings and prints by Pissarro, Gauguin, 
Van Gogh, Bernard, and countless other 
important contemporary artists can in- 
stantly realize that Monet was making 
use of a powerful symbol with a distin- 
guished iconological pedigree estab- 
lished in the decades before he began his 

Monet himself also was attracted to 
many other motifs which comprise 
collectively a set of associations with the 
grainstack form. All of these were 
Romantic symbols. The roofed fishing 
boats that sit on the beach at Etretat and 
the deserted customs houses perched on 
cliffs along the north coast of France (no. 
116) are each closely related in shape to 
the grainstacks, and there are many 
paintings by Monet of each of these mo- 
tifs that are clear precedents for the 
series. All are sheltering forms with roof 
(or roof-like) structures; all are essen- 
tially unpeopled; and all stand against 
the environment. They dominate what 
Pissarro was right to call the "back- 
ground," which interacted powerfully 
with the imagination of the viewer.'' 
They are more than motifs — they are 
symbols or icons. For the most brilliant 
modern writer about the grainstacks, 
they had "become the simulacrum of 
man's house";** one is reminded in this 
connection of the "primitive hut" sought 
after by eighteenth- and nineteenth-cen- 
tury architectural theorists as the origin 
of all human architecture. 

What exactly were Monet's grain- 
stacks? We learn from one scholar that 
they were made from the hay of oats,' 
from another that they were of wheat, 
and that they stood in a field owned by 
someone who lived near Monet in 
Giverny."^ Although the mythic mean- 
ings of wheat are more compelling than 
those of oats, the precise identification of 
the grain is immaterial, however. The 
form of these stacks tells us that they are 
what French writers about agriculture in 
the 1800s called meules de cereale 
definitives, or long-lasting stacks, highly 
complex structures created according to 
set rules, many of which were spelled out 
in agricultural texts. Perhaps the simplest 
and most accessible explanation comes 

from Albert Larbaletrier's entry on hay- 
stacks in La Grande Encyclopedie, pub- 
lished the year after Monet exhibited his 

Long-lasting haystacks are generally 
round, their diameter varying from four to 
eight meters; their substructure is solid, 
made with small branches or rape straw, or 
even with wood, because it must keep out 
not only moisture, but also rodents. The 
sheafs are placed in successive layers and 
tied, in a manner so that their points con- 
verge toward the center. The cover must be 
the object of great care; usually one uses 
the ends of rye straw, the inclination being 
pronounced so that rain water will run off 
it easily." 

Larbaletrier also explained that such 
haystacks were common in the north of 
France because of the lack of sufficient 
interior storage and that the chief danger 
to such structures was fire. In fact, he 
mentioned the large fines levied through- 
out France for the building of fires 
within 100 meters of a haystack and dis- 
cussed ways in which they should be 
placed far from dwellings or other struc- 
tures in which fire or heat was needed. 

It is clear from Larbaletrier's text 
and many other similar contemporary 
discussions of grain storage that the 
grainstack represented a considerable 
investment in time and material and that 
it was, in many cases, the repository of a 
farmer's material wealth. Surely Monet, 
who lived for many years in rural 
settings, knew the importance of such 
stacks to his neighbors and, by making 
them the clear motif of his series, 
allowed their meanings to unfold in a 
complex succession. 


1. Geffroy, 1924, vol. I, p. 48. 

2. Pissarro, 1950, p. 237. 

3. See Louis, 1891. 

4. Geffroy, 1891, p. 3. 

5. de Trevise, 1927, pp. 125-126. 

6. Aurier, 1891, p. 157. 

7. Pissarro, 1950, p. 237. 
S.Herbert, 1979, p. 106. 

9. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. Ill, p. 13. 

10. Herbert, 1979, p. 106. 

11. Larbaletrier in La Grande Encyclopedie, 
1886-1902, vol. XVIL p. 62. 



J '^^^^ "? 


^' -£?^fi&5^M--> 

No. 104. Claude Monet 

The Grainstack, Sunset, 1891 



No. 105. Claude Monet 

Grainstacks, End of Day, Autumn, 1891 



No. 106. Claude Monet 

The GRArNSTACK, isy] 






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No. 107. Claude Monet 

Grainstacks, End of Summer, Morning, 1S91 



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No. 108. Claude Monet 

Graenstacks. End of Summer, Evening, 1891 



S'Uu^tVV*^*;*^" ^;\ 

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, 'x 

No. 109. Claude Monet 

Grainstacks, Snow. 1891 



No. 110. Claude Monet 

The GRArNSTACK. Thaw, Sunset, 1891 



il»v.j« s''^vin\^ij 

No. HI. Claude Monet 

The Grainstacks in the Snow, Overcast Day, 1891 



^. '^ . . .V*i 

No. 112. Claude Monet 
Grainstacks, Snow, Sunset, 1891 



Impressionism and the Sea 

SUMMER HOLIDAYS BY THE SEA Were One of the novelties of early modern 
life. They were without a doubt facihtated by technological advances 
in transportation of all kinds, but most especially by train travel (see 
above, 111/4). The trains de plaisir, or tourist trains, from Paris to 
Dieppe on the Normandy coast ran often enough that a traveler rarely had to 
wait long for the next one. In spite of the fact that this type of holiday allowed 
a large percentage of the bourgeoisie to experience the salutary effects of 
fresh air, sunshine, sea water, and, of course, a respite from the pressures of 
the cities, Jules Michelet deplored the periodic, but continuous, invasion 
of the Norman and Mediterranean coasts in his Romantic treatise La Mer 

The extreme speed of railway journeys contravenes medical sanity. To travel from 
Paris to the Mediterranean in twenty hours, as is now done, moving hour by hour 
through totally different climates, is positively foolhardy for people with nervous 
conditions. One arrives at Marseille agitated, giddy. When Madame de Sevigne 
spent a month traveling from Brittany to Provence, she overcame violent opposi- 
tion of their climates little by little in stages. ...Then and only then did she 
approach the sea.' 

Michelet disdained the fashionable appeal of resorts such as Trouville or 
Deauville (map 8) and was insensitive to any other charms these beaches 
rnight hold, viewing the sea solely in terms of the possible benefits of 
hydrotherapy, or water treatments. Only medicinal advantages might justify 

...such open-air experiences which leave one open to the hazards of wind and sun, 
to a thousand accidents. Anyone who sees a poor creature emerge from the first 
few baths — pale, gaunt, frightful, shivering unto death — will be struck by the 
harshness of it all and the danger involved for certain types of constitutions. To 
endure all this. ..[people] must believe that no other remedy will help, and be will- 
ing to soak up the virtues of its waters at any cost.- 


Map 8. Trouville and the Coast. 

Once the Second Empire had discovered the Norman beaches, how- 
ever, there was httle chance of halting the Parisian advance to the sea. The 
popularity of the Normandy coast and the sea in French (and English) po- 
lite — and improper — society (with its vast support populations) virtually 
transformed the whole of the northern coast of France during the 1800s. 
Seaside resorts grew up to accommodate the desire to replicate the comforts 
of Paris in conjunction with the gaiet}' of a day or more at the shore (fig. 61). 
In addition, as gambling was essentially forbidden in Paris, seaside casinos, 
those splendid, airy architectural confections, provided an opportunity to 
wile away the evening hours. In the 1850s and '60s, building and rebuilding, 
amid wild financial speculation led in part by the emperor's half-brother, the 
Due de Morny, pushed the permanent residents of the area further and fur- 
ther up and down the coast, displacing the native peasant population of fish- 
ermen, farmers, and shopkeepers. 

Although Michelet began La Mer on a pessimistic note emphasizing 
the fear, the sense of struggle and capitulation, and the feeling of horror 
evoked by the sea, he ended his book with a hymn to man's ability to utihze 
the ocean for all it could offer in the way of food, medicine, knowledge of the 
environment, and amusement and pleasure. He could not, however, condone 
the irresponsible transformation of the small peasant villages of the region: 

Fishing has become unproductive. The fish have fled. Etretat is languishing, dying 
beside a languishing Dieppe. More and more it is being reduced to an appendix of 
the beaches; it earns its livelihood by renting out living quarters which — now full, 





Fig. 61. Adolphe Maugendre (French, 1809- 
1895), Trouville. View of the Beach and the 
Roches-Noires, published 1867. Lithograph. 
Bibhotheque Nationale, Serie Topo- 
graphique, Val4, vol. IX, no. H114618. 

now empty — set a profit one day, a loss the next. But no matter what the material 
gain, the contact with Paris, worldly Paris, is the scourge of the region.^ 

But for all the destruction that man could impose upon the innocent 
shore and its inhabitants, Michelet remained extraordinarily sensitive to the 
intellectual and emotional effects of places where the earth meets the sea and 
the sky. With an intuition that might well be called prophetic for its willing- 
ness to explore the "scientific" nature of the sea, Michelet discussed such 
subjects as geography, geology, biology, oceanography, and meteorology. He 
believed that a "rebirth" brought about by contact with the sea could touch 
the heart as well as the body: 

How great, how very great is the difference between the two elements: the earth is 
silent; the Ocean speaks. The Ocean is a voice. It speaks to the faraway stars, 
responds to their course in a language grave and solemn. It speaks to the earth, to 
the shore, in exalted strains, converses with their echoes; now plaintive, now men- 
acing, it scolds or sighs. But above all it addresses man. The rich crucible in which 
creation began and continues all-powerful, it shares creation's life-giving elo- 
quence; life talks to life. The millions and billions of beings born therefrom — they 
are what constitutes its words.... such is the great voice of the ocean. "* 

And it was this voice that both artists and laymen of the time sought to hear 
as closely as possible. 

The "great voice of the ocean," however eloquent and poignant, how- 
ever ably it spoke to artists, writers, and the occasional sensitive visitor, was 
sometimes drowned out by the din of holiday-makers who sought the seaside 
as a refuge. The Impressionist painters, some of whom, such as Monet and 
Bdudin, had familial connections with the Norman coast (nos. 5, 12), and 
others of whom simply sought the geographical haunts of their Barbizon pre- 
decessors such as Courbet and Daubigny, followed in their wake. The early 
seaside pictures the Impressionists painted clearly reflect the holiday mood of 
the place in many cases. In this they paralleled the sentiments of such writers 
as the Englishman Henry Blackburn, who described Trouville as 

...the gayest of the gay. It is not so much to bathe that we come here, as 



Fig. 62. Etretat. — L'Aiguille and the Porte 

d'Aval, at High Tide, 1910. Photograph. 

Bibhotheque Nationale, Serie 

Topographique, Va76, vol. Ilia, no. 


because... the world of fashion and delight has made its summer home; because 
here we can combine the refinements, pleasures and "distractions" of Paris with 
northern breezes, and indulge without restraint in those rampant follies that only a 
Frenchman or Frenchwoman understands. It is a prett>', graceful, and rational 
idea, no doubt, to combine the ball-room with the sanitorium, and the opera with 
any amount of ozone. -' 

Monet's Roches Noires Hotel, at Trouville (no. 115), painted 20 years after 
this description was written, captures its mood and feeling. 

Although the Impressionists in the 1860s and '70s followed their fel- 
low Parisians to the chic watering places of Normandy and Artois, or re- 
corded the various small, but bustling, harbors of the faraway Finistere, by 
the 1880s the artists" interests had changed considerably. Monet and Renoir, 
for example, perhaps obeying the call of Michelet's "voice of the ocean," 
reduced their canvases to representations of three of the four elements and 
eradicated all traces of mankind (nos. 118, 120). In these paintings the viewer 
is confronted with the sea and the sky, the "wondrous magic of air and 
water," as Baudelaire described Boudin's paintings at the Salon of 1859.^ The 
visual stimuli, having been reduced, allow the viewer to bring his own 
thoughts and associations to bear on these images of the sea — from the 
atavistic evocations of Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand in Memoire 
d'Ontre-tombe (1849— 50)" to the pathetic sympathies of Hugo in Les 
Rayons et les ombres (1841) or Les Travailleurs de la mer (1866). 

Monet, for one, continued his exploration of small coastal towns 
(some of which he had painted already in the 1 860s in a very different man- 
ner [nos. 1, 6]), depicting isolated and carefully considered aspects of 
Pourville, Etretat, and Varengeville (nos. 116-119), for example. These 
paintings ignore the holiday aspects of the picturesque fishing villages which 
are their subjects and which, although not new or speculative developments 
like Deauville or Trouville, had become quaint, popular tourist retreats of a 
similar nature. Just as Sisley and Pissarro had turned their backs on the cha- 
teaus of Louveciennes and Marly (see above, III/2), Monet effaced all traces 
of the Etretat which Blackburn had described as a 

...little fisherman's village turned into a gay parterre; its shingly beach is lined 
with chairs, and its shores smoothed and levelled for delicate feet. The Casino and 
Establissement are all that can be desired, whilst pretty chalets and villas are scat- 



Fig. 63. Etretat. — The Manneporte, 
L'Atguille, and the Porte d'Aval, 1910. Photo- 
graph. BibHotheque Nationale, Serie 
Topographique, Va76, vol. Ilia, no. 

tered upon the hills that surround the town. There is scarcely any "town" to speak 
of; a small straggling village, with the remains of a Norman church, formerly close 
to the sea (built on the spot where the people once watched William the Conqueror 
drift eastward to St. Valery), and on the shore, old worn-out boats, thatched and 
turned into fishermen's huts and bathing retreats.** 

Monet reduced man's role in the landscape to a minimum in order to exam- 
ine the interrelationships of the sea and the land as well as to record specific 
natural monuments of the coast such as the rock formations, the Manneporte 
and L'Aiguille, both at Etretat (figs. 62-63). These sites preoccupied him in 
an enormous number of canvases produced within a very short time (no. 
119). Seurat, on the other hand, chose in a number of canvases to examine in 
extraordinary detail the small town of Port-en-Bessin (fig. 64), reducing its 
picturesque charm to a geometricized aloofness (nos. 121-124). The harbor, 
the quay, and the buildings there have been arranged according to a precon- 
ceived idea of the port itself, reducing it to a linear pattern upon the canvas. 
This, however, does not preclude a certam pervasive melancholy in the series 
(see above, III/l), which is accentuated by the careful placement of a few 

In La Mer Michelet noted that France was "in the enviable position of 
having two seas," the Adantic and the Mediterranean.'' In contrast with the 
strong, turbulent waters and grayish skies of the English Channel, Michelet 
recommended the southern coast of France with "two things that make the 
Mediterranean beautiful: the harmonious setting and the keen, transparent 
vitality of the air and light. It is a blue sea."'" By the 1880s the Riviera, on the 
southern coast, had become the new watering hole for bourgeois Parisians. In 
addition, the region welcomed Renoir and Monet (at Antibes and Bor- 
dighera), sheltered Cezanne (at PEstaque), and offered its beaches to Signac 
(at Saint-Tropez) and Cross (also at Antibes and its environs) for artistic 

The artists sought more and more merely to render this extension of 
the Parisian landscape, moved from Normandy to the Riviera, in terms of its 
light. They also explored and experimented with landscape motifs of a very 
different nature from those they had used previously. Michelet's "voice of the 
ocean" seems to have grown fainter as the artists retreated further to the 
provinces and concentrated less on the sea and land and more on the light 



Fig. 64. Maugendre, Port-en Bessin. View 

from near Signaux, 1861. Lithograph from 

Bayeux et ses environs, 1860 — 66. 

Bibhotheque Nationale, Serie 

Topographique, Val4, vol. VIII, no. HI 1435. 

and air of the region. The shifting artistic concerns of the late 1880s are 
perhaps best exemphfied by the various Impressionist depictions of the sea 
from that period. Although this new focus followed geographically the trans- 
plantation of the Parisian landscape, there were, nonetheless, crucial modi- 
fications in iconography as well as in the selection of landscape motifs. In 
their later pictures the artists concentrated less and less on the urban — and 
urbane — qualities of human life found on land and sea than on capturing the 
ephemeral: the light and color of the various regions in which they chose to 
paint. This new concern explicitly manifests itself in Monet's work of this 
decade. Almost misanthropically, he continued to move away from the depic- 
tion of urban living, human experience, and surface reality that characterized 
his work of the 1860s and '70s. Natural phenomena — the earth, sky, and 
sea — as well as the changing environment, all physically accessible but in- 
tellectually remote to the urban holiday-maker, became the paramount pre- 
occupation of his work. As his paintings became further and further removed 
from quotidian experiences, they became more intensely personal. Con- 
centrating more and more on the suffused atmosphere and subdued colors of 
the northern coast or on the dazzling sun and pure color of the south, Monet 
and the other Impressionists rejuvenated the investigative aspects of their art 
at the seaside and found themselves moving in new, as yet uncharted direc- 
tions. Ultimately they retreated into the provinces (see below, III/9) and into 
their own imaginations. 

— S. G.-P. and S. S. 


1. Michelet, 1983, p. 287. 

2. Ibid., pp. 309-310. 

3. Ibid., p. 320. 

4. Ibid., p. 316. 

5. Blackburn, 1892, p. 53. 

6. Baudelaire, 1965, p. 199. 

7. Chateaubriand, 1951, vol. I, pp. 17-18, 201, 431. 
S.Blackburn, 1892, p. 59. 

9. Michelet, 1983, pp. 58-59, 83, 288 II. 
10. Ibid. 



113. Eugene Boudin 

Camaret Harbor 

(Port DE Camaret), 1872 

Summarizing his artistic career for the 
journal L'Art in 1887, Boudin showed a 
keen awareness of the originahty of his 

Using different genres, I have done all sorts 
of seascapes and beach scenes in which one 
may find if not great art, then at least a sin- 
cere attempt at reproducing the world of 
our time. Perhaps one will also find that 
my studies offer a side of great celestial 
Nature which was not explored more or 
better by my predecessors. I dare not put 
my small boats on the same level, though I 
have made a painstaking study of them. I 
realize they are not so perfect in detail as 
their Dutch counterparts — nor would 
today's public have them so — yet I flatter 
myself that a future public will view them 
with interest for what they show of the 
sails, rigging, and general state of ports in 
our day.' 

Perspicacious as Boudin was in 
stressing the documentary interest of his 
painting for the future, he felt compelled 
by modesty to pass over the quality of his 
technique. Yet it is quite apparent in 
Camaret Harbor. Following the example 
set by the landscapes of the Dutch mas- 
ters of the seventeenth century (men like 
Van Goyen and Ruisdael), which he had 
contemplated at length and duly 
acknowledged in the above-mentioned 
article, he divided his composition into 
two unequal zones, sea and sky, assign- 
ing the greater space to the latter. In this 
he was following the Dutch practice of 
creating so-called "four-fifths" vistas. 
Since he always attached such impor- 
tance to the sky in his work, he tended to 
make numerous preparatory pastel 
sketches of it. 

Boudin took extreme care over 
coloring and was able to make his clouds 
airy and full of light. And because the 
houses in the background in Camaret 
Harbor are so brilliantly lit, they con- 
trast effectively with the shadows pro- 
duced by the sails of the boats. The artist 
was also greatly interested in the human 
figure and, like Jongkind, brought his 
landscapes to life with tiny silhouettes 
like the ones puttering about on the row- 
boat here, back-lit against the water. 

Boudin seems to have discovered 
Brittany in 1855.- Later he learned to 

love the region's picturesque character — 
its customs and festivals, its women's 
ethnic dress — and returned many times. 
His marriage in 1863 to Marie-Anne 
Guedes, a young Bretonne, reinforced his 
attachment to the area. He worked at 
Camaret, which is located at the tip of 
Brittany just north of the Pointe du Raz, 
every year from 1870 to 1873 and then 
again in 1878, 1880, and 1893. He chose 
two canvases from the summer of 1872 
for the following year's Salon: a Port of 
Camaret (he painted several of these) 
and Anchorage at Camaret (1872; Pri- 
vate Collection). 1872 was also the year 
in which the dealer Durand-Ruel first 
commissioned a painting from Boudin. 
Durand-Ruel was to continue providing 
him with commissions until the end of 
his life (see below, IV). 


l.deKnyff, 1976, p. 368. 

2. Jean-Aubry, 1922, p. 32, incorrectly dated 

Boudin's first trip to Brittany to 1857; de Knyff, 

1976, rectified the error. 

114. Eugene Boudin 

Bordeaux Harbor 

(Port DE Bordeaux), 1874 

In February 1875 Boudin wrote to his 

friend Martin: 

...though quite a pleasant town [Bordeaux] 
is beginning to wear on us. Personally, I do 
not care much for the embankments: there 
is the same jumble of vehicles, parcels, and 
barrels as at Le Havre or, rather, Antwerp, 
a hurly-burly that may be pleasing to peo- 
ple who count their profits by the number 
of bundles or barrels lowered by the cranes, 
but does not gladden the dreamer who pre- 
fers silence and solitude and the more 
monotonous, but more poetic, voices of the 
elements. These commercial towns are so 
enervating; they all smell of dust, cured 
leather, and especially guano — excellent 
items, to be sure, but not likely to make one 
forget the invigorating odor of seaweed or 
to replace the salty fresh air of our 
seashore. In short, dear friend, Bordeaux is 
as unpleasant as Le Havre along the 
embankments, and that is saying some- 

Despite these plainly unfavorable 
impressions of the city, Boudin did some 
fine work there. His series of canvases 
devoted to Bordeaux testifies clearly to a 
new stage of mastery in his art. This was 



his second stay in the Gironde (the first 
dated from the previous year), and, 
according to Gilbert de Knyff, from 
September 5 to November 10 Boudin 
worked in various locations along the 
embankment and the Place des Char- 
trons as well as in the suburbs of Bacalan 
and Lormont.- 

The men loading barrels on the boat 
in the foreground of this picture serve as 
an illustration of sorts to Boudin's letter 
just quoted. Like Cmnaret Harbor (no. 
113), Bordeaux Harbor bears not only 
the artist's signature and date, but an 
identification of the locale as well. This 
extra touch is indicative of Boudin's pre- 
cise mind and the attention he paid to 
every aspect of his work. The contem- 
porary writer Arsene Alexandre specu- 
lated that Boudin owed his methodical 
streak to an adolescence spent working 
in a Le Havre stationery store. 

Earlier in 1874 Boudin had partici- 
pated in the official birth of the Impres- 
sionist movement, the spring exhibition 
in Nadar's studio, with several paintings 
of Brittany, some watercolors, and some 
pastels. At the 1875 Salon, however, he 
showed two views of the port of Bor- 
deaux, and he returned to that city in 
1875, 1876, and 1879. The painting 
acquired by the French government at 
the posthumous exhibition of his 
work — organized in 1899, the year after 
his death, at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, 
Paris — is yet another Port of Bordeaux 
from the year 1874 (Musee d'Orsay, 
Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris), first dis- 
played at the Musee de Luxembourg. 


1. Jean-Aubry, 1922, p. 82; reprinted, with some 
variation, in Cario, 1928, p. 28. 

2. de Knyff, 1976, p. 128. 

115. Claude Monet 

Roches Noires Hotel, at Trouville 
{Hotel des Roches Noires, 
Trouville), 1870 

"If 1 have become a painter, I owe it to 
Eugene Boudin."' The validity of 
Monet's declaration is strikingly con- 
firmed by this canvas, which bears the 
imprint of Boudin's beach scenes of the 
1860s (no. 12). Here, Monet has shown 
the terrace of the Hotel des Roches 

Noires at the Honfleur end of the beach 
at Trouville. Although the building — 
main staircase, beachfront terrace, and 
all — is still standing, its tall, shuttered 
windows give today's visitor an impres- 
sion of melancholy far removed from the 
joyous atmosphere conveyed by Boudin, 
Monet, and — as we shall see — Marcel 
Proust. Following his teacher, Monet 
granted a major place in this composi- 
tion to the blue, cloud-studded sky — 
which he treated in a sketchy fashion — 
and the characteristic flags standing out 
against it. The visible brush strokes sug- 
gest the movement of the wind and the 
seeming vibration of colors in the sun. 
The lines formed by the flag poles and 
rather comic lamp posts together with 
the facade opposite enhance the verti- 
cality of the composition. Light and 
shadow play off each other on the stone 
of the building and on the ground. The 
spontaneity of this sunny vision connects 
the canvas, which has been called 
"Impressionism's masterpiece,"- with 
Monet's early garden paintings or Ter- 
race at Sainte-Adresse (no. 5). First and 
foremost a plein-air painter, Monet 
remained faithful to his temperament 
and his technique throughout his career. 
Monet took over from Boudin the 
idea of illustrating elegant Second Em- 
pire society, which spent its summers as 
idly as possible at resorts made fashion- 
able by the Due de Morny. Thus Trou- 
ville spawned Deauville, only a few miles 
down the coast. The vagaries of Parisian 
fashion and the desire to dress smartly 
did not diminish at the seaside, and the 
outfits seen here rival those worn by any 
of Monet's women in other paintings. 
Here, as elsewhere in his oeuvre, the 
parasol, an indispensable woman's 
accessory of the time, can be seen to have 
inspired some of the subtle lighting 
effects so important to the Impression- 
ists. Society ladies apparently preferred 
"makmg the rounds of the beach tents"' 
to bathing in the sea. Writing to a pupil 
from Deauville on October 1, 1889, after 
the close of the season, Boudin, 
chronicler of the beau monde, used a 
pregnant image: "The beach is sinis- 
ter The Parisian element has totally 

disappeared— a flock of swallows."'' This 
was an image similar to one used later by 

Monet left two other views of this 
place, probably dating from the same 
summer. For these he went down. to the 
beach itself, setting up his easel on the 
sand, and the presence of the sea is more 
noticeable.^" In 1882 Caillebotte painted 
a view from above of the roofs of the Ho- 
tel des Roches Noires (Location un- 
known) in the manner of his Paris 

When the Franco-Prussian War 
broke out, Monet, as we have seen, took 
refuge in England. Roches Noires Hotel, 
at Trouville therefore became the last 
illustration of this delightful resort 
before a deep rupture occurred in the 
national consciousness. Yet within a few 
decades the spirited and apparently care- 
free life there was revived. Proust and his 
mother stayed at the hotel several times, 
most notably in 1893. The following 
passage from A la recherche du temps 
perdu (1913), so reminiscent of the much 
earlier canvases of Boudin and Monet, 
has its roots in those visits: 

I was simply standing in front of the Grand 
Hotel. ..when I descried, at the other end of 
the sea wall hut moving forward in a 
strange patch, five or six young girls as dif- 
ferent in appearance and manner from all 
the people one was accustomed to seeing at 
Balbec as a flock of seagulls landing from 
Heaven knows where and proceeding in 
measured steps along the beach — the daw- 
dlers fluttering up from behind — in a 
formation the purpose of which seemed as 
obscure to the bathers, whom they 
appeared not to see, as it was clearly fixed 
in their own avian minds. *• 

As George D. Painter has pointed out, 
"The Hotel des Roches Noires. ..was one 
of the originals of the Grand Hotel at 
Balbec." It stood 

... at the western end of the boarded prom- 
enade—an original of that on which the lit- 
tle band of girls walks at Balbec-which the 
society gossip columns called "the summer 
boulevard of Paris."' 


1. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. I, p. 5. 

2. Rouartcf j/., 1972, p. 17. 

3. de Knyff, 1976, p. 15. 

4. Ibid., p. 214. 

5. Wildenstein, 156-157. 

6. Proust, 19^3-74, vol. I, p. 788. 

''. Painter, 1966, p. 165, 188; Musee Jacquemart- 
Andre, 1971. 



i, ao\,i\v.^ -,1. 

No. 113. Eugene Boudin 

Camaret Harbor, 1872 



No. 114. Eugene Boudin 

Bordeaux Harbor, 1874 



No. lis. Claude Monet 

Roches Noires Hotel, at Trouville, 1870 



116. Claude Monet 

Customs House at Varengeville 


Early in February 1882 Monet left 
Poissy, where he had lived since 1881, for 
the Norman coast. After passing through 
Dieppe, where his letters show him to 
have been bored and depressed, he set- 
tled m Pourville, a village several miles to 
the south, and stayed-, there from mid- 
February to mid-April. "It's a very beau- 
tiful region, and I only regret not having 
come here sooner," he wrote to his friend 
Alice Hoschede on the evening of his 
arrival. "I couldn't possibly be closer to 
the sea — right at the pebbles — and the 
waves beat against the foot of the 
house."' During his long and fruitful stay 
there, Monet produced approximately 
40 paintings. To the dealer Durand-Ruel 
he wrote, "I've been hiding out for sev- 
eral days in a delightful little region in 
the vicinity of Dieppe. I've found a num- 
ber of nice things to paint, so I'm con- 
stantly at work."- 

Monet's favorite motif in this area, 
one to which he devoted fourteen can- 
vases and several sketches (Musee 
Marmottan, Paris), was a cabin formerly 
used by customs officials and located on 
the cliff of the Petit-Ailly about halfway 
between the beach at Pourville and the 
church at Varengeville. Daniel Wilden- 
stein has noted that such checkpoints 
had been set up by Napoleon to keep 
watch over the Channel coast. ^ Since by 
the time Monet discovered it, the cabin 
had been taken over by local fishermen, 
he often referred to it in titles as "maison 
de pecheur." At other times he used a ti- 
tle indicating that it overlooked the 
gorge of Petit-Ailly. 

To pamt the present canvas and 
another very similar one, Monet posi- 
tioned himself on the eastern slope of the 
gorge, just below the cliff.'' The result is 
an unusual composition with an ex- 
tremely high horizon. The image of the 
cliffs silhouetted against the sea is remi- 
niscent of Japanese prints (nos. 2, 29, 33, 
36, 120). (Seurat obtained the same 
curious effect in Seascape at Port-en- 
Bessin, Normandy [no. 124].) In fact, 
Monet painted the cabin from a number 
of angles and under various atmospheric 
conditions. As Steven Z. Levine has 
pointed out, more than ten years before 

the Grainstacks (nos. 104—112) or Pop- 
lars of 1891, which are considered 
Monet's first true series, his pamtings of 
the cliffs with their diverse lighting 
effects constituted a more or less uncon- 
scious advance in the direction of the 
serial treatment of motifs.' In fact, Mo- 
net must have begun toying with this 
idea while working on Floating Ice on 
the Seine (no. 55). In any case, on March 
25, 1882, he wrote to Durand-Ruel, "I 
should rather show you the entire series 
of my studies at once, desirous as I am to 
see them all together at my studio," and 
on April 7 to Hoschede, "Yesterday I 
worked on eight studies.""^ 

On March 1, while Monet was still 
at :)&'ork in Pourville, the "7me Exposi- 
tion des Artistes Independents" opened 
in Paris. Among the 37 works of Monet 
included in the exhibition, his seascapes 
excited the greatest interest. Pissarro re- 
ferred to these as "landscapes with some- 
thing new to say [and] in a style more 
curious than ever."" In the course of the 
summer Monet painted several more ver- 
sions of the cabin motif. All the canvases 
done that year at Pourville and Varenge- 
ville, including the present one, were dis- 
played in March 1883 at Durand-Ruel's 
gallery in Paris. 

Arriving in Pourville in July 1897 
for another visit, Monet wrote to 
Hoschede, who had become his wife in 
1892, "Nothing has changed. The litde 
house is intact, and I have the key."* Al- 
though he returned to the cabin motif, 
which also had appeared in several views 
of the gorge done in the previous year, he 
did not merely pick up where he had left 
off. As Levine has shown, Monet's work 
was evolving toward a greater simplicity 
or purity, which resulted from a decrease 
in detail bordering on abstraction.'' His 
true subject had become light, a light 
that dissolved forms and modified 


1. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. II, pp. 214-215. 

2. Ibid., p. 215. 

3. Ibid. 730. 

4. Ibid., p. 288. 

5. Levine, 1971-72, pp. 32-44. 

6. Wildenstein, 1974-9, vol. II, pp. 217, 218. 

7. Niculescu, 1964, pp. 253-254. 

8. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. II, p. 292. 

9. See Levine, 1971-72. 

117. Claude Monet 

Cliff Walk at Pourville 

(Promenade sur la falaise, 
Pourville), 1882 

"What fine weather," Monet wrote to 
Alice Hoschede on March 17, 1882, 
from Pourville, 

...and how often I dream of seeing you 
here, showing you the wonderful spots I've 
come to know! How good it would be to 
spend a year here with the children [his 
own and Hoschede'sj. How happy they 
would be here. 

On April 4 he reiterated the thought: 
"How beautiful the countryside is 
becoming, and what joy it would be for 
me to show you all its delightful nooks 
and crannies!"' After an early June 
reconnaissance trip, during which he 
found a house to rent, Monet returned to 
Vetheuil for Hoschede and the children. 
His dream had come true; for the entire 
summer, from June 17 to October 5, 
they lived together blissfully at the Villa 

Soon Monet was back at work on 
the cliffs of the Pays de Caux, where Al- 
ice and her girls may have modeled for 
the figures in this canvas. (According to 
Jean-Pierre Hoschede, Alice's son, his 
sister Blanche first began to paint at 
Pourville.-) Another work dating from 
1882 uses this setting, but without 
human figures,^ as it appears in several 
other 1897 canvases. The location, iden- 
tified with extreme precision by Daniel 
Wildenstein,'' is a cliff between Pourville 
and Dieppe, one just upstream of the 
beach at Pourville. The strollers are mak- 
ing their way along the eastern side of 
the Val Saint-Nicolas, a "hanging" valley 
on the coast of Les Herons. 

Much has been made of how Monet 
succeeded in "conveying the quiver of 
the grass under the wind's caress with 
small strokes" resembling the twinkling 
of light.'' William Seitz has pointed out 
that the composition consists of several 
triangles (cliffs, sails, clouds) and that 
the undulatory movement of the grass 
was differentiated from the flat surface 
of the sea by the artist by means of both 
hue and texture.^ 

By this time Monet had returned to 
the problem of how to insert human fig- 
ures into the landscape, a problem that 
had concerned him during the early 



No. 116. Claude Monet 

Customs House at Varengeville, 1882 




'ir^m-WUiS' . -Mf 

% >A»- 

K^' - 

No. 117. Claude Monet 
Cliff Walk at Pourville, 1882 
(detail on p. 271) 



^LiU s S ^' 

^'i^-.v^t >A»^>h'^ 

No. 118. Claude Monet 

The Sea at Pourville, 1882 



years of his career and at Argenteuil 
(nos. 39, 42, 48). He continued to show 
his female silhouettes from a distance, 
even going so far as to depersonalize 
them (no. 83). "I want to paint the air in 
which bridge, house, and boat are lo- 
cated, the beauty of the air around them, 
and that is nothing less than impos- 
sible,"^ he stated. On the one hand, the 
treatment of the two figures here harks 
back to a work dating from 1875 and 
depicting Camille, Monet's first wife, 
walking along a cliff with her young son 
Jean {The Promenade [Paul Mellon 
Collection]); on the other, it looks for- 
ward to the experiments the artist later 
undertook at Giverny in the two Figtiral 
Experiments in Open Air, that is, the r\vo 
large canvases painted during the sum- 
mer of 1886 and based on Woman with 
the Umbrella (Musee d'Orsay, Galerie 
du Jeu de Paume, Paris), the protagonist 
of which has been identified as Suzanne 
Hoschede, the third daughter of the 
Hoschede family. 


1. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. 11, pp. 216, 217. 

2. Hoschede, 1960, vol. I, p. 119. 

3. Wildenstein 757. 

4. Ibid. 754. 

5. Rouartef a/., 1972, p. 26. 

6. Seitz, 1960, p. 116. 

7. Hoschede, 1960, vol. II, p. 112. 

118. Claude Monet 

The Sea at Pourville 

(La mer a Pourville), 1882 

Probably by analogy with a very similar 
canvas called Sunset at Pourville, Opeft 
Sea (1882; Private Collection, Switzer- 
land), this work and two other seascapes 
were assumed by Daniel Wildenstein to 
have been done by Monet on the Nor- 
man coast during the summer of that 
year.' Although the artist dismissed it as 
a "pochade," or quick sketch, a term he 
used often, it was bought by Durand- 
Ruel immediately after Monet returned 
from Pourville to Poissy in October. 

The way sea and sky share space in 
these compositions evokes the manner of 
Monet's former teacher, Boudin, who, as 
we have seen, did a great number of pas- 
tel studies of the sky to give the clouds in 
his paintings a lightness and full range of 

hues. Other painters of the time were 
equally intrigued by the representation 
of waves (no. 120). 


1. Wildenstein 772-774. 

119. Claude Monet 

The Manneporte, High Seas 

(La Manneporte, maree haute), 1885 

Etretat! Monet never forgot its swaggering 
sailors, fragile boats, and still untamed 
shores. And whenever he felt the call of the 
sea in his peaceful Giverny [see above. III/ 
6], he would head straight for Etretat and 
feast his eyes if not on the coastal land- 
scape and sailors he so admired, then at 
least on the open sea, immutable under the 
cloud-filled sky and quick to roll in and 
exchange greetings with its painter, exhibit- 
ing the same fury and charm as in the far- 
off days when the artist was infatuated 
with the eternal youth of a sea as old as the 
earth itself....' 

Monet's discovery of the Etretat 
cliffs dated to 1868-69, long before the 
Giverny period invoked here by Gustave 
Geffroy. The highly picturesque char- 
acter of the area, located between Dieppe 
and Le Havre, attracted his friend 
Maupassant as well. An ardent devotee 
of the region, Maupassant used Etretat 
as a setting for several stories and 
novellas. In "The Model," for example, 
he described it as follows: 

Crescent-shaped, the small town of Etretat 
with its white cliffs, white pebbles, and 
blue sea rested in the sun.... At the two 
points of the crescent, two gates. ...- 

The feelings he gives to the heroine of the 
novella Une Vie when she looks at Etre- 
tat might well be attributed to Monet: 
"It seemed to her that Creation pos- 
sessed three truly beautiful things: light, 
space, and water."^ 

Following in the footsteps of Cour- 
bet and Boudin, Monet painted the Porte 
d'Amont and Porte d'Aval, sometimes 
with L'Aiguille and the Manneporte 
(figs. 62 — 63), which, according to 
Maupassant's description, was an "arch- 
way so enormous a ship could pass 
through it."-* The Manneporte, located 
to the south of the Etretat beach, is the 
largest of the three gates or openings, as 
its name ("Manneporte" deriving from 
"Magna Porta") implies.-^ In this com- 

position Monet was looking west, study- 
ing the play of light on the calm sea and 
the rock. He also painted the 
Manneporte from downstream or when 
the sea was choppy. 

Although Monet vacationed at 
Etretat yearly between 1883 and 1886, 
he concentrated on painting the cliffs 
during his last two stays there. In 1886 
Maupassant published an article on the 

Last year... I often followed Claude Monet 
about in his search for impressions. He was 
no longer a painter, actually; he was a 
hunter. He walked along, trailed by chil- 
dren carrying canvases, five or six canvases 
representing the same subject at various 
hours of the day and with varying effects. 
He would pick them up or drop them one 
by one according to how the sky changed. 
And face to face with his subject he would 
sit and wait, watching the sky and shad- 
ows, gathering up a falling ray or passing 
cloud in several dabs of the brush and, 
disdainful of everything false and conven- 
tional, setting it down on his canvas with 
great alacrity. I once saw him catch a 
sparkling shaft of light on a white cliff and 
fix it to a rush of yellows that gave an eerilv 
precise rendering of the blinding ineffable 
effect of its radiance. ...*" 


1. Getfroy, 1924, vol. 1, pp. 1 15-116. 

2. Maupassant, 1974, vol. I, p. 1103. 

3. Maupassant, 1883, chap. 3. 

4. Maupassant, 1974, vol. I, p. 413. 

5. See Lindon, 1960, p. 180, tor a map; also idem, 

6. Wildenstem, 19^4-79, vol. 11, p. 42. 

120. Auguste Renoir 

The Wave 

(La Vague), 1879 

In a large bare room a heavy-set man... was 
smearing slabs of white paint with a kitch- 
en knife on a large bare canvas. From time 
to time he would go and press his forehead 
to the window, peering into the tempest. 
The sea came so close it seemed to beat 
against the house, already steeped in foam 
and clatter.. ..Then Courbet... would go 
back to his work, a work that became his 
Vague and gained a certain notorietv'.' 

This account by Maupassant of a visit he 
paid to Courbet at Etretat refers to the 
famous painting now in the Musee du 
Louvre and first exhibited at the Salon of 



No. 119. Claude Monet 

The Manneporte, High Seas, 1885 



1870. Courbet returned to the subject 
over and over again, attracted by the 
Romantic character of waves in the 
canvases of the earlier Paul Huet. Helene 
Toussaint has pointed to the possible in- 
fluence on Courbet of J. A. M. Whistler's 
Blue Wave (1862; Hillstead Museum, 

Far from sharing the Romantic 
spirit of Courbet and Whistler, Renoir 
approached the same subject, a rare one 
for him, in the manner of Monet's picto- 
rial investigations at Pourville and 
Etretat (nos. 117—119). Using the same 
light stroke which characterized his 
land- and seascapes of the period, Renoir 
transferred pure colors directly from pal- 
ette to canvas, where they blended into a 
finely shaded spectrum.- But he was a 
step ahead of his friend on the road to 
abstraction. Predating Monet's Water 
Lilies by more than 20 years. The Wave 
seems at first to be an abstract field, a 
study in colors and light rather than the 
representation of a choppy sea and 
storm-swept sky.-' 

Among the numerous parallels 
between Impressionist paintings and 
eighteenth-century Japanese prints, the 
drawings of Hokusai, brought together 
in the famous Manga volumes that 
began making their appearance in Paris 
in the 1850s, deserve special mention. 
Led by Manet, all the Impressionists pe- 
rused the mammoth collection (particu- 
larly the first of the 15 volumes), which 
was published between 1814 and 1879. 
The influence of Hokusai's subject mat- 
ter on Renoir is indicated by The Wave. 


1. Reunion des Musees Nationaux, 1977, nos. 
112, 117. 

2. "Renoirs... Institute," 1925, p. 32. 

3. The Art Institute of Chicago, 1973, no. 27. 

121-124. Georges Seurat 

Port-en-Bessin, the Outer Harbor 

AT High Tide 

(Port-en-Bessin, avant-fort, maree 

haute), 1888 

Port-en-Bessin, the Outer Harbor 

AT Low Tide 

(Port-en-Bessin, l'avant-fort a 

maree basse), 1888 

The Bridge and Quays at 

(Le Pont et les quais a Port-en- 
Bessin), 1888 

Seascape at Port-en-Bessin, 

(Les Grues et la percee a Port-en- 
Bessin, Normandy), 1888 

Seurat painted his famous grandes 
fnachines, or large compositions, in win- 
ter, preferring to devote summers to 
smaller canvases. From his stay in Port- 
en-Bessin during the summer of 1888 
(Signac had been there before him, in 
1882 and 1883) Seurat brought back si.x 
seascapes, whose technical mastery and 
atmosphere of tranquility and silence 
made them one of the painter's most suc- 
cessful series. They represent an unusu- 
ally harmonious combination of the 
devices Seurat employed in his quest for 

Port-en-Bessin, which the local 
populace calls simply "Port," is located 
in a cove on the Calvados coast, just east 
of the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy. 
Its special, picturesque quality comes 
from a tiny harbor nestled in marlstone 
cliffs and from the bustle of its harbor. 
The outer harbor is bounded by two 
granite breakwaters, which provide shel- 
ter for the sailboats visible in Port-en- 
Bessin, the Outer Harbor at High Tide. 

In addition to the works illustrated 
here, Seurat depicted Port-en-Bessin in 
Entry to the Outer Harbor (Museum of 
Modern Art, New York), which concen- 
trates on the sailboats themselves, and 
Sunday at Port-en-Bessin (Rijksmuseum 
Kroller-Miiller, Otterlo), a highly deco- 
rative composition featuring masts 
decked with flags. 

Inspired by the writings of Dela- 
croix, Charles Blanc, Eugene Chevreul, 
and the American Ogden Rood, Seurat 
began to paint according to "simulta- 
neous color contrast" theories and, using 
separate strokes, began to produce spec- 
tacular, vibrating light effects in his pic- 
tures. His "scientific" bent led him to 
look into Charles Henry's research on 
the expressive power of lines, horizontals 
providing a source of calm, descending 
lines provoking sadness, and rising lines 
giving a sense of high spirits.' The Port- 

en-Bessin seascapes are a good example 
of Seurat's tendency to geometrize his 
compositions, though John Rewald has 
noted the introduction of wavy lines here 
as well.- Seurat's use in these pictures of 
painted borders was explained in 1889 
by Felix Feneon: 

This arrangement does away with the 
bands of shadow created by three-dimen- 
sional frames and enables the artist to 
color in the frame while working on the 

Seurat showed these versions of 
Port-en-Bessin (minus Seascape at Port- 
en-Bessin, Normandy and plus one other 
painting of the site) at the sixth exhibi- 
tion of Les XX in Brussels in February 
1889. In the autumn of the same year 
The Bridge and Quays at Port-en-Bessin 
elicited the following comment from 

We might wish the figures walking along 
the Port-en-Bessin embankment a bit less 
stiff; if the stray child has a charming, 
accurate look about him, the indistinct cus- 
toms officer and the woman carrying fire- 
wood or dried seaweed lack veracit)'. We 
have known the customs officer for two 
years now; he was the leader of the Parade, 
another canvas by Monsieur Seurat.'' 

In 1890, the year before his death, Seurat 
was represented by several views of Port- 
en-Bessin at the "Salon des Inde- 
pendants," where the Parisian public first 
saw Seascape at Port-en-Bessin, 


1. Feneon, 1970, vol. I, p. 165. 

2. Dorra and Rewald, 1959, p. IxtI. 

3. Ibid., p. xvi, n. 9. 

4. Feneon, 1970, vol. 1, p. 165. 

125. Paul Signac 

The Anchorage of Portrieux 

(La Rade de Portrieux), 1888 

Signac spent a portion of the year li 
in the small Breton village of Portrieu.x, 
located on the Channel coast. Situated 
about 11 miles from Saint-Brieuc, the 
capital of the C6tes-du-Nord, and with a 
population of approximately 957 
according to Joanne in his guidebook of 
1867,' Portrieux was notable for its har- 
bor, as a bathing place, and for an event 



.{f- . -i^- 

;i ?•;' 


< -^'■-'^^ 

s ■■=*■. 

' '"^^^ ■ 




No. 120. Pierre-Auguste Renoir 

The Wave, 1 879 



No. 121. Georges Seurat 




■ " - "^m^^^'^^^^^^^^m-'-K^^'it^^i^^:^ 

^-"■— .s 

■ *^- ^rji^'^j^j^.^^j 



No. 122. Georges Seurat 




No. 123. Georges Seurat 

The Bridge and quays at Port- en-Bes sin, 18 




No. 124. Georges Seurat 

Seascape at Port-en-Bessin, Normandy. 1888 



which took place "on the Sunday nearest 
the first flood-tide in May," in which 
"the fishing fleet of the Bay of St. Brieuc 
(with about 4,000 men) [set] sail hence 
for the Newfoundland fishing banks."^ 
As an intrepid sailor, Signac was natu- 
rally drawn to the village. The light and 
atmospheric effects of the Breton coast 
offered an opportunity for him to fur- 
ther his exploration of the divisionist 
technique he had learned from Seurat. In 
D'Eugene Delacroix an Neo-lmpres- 
sionnisme (1899), he attempted to define 
these goals: assure the benefits of luminosity, 
color, and harmony: by optical mixture of 
uniquely pure pigments (all the colors of 
the prism and all their tones); by the sepa- 
ration of various elements (local color, 
light, and their interactions); by the bal- 
ancing of these elements and their propor- 
tions (a'TCording to the laws of contrast, 
gradation, and irradiation); by the selec- 
tion of a brushstroke commensurate with 
the size of the canvas.' 

One of several studies of the harbor, 
The Anchorage of Portrieux was 
originally offered by the painter to 
Charles Henry, the scientist whose theor- 
ies had been so important to his own 
research and with whom he collaborated 
in the publication of Education du sens 
des formes (1890) and Cercle chro- 
matique presentant tous les com- 
plements et toutes les harmonies en 
couleurs (1888-89). The Anchorage at 
Portrieux displays a bright palette, 
which is typical of Signac's northern 
studies, in contradistinction to that 
which he adopted in painting the 
"blond" light of the Mediterranean. The 
use of counterbalancing diagonals as a 
compositional motif, so obvious in this 
picture, may derive from his studies of 
Henry's theories concerning the psy- 
chological effects of the direction of lines 
upon a viewer (nos. 121—124). 

— S. S. 


1. A.Joanne, 1867, p. 413. 
I.Baedeker, 1894, p. 205. 
3. Rewald, 1978, p. 98, n. 51. 


No. 125. Paul Signac 

The Anchorage AT PoRTRiEux, 1888 



The Retreat from Pans 

As WE HAVE SEEN, France in the 1880s and '90s saw a rapid accelera- 
tion in the growth of travel and tourism. With the migration of a 
large portion of the population to the increasingly industrialized 
cities and their suburbs, an intense yearning was felt for the pure 
air and open spaces of country and coastal resorts. Facilitated by the swift 
expansion of the railway lines (essentially, by the 1890s, to their present ex- 
tent [see above, III/3-4]), brief excursions, as well as seasonal sojourns for 
those of greater means, became ever more customary interludes in the city 
dweller's life. Indicative of the burgeoning significance of tourism was the 
formation of agencies such as the syndicats d'initiative, or tourist informa- 
tion bureaus, the first of which dates from 1885. During the period between 
1874 and 1900, numerous comites de promenade, or walking clubs, also 
were established throughout the provinces; in 1890 the Touring Club de 
France, one of the most influential forces in the development of tourism, was 
created. 1 

The primary distinctions between travel in the final decades of the 
nineteenth century and that in the preceding years lay in the distances tra- 
versed and in the interest in exploring outlying regions. The upper class, 
always in possession of more leisure, had for some time frequented coastal 
areas such as the Cote d'Azur (see above, III/8), but with progress in the speed 
and ease of transportation, those of lesser means could now explore the more 
remote regions much as they had once gone to places such as Bougival or 
Louveciennes on the outskirts of Paris (see above, III/2). The appearance in 
1893 of the first volume of Victor-Eugene Ardouin-Dumazet's monumental 
60-volume Voyage en France is proof of the interest that travelers now took 
in the entire map of France. 


Pierre Giffard's La Vie en chemin de fer, published six years earlier, 
provided the traveler with a complete guide to using the railway system in 
France — from which seat to occupy in a given car on a given line to which 
buffet service was the best. However, Giffard believed that "one could say 
that France, at least within a radius of 200 miles, is no more than a suburb of 
Paris, thanks to the railroad."- In his view the destruction of the barriers 
between cit)' and country encouraged by the train was detrimental to main- 
taining the traditional geographical and social organization of France. Thus, 
as we have seen, the revolution in transportation and tourism that encour- 
aged travel to the furthest corners of France was greeted with mixed emo- 
tions by contemporary writers (see above, III/8). 

Parallel to this general trend in travel, artists began to find their sub- 
ject matter in hitherto little-explored areas. During the 1860s and '70s the 
Impressionists largely had frequented Paris and its environs, the forest of Fon- 
tainebleau, and locations along the northern coastal area extending from 
FFonfleur to Dieppe (see above, III/l— 2). In subsequent decades younger Neo- 
Impressionist artists such as Signac, Seurat, and Cross, as well as a few of the 
older Impressionists such as Monet, discovered the Riviera (see above, III/8). 
The landscapes they painted there are, in an iconographic sense, simply geo- 
graphical extensions of the Parisian landscape of early Impressionism, as we 
have seen. On the other hand, Cezanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh journeyed 
into the more primitive regions of Brittany in the north and the Midi and 
Provence in the south. In their desire to maintain their independence from 
urban civilization and its surburban dependencies they moved further and 
further from Paris. Anti-urban as well as anti-nationalistic, the new genera- 
tion and a few artists who had come into prominence in the previous genera- 
tion selected the two provinces most aggressively opposed to Paris in particu- 
lar and France in general. Brittany and Provence each had been independent 
at several points in their long histories, and each maintained its unique cus- 
toms. Both were attempting to restore original or "lost" languages and cul- 
tures just as they were being discovered by the painters. In Provence, for 
example, the regionalist movement in literature was spearheaded by a con- 
temporary of Cezanne's, the poet Frederic Mistral, one of the earliest winners 
of the Nobel Prize. 

The far reaches of France, now so easily accessible, provided inspira- 
tion both for the artists' work and their lifestyles. However, it is interesting 
that some areas seem to have remained too remote for them. The Pyrenees, 
for example, or the French Alps never were painted by the original Impres- 
sionists and their successors in spite of (or perhaps because of) the fact that 
many tourists and innumerable photographers traveled to those areas (see 
below, V). 

By the mid-1880s the Impressionists as a group exhibited little unit)', 
and many were deeply dissatisfied with what they saw as the superficiality of 
their own approaches. A growing need was felt for an art of greater profun- 
dity, of a timeless nature, and it was with this in mind that, in 1886, Gauguin 
set off for Pont-Aven, a village in the south of Brittany. Paul Serusier, a friend 
and protege, outlined the tenets of the aesthetic program Gauguin was to 

...the impression of nature must be wedded to the esthetic sentiment which 
chooses, arranges, simplifies, and synthesizes. The painter ought not rest until he 
has given birth to the child of his imagination. ..begotten by the union of his mind 
with realitS'... Gauguin insisted on a logical construction of composition, on a 


harmonious apportionment of light and dark colors, the simplification of forms 
and proportions, so as to endow the outlines of forms with a powerful and elo- 
quent expression....' 

Although most often associated with the name of Gauguin and his 
followers, Bernard, Charles Filiger, Serusier, Maurice Denis, Emile Schutfe- 
necker, and Meyer de Haan (collectively known as the Pont-Aven school), 
Pont-Aven had for some time been established as an artists' colony. Boudin, 
Franc^ois Bonvin, Daubigny, and Whistler had all worked in the Breton re- 
gion, while in 1862 two friends of Corot, Fran(;ais and Auguste Anastasi, had 
worked within Pont-Aven itself, soon to be followed by the Academic artist 
Jules Bastien-LePage. And, in the 1880s, Monet and Renoir also made work- 
ing expeditions there. The French artists were soon followed by an interna- 
tional group including English, Belgian, Dutch, Scandinavian, and American 
painters."* The attractions of the Breton region were compelling: a landscape 
dominated by dolmens and menhirs (monuments of ancient Celtic origin), 
strong and mystical religious customs, and a distinctly picturesque mode of 
dress maintained by a concerted sense of individualized tradition. Nature 
here was savage and the lifestyle archaic and harsh, dependent entirely upon 
the bount)' of the land and the sea. 

From 1886 to 1890 Gauguin spent much time in Pont-Aven, with the 
exception of trips to Martinique and Aries, and, when the mass of visitors 
who sought the unusual and traditional became overwhelming, in the nearby 
coastal village of le Pouldu. Like many artists, Gauguin initially had been 
attracted to Brittany by financial considerations. Henry Blackburn, in his 
guide Breton Folk: An Artistic Tour in Brittany (1880), had noted that an 
artist could live on credit at the Pension Gloanec in Pont-Aven, and Gauguin, 
finding this to be true, wrote with satisfaction of his new living arrangements 
in a letter of June 1886, addressed to his estranged wife. Metre: 

I managed to find the money for my journey to Brittany, and am living here on 
credit.... What a pit\- we did not take up our abode in Brittany formerly; at the 
pension we pay 65 francs a month for board and lodging, and one can soon grow 
fat on the food.' 

His delight with the Breton region was, nonetheless, far more than monetary: 
"I love Brittany. I find wildness and primitiveness there. When my wooden 
shoes ring on this granite, I hear the muffled, dull, and powerful tone which I 
try to achieve in painting."'' 

Bernard, in an 1892 letter to Schuffenecker, offered his own poetic, if 
enigmatic, observations of Pont-Aven: "This is the country of atrocious 
dreams, of hideous nightmares, of walls garnished with larvae and sea-eagles, 
with owls and vampires, fit to die."^That the lure of the region did not work 
on all who visited there, however, is made clear in a letter from Signac to his 
fellow-artist Luce: 

Yesterday I was at Pont-Aven. It is ridiculous countryside with little nooks and 
cascades, as if made for female English watercolorists. What a strange cradle for 
pictorial Symbolism. ...Everywhere painters in velvet garments drunk and bawdy. 
The tobacco merchant has a sign in the form of a palette: "Artist's Material," the 
maidservants in the inns wear arty ribbons in their headdresses and probably are 

A master yachtsman, Signac found several cities along the Channel coast 
more suited to the demands of his temperament and his art (no. 125). 

Despite his dislike for Brittany, Signac and the other Neo-Impression- 


ists felt, like Gauguin (a bitter rival) and his followers, that art must achieve a 
deeper and more lasting significance. The contemporary critic Feneon 

The phenomenon of the sky, of water, of shrubbery, varies from second to second, 
according to the original impressionists. To cast one of these aspects upon the can- 
vas — that was the goal. Hence the necessity to capture a landscape in one sitting 
and hence an incUnation to make nature grimace in order to prove conclusively 
that the moment is unique and will never occur again. To synthesize landscapes in 
a definite aspect which will preserve the sensation implicit in them is the neo- 
Impressionists' endeavor. Moreover, their procedure makes haste impossible and 
necessitates work in the studio.. ..Objective reality is for them a simple theme for 
the creation of a higher and sublimated reality into which their personalities are 

Thus the NeoTmpressionists sought to establish their art upon a firm scienti- 
fic basis, largely drawn from Seurat's interpretation of the work of Chevreul 
and Henry (nos. 121-124). Paradoxically, as those within Seurat's circle 
penetrated further into the provinces in search of subject matter, Seurat him- 
self proved atypical. Increasingly he turned to the city for inspiration and by 
the end of his life, cut short at the age of 31, he had entirely abandoned 
landscape for interior scenes. 

It was most often the south of France, then, which captured the imagi- 
nation of tourist and artist alike in the latter years of the nineteenth century. 
For the tourist the appeal was largely that of the beaches, mountains, and 
climate; artists, too, were drawn by the mountains and water, but most of all 
by the dazzling light. Beyond these basic common denominators, however, 
individual motivations for the move to the south were as diverse as the artists 
themselves. Cezanne, for example, the victim of harsh criticism and ridicule 
in the Impressionist exhibitions of 1874 and 1877, largely abandoned Paris 
and its environs during the 1880s for his native Aix, the old capital of Pro- 
vence. Although his return to the landscape of his boyhood was a form of 
escape from the pressures of Paris to work in isolation and to confront his art, 
it must never be forgotten that he returned to the region — and to a small 
city — rich in historical resonance as well as separatist feeling. Colonized by 
the Romans at the end of the second century B.C., Aix was later the capital of 
Provence until its annexation in 1481 by the French crown. With a popula- 
tion of about 29,000 at the end of the 1800s, the city is listed in the 1914 
Baedeker guide as famous for its olive oil and cakes. '° When Cezanne re- 
turned there, Aix was the capital of the then-current Provencal revival. Andre 
Gouirand, for example, a minor Provencal intellectual, published a history of 
the area's modern school of painters that traced its roots to the mid-eigh- 
teenth century with Francois Duparc." Cezanne, although not mentioned in 
this work, was in many ways the culminating genius of this tradition, and 
many of his best pictures could easily be paired with passages in Gouirand's 
short book. In fact, Cezanne's Old Woman with a Rosary (The National 
Gallery, London) was painted in homage to Duparc's Woman Knitting 
(Musee des Beaux-Arts, Marseille). 

Brilliant in color and rich in contrast, an amalgam of blazing sun, 
vivid blue sky, and textured rock, this region, in spite of Gouirand's prosely- 
tizing, inspired few artists of great importance. In fact, it is almost exclusively 
with Cezanne's views of Mont Sainte-Victoire, which commanded the land- 
scape to the east of Aix from a height of 3,315 feet; the Golfe de I'Estaque; 
and the village of Gardanne that this area of the Midi has come to be asso- 
ciated. Here, away from hostile criticism and sometimes well-intentioned 


misunderstanding, Cezanne isolated himself in an intense and lonely struggle: 
"I think of art as personal apperception. I place this perception in sensation, 
and I require that the intelligence organize it into a work of art."'- Clearly 
disillusioned with the approach that brought many of his fellow Impression- 
ists success and renown, always dissatisfied and disappointed with his own 
efforts, his love of this land remained Cezanne's one certainty: "For me, what 
is there left to do. ..only to sing small; and were it not that I am deeply in love 
with the configuration of my country, I should not be here."'^ 

The Midi was to attract a second artist of tragic circumstance and 
unique vision. In February 1888 Van Gogh set out for Aries, a Provencal city 
to the west of Aix-en-Provence. Aries had long been famous for its Roman 
ruins and the Romanesque church of Saint-Trophime, but its appeal for Van 
Gogh was different. In a letter of September 1889, written to his brother, 
Theo, the artist summarized his motivation in coming to the south of France: 

You know that there were thousands of reasons why I went south and threw myself 
into my work there. 1 wanted to see a different light, I thought that to observe 
nature under a clearer sky would give me a better idea of the way in which the 
Japanese feel and draw. I also wanted to see this stronger sun because I felt that 
without knowing it I could not understand paintings by Delacroix from the stand- 
point of execution and technique, and because I felt that the colors of the prism 
were blurred by mist in the North.'"* 

That Van Gogh felt this region to be particularly conducive to artistic 
progress already had been made clear in a letter to Theo of June 1888: "One 
Hkes Japanese painting, one has felt its influence — all the impressionists have 
that in common — then why not go to Japan, that is to say the equivalent of 
Japan, the midi} Thus I think that after all the future of the new art lies in the 
South." '^ 

Van Gogh's plan was grander and more Utopian than those of the 
numerous artists who migrated to the south of France during the final dec- 
ades of the century. He envisioned a "Studio of the South," which, with char- 
acteristic modesty, he hoped to put under the leadership of Gauguin. In sym- 
pathy with Van Gogh's ideas, but more inclined to a location in the tropics (at 
this point, Martinique), Gauguin, still in Pont-Aven, informed Bernard: "I 
am inclined to agree with Vincent: the future is to the painters of the tropics, 
which have not yet been painted. (Novelty is essential to stimulate the stupid 
buying public.)"'* In desperate financial straits, Gauguin agreed, after much 
pleading on Van Gogh's part, to move to Aries, where both painters were to 
be supported by Theo. But in December 1888 Gauguin once again wrote to 

I am at Aries quite out of my element, so petty and shabby do I find the scenery and 
the people. Vincent and I do not find ourselves in general agreement, especially in 
painting.... He is romantic while I am rather inclined towards a primitive state.'' 

The tragic end of the "Studio of the South" is well known: Van Gogh, over- 
come by madness, purportedly tried to attack Gauguin and then severed his 
own ear. The latter left the following day for the north, and Van Gogh, after a 
period of convalescence, in May 1889 entered an asylum in nearby Saint- 
Remy (no. 90). For Van Gogh's art, however, this period had been of supreme 
importance, as he attained a new mastery of color and an ability to render a 
more potent expression of those life forces and cycles he discovered beneath 
the constant flux of nature. 

Not all journeys to the south, however, were characterized by the iso- 
lation, disappointment, and disaster we have seen in the cases of Cezanne, 



Gauguin, and Van Gogh. Like those who had traveled to the areas surround- 
ing Aix and Aries, the artists of the Cote d'Azur were also drawn by the 
intense light, lush vegetation, and temperate climate. Combined with the 
shimmering waters of the Mediterranean and the sandy beaches, the terrain 
was ideal for those who hoped to further their inquiries into the systematic 
representation of the interaction of light and color. Inspired by Signac and his 
explorations of the region. Cross, who had wintered at Monaco for years, 
settled in 1891 at Cabasson (no. 136), and in the following year at Saint- 
Clair, both tiny villages on the Mediterranean coast near Hyeres, an area of 
the Van Signac himself was later to build a home on the coast at Saint-Tropez, 
while in 1910 Cross had as a new neighbor the Belgian Neo-Impressionist 
Theo van Rysselberghe, a regular visitor since the early 1890s. 

Thus in the closing decades of the nineteenth century, while the resi- 
dents of the increasingly industrialized cities of France made a periodic exo- 
dus in search of leisure and relaxation, artists too, found their way to the 
remote regions of the country. Cezanne stands alone in his attempt, within 
the landscape of his childhood, to wrest from elusive vision its realization 
upon canvas in a new and solidly ordered depiction of the visible world. In 
escaping Paris and the national civilization for which she stood, he and 
Gauguin and his group paradoxically projected their art to a wider, non- 
Parisian audience. This withdrawal from the capital was a deliberate physical 
and iconological escape from original Impressionism. In contrast, Monet and 
Pissarro, in spite of their later travels, remained rooted in the soil of the He de 
France and continued to propagate the landscape formulas they had invented 
in the 1860s and '70s. This was true even though Monet later began to tra- 
verse a more personal and cerebral landscape, turning away from the por- 
trayal of space to the depiction of the physicality of time. Following his move 
to Giverny in 1883, the world outside his garden and its immediate environs 
essentially ceased to exist (nos. 91—93). 

The revolution in landscape painting which resulted in Impressionism, 
begun in the early nineteenth century, was now being fought on new aesthetic 
fronts. Following the lead of the major Impressionists, avant-garde artists at 
the end of the 1800s became less interested in rendering specific sites in the 
new style. Seurat, Signac, and Gauguin, for example, came to believe that the 
raw material presented by the natural world had to be fully digested by the 
artist's mind; they sought the personal, the psychological, the mythic, and the 
symbolic in the landscape of France. No longer dependent on the faithful 
rendering of an individual place, the new generation of landscape painters 
virtually eschewed the activities or haunts of the middle class. Instead these 
artists chose to paint landscapes of their own invention, relying not on reality, 
but on their imaginations. As the terrain in which they chose to work 
changed, they explored alternative approaches to subject matter in new and 
fascinating ways. 

— S. S. 


1. Sigaux, 1965, pp. 74-75. 9. Ibid., p. 89. 

2. Giffard, 1887, p. 314. 10. Baedeker, 1902, pp. 444-445. 

3. Rewald, 1978, p. 184. 11. See Gouirand, 1901. 

4. The Tate Gallery and Arts Council 12. Hamilton, 1967, p. 42. 
of Great Britain, 1966, p. 5. 13. Rewald, 1977, p. 83. 

5. Gauguin, 1949, pp. 68-69. 14. Rewald, 1978, p. 344. 

6. Rewald, 1978, p. 189. 15. Ibid., p. 76. 

7. Ibid., pp. 290-291. 16. Gauguin, 1949, p. 102. 

8. Ibid., p. 290. 17. Ibid., pp. 115-116. 



126. Claude Monet 

Afternoon at Antibes 

(AnTIBES, EFFET d'aPRES-MIDi), 1888 

In January 1888 Monet made his second 
trip to the Cote d'Azur. Four years earlier 
he had visited Bordighera and Menton, 
but this time he chose as his destination 
the popular seaside resort of Antibes, 
where, at the suggestion of Maupassant, 
he stayed at the Chate3u de la Pinede, an 
establishment with a primarily artistic 
clientele. Initially unhappy with these 
lodgings, where, he found, the Academic 
landscapist Harpignies and his followers 
held sway, and dissatisifed with the 
region itself, in which he had arrived 
during a rainstorm, Monet eventually 
reconciled himself to the situation. He 
worked at Antibes and neighboring 
Juan-les-Pins until the beginning of May. 
In a letter to Alice Hoschede dated Janu- 
ary 20 he wrote: 

I'mpainting the town of Antibes, a small, 
fortified town, entirely gilded by the sun, 
which stands out clearly against the beau- 
tiful blue and pink mountains and the 
chain of the Alps eternally covered with 
snow. ' 

The color and atmosphere of the sur- 
rounding area proved fascinating to the 
artist, as indicated in his subsequent let- 
ters. "The pink and blue are so clear, so 
pure, that the smallest inappropriate 
stroke creates a blot of dirt," he wrote. - 
"What I want to bring back from here is 
the sweetness itself, of white, of pink, of 
blue, all enveloped in this magical air."^ 
Monet obtained permission from 
the military authorities to paint at An- 
tibes through the intervention of 
Castagnary, now Directeur des beaux- 
arts. Daniel Wildenstein pinpointed the 
site depicted in Afternoon at Antibes, 
sometimes called Old Fort at Antibes: 
When he wishes to paint Antibes at close 
range, Monet goes to the east coast of the 
cape and sets up his easel at the Ponteil.... 
As we proceed along the coast in the fore- 
ground, we note the Ilet headland with the 
Bastion Saint-Andre to the left, the steeple 
of the cathedral in the center, and the tower 
of the Chateau des Grimaldi off to the 
right; in the background we see the Franco- 
Italian Alps." 

The contrast between the canvases Mo- 
net painted at Antibes and the darker. 

more vibrant color and heavy brushwork 
of the Mediterranean scenes he painted 
earlier is striking. His palette had 
become pastel, dominated by the pink 
and blue tones he described in his letter 
to Hoschede, while the brushwork, 
somewhat crusty in the foreground, 
becomes thin and smooth in the back- 
ground, allowing glimpses of unpainted 
canvas. Monet's intent is clear: to cap- 
ture the varied effects of sunlight as it 
was refracted against the surfaces of 
water, mountain, sky, and the walls of 
the fort. 

Although the Antibes paintings 
were a great commercial success, critical 
reception was mixed. Particularly nega- 
tive were the remarks of those who sup- 
ported or who had joined the ranks of 
the Neo-Impressionists. Feneon, in the 
July 1888 issue of La Revue indepen- 
dante, commented: 

Monsieur Claude Monet is a spontaneous 
painter.. ..Well served by an overdone bra- 
vura of style, the productivity of an im- 
provisor, and a brilliant vulgarity, his re- 
nown is growing, but his talent does not 
seem to have made any strides since the 
Etretat series....' 

Pissarro, having adopted a Neo-Impres- 

sionist technique himself, was inclined to 

agree. In a letter to his son, Lucien, dated 

July 8 of that same year he observed: 

I've seen the Monets. They are lovely, but 

Feneon is right: good as they may be, they 

are not the work of a sophisticated artist. 

To my mind — and I've heard him [Feneon] 

say the same to Degas many times — they 

represent the art of a decorator, highly 

skillful, but ephemeral...." 

But Monet's purpose was not decorative, 
nor were his Antibes paintings ephem- 
eral. In the struggle to come ever closer 
to nature in its constant fluctuation, the 
works he did there are a logical progres- 
sion toward his series paintings of the 
1890s (nos. 104-112). 


1. Wildenstein, 1974-79, vol. Ill, p. 5. 

2. Ibid., p. 5. 

3. Ibid. 

4. Ibid., p. 7 (translated by M. H. Heim). 

5. Feneon, 1970, vol. I, p. 113 (translated by M. H. 

6. Pissarro, 1950, p. 171 (translated by M. H. 



127-129. Paul Cezanne 

The Bay of Marseille, Seen from 


(Le Golfe de Marseille, vu de 

l'Estaque), c. 1878-79 

The Bay of Marseille, Seen from 


(Le Golfe de Marseille, vu de 

l'Estaque), 1883-85 

The Bay of Marseille, Seen from 


(Le Golfe de Marseille, vu de 

l'Estaque), 1886-90 

L'Estaque lies just outside Marseille, 
approximately 30 kilometers from Aix. 
A village of red tile roofs and slender fac- 
tory chimneys, nestled between the blue 
waters of the Golfe de Marseille and a 
range of coastal mountains, l'Estaque 
was the subject of numerous works ex- 
ecuted by Cezanne during the 1880s and 
'90s. The artist, whose mother owned a 
house in l'Estaque, had first come to the 
village in 1870 in order to avoid military 
duty during the Franco-Prussian War. He 
returned frequently in subsequent years. 
In a letter to Zola, written in 1883, he 

I have rented a little house and garden at 
L'Estaque, just above the station and at the 
foot of the hill where behind me rise the 
rocks and the pines. I am still painting, 1 
have some beautiful viewpoints here, but 
they do not quite make motifs. Neverthe- 
less, climbing the hills at sunset, one has a 
glorious view of Marseilles in the distance 
and the islands, the whole giving a most 
decorative effect when bathed in evening 

The high vantage point described here 
was adopted by the painter in all three 
versions of The Bay of Marseille, Seen 
from l'Estaque illustrated here. Al- 
though the viewer may be puzzled by the 
similarity of the numerous canvases 
painted there, of which these are only 
three, they represent an important stage 
in Cezanne's development. After long 
consideration of the scene he wrote to 

It is like a playing card. Red roofs on the 
blue sea [no. 66]. The sun is so terrifying 
that it seems as though the objects are sil- 
houetted, not only in black and white, but 
in blue, red, brown, and violet. I may be 
mistaken, but it seems to me to be the very 
opposite of modelling.- 

The lessons Cezanne learned here con- 
cerning the function of contour and the 
creation of space through contrasting 
color were crucial to his later work. 


1. Rewald, 1959, pp. 116-117. 

2. Ibid., p. 118. 

130. Paul Cezanne 

Mount Sainte-Victoire 
(Mont Sainte-Victoire), 1886-88 

In the 1880s Cezanne sought isolation in 
the region surrounding Ai.x and the 
neighboring towns of l'Estaque and 
Gardanne. The turmoil of his personal 
life, however, would not cease; his one 
great love affair, about which little is 
known other than that it had an 
unhappy conclusion, occurred during 
this period. Soon after, and perhaps as a 
result, he at last obtained his family's 
consent to marry Hortense Fiquet, 
mother of his 14-year-old son, Paul. The 
wedding took place in April 1886. 
Within a few months Cezanne's father 
died, leaving the artist a substantial 
inheritance and long-awaited autonomy. 
But these changes were perhaps too long 
in coming to effect a profound change in 
the outlook of the melancholy artist, 
who simultaneously was experiencing 
further personal setbacks. 1886 marked 
the end of his friendship with Zola, to 
whom he had been close since childhood. 
This occurred when Cezanne assumed he 
had recognized in himself the model for 
Claude Lantier, the protagonist of Zola's 
new novel, L'Oeuvre. (The character is 
actually a composite of Cezanne and 
Manet.) Zola portrayed in Lantier an 
artist whose genius was insufficient to 
his vision and whose life ended in sui- 
cide. Deeply hurt by what he assumed to 
be his fiiend's negative assessment, Ce- 
zanne wrote him one final, brief letter, a 
model of self-restraint: 
My dear Emile, 

I have just received L'Oeuvre which you 
were good enough to send me. I thank the 
author of Les Rougon-Macquart for this 
kind token of remembrance and ask him to 
permit me to clasp his hand while thinking 
of bygone years. 

Ever yours under the impulse of past 

Paul Cezanne' 

Throughout his personal tribula- 
tions, Cezanne most often sought solace 
and inspiration, as well as challenge, in 
the Provencal landscape. Particularly 
alluring was the image of Mont Sainte- 
Victoire. In his use of color he sought to 
capture the blazing light which parches 
the stony landscape in this area of the 
Midi. The intensity of Cezanne's re- 
sponse to this southern light is obvious 
from his remarks to a young friend, Jo- 
achim Gasquet: 

Look at this Sainte Victoire! What dash, 
what an urgent thirst for sunlight! What 
melancholy in the evening when all the 
heaviness subsides!. ..These masses, an 
hour ago, were all afire, — the fire still lin- 
gers on them!- 

The site of Mount Sainte-Victoire 
has been identified as Beaureceuil, a 
small village on the outskirts of Aix that 
lies to the south and slightly west of the 
mountain.' Although never brought to 
completion, this work — with its bal- 
anced and centralized composition — is 
characteristic of the mature Cezanne. 
The middle ground is occupied by a soli- 
tary building whose form reflects that of 
the hill behind it, while the more angular 
group of buildings to the left hints at the 
chiseled formations of the mountain it- 
self, from this point of view a rocky ridge 
rather than an actual peak. The equilib- 
rium of the painting was achieved par- 
tially through the use of implied reces- 
sional diagonals. Unlike his fellow 
Impressionists, who favored large ex- 
panses of sky, Cezanne preferred to 
block off the background in this picture 
and to carry the looming form of Mont 
Sainte-Victoire almost to the upper edge 
of the canvas. A forceful cropping tech- 
nique was employed in the foreground, 
perhaps influenced by Oriental prints 
and/or contemporary photographs (see 
below, V). The artist's inclusion of the 
curving road is noteworthy, since Ce- 
zanne rarely offered the viewer an 
entrance into his unpopulated land- 
scapes (no. 70). This device, however, 
does little to penetrate the lonely aridity 
of this scene, whose emptiness was 
heightened by the artist's use of color. 
Cezanne later explained his approach to 
the younger painter Bernard: 

While one paints, one draws; the more the 
color harmonizes, the more precise 




No. 126. Claude Monet 

Afternoon at Antibes, 188i 
(delatl on p. 29SJ 



becomes the drawing. ...The contrasts and 
relations of tone comprise the secret of 
drawing and form... the form and contour 
of objects are conveyed to us through the 
opposition and contrast resulting from 
their individual colours. ..nature, for us 
men, is more depth than surface, whence 
the necessity of introducing in our vibra- 
tions of light — represented by reds and 
yellows — a sufficient quantity- of blue to 
give the feeling of air"" 

Thus, in Mount Sainte-Victoire one can 
observe the reduction of the range of 
tones in Cezanne's palette. Forms are 
outHned in blue, and fore- and back- 
ground are balanced through the jux- 
taposition of warm and cool tonalities. 
Through the use of sharp contrasts of 
light and dark, as in that between walls 
and their fenestration, the artist has 
rendered the effect of unrelenting 


1. Rewald, 1959, p. 135. 

2. Gasquet, 1921, p. 82. 

3. Loran, 1947, p. 127. 

4. Rewald, 1959, p. 172. 

131. Paul Cezanne 

Mount Sainte-Victoire from the 

Large Pine Tree 

(La Montacne Sainte-Victoire au 

GRAND pin), 1885-87 

This painting, which, characteristically, 
was reworked by Cezanne between 1885 
and 1887, belongs to a stage in his devel- 
opment that is sometimes referred to as 
his "classical" period. His pictures pro- 
duced during this time are often com- 
pared to those of Poussin. The composi- 
tion here is planar and stable: the strong 
horizontal emphasis, strengthened by the 
inclusion of the train trestle at the base of 
the mountain, is counterbalanced by the 
vertical thrust of the trunks of the 
enframing pines. The "improved" land- 
scape, in this case evidenced by the pres- 
ence of the trestle (which resembles an 
aqueduct), had become important to Ce- 
zanne by this time. In the end, however, 
he utilized the whole landscape for 
purely formal purposes. The undulating 
branches in the foreground echo the rise 

and fall of the mountains, while at the 
same time they emphasize the picture 
plane and set up a spatial ambiguity 
between fore- and background. Domi- 
nated by tonalities of green and yellow, 
the color is thin and muted, applied with 
hatched brush strokes that gradually 
build and give solidity to the forms 

132. Paul Gauguin 

The Swineherd, Brittany 

(Le Gardien des porcs, Bretagne), 


In 1888 Gauguin made his second trip to 
Brittany and Pont-Aven. The author of 
Breton Folk: An Artistic Tour in Brittany 
offered this idyllic description of the 
countryside to which Gauguin had 

At a point where the River Aven — break- 
ing through its narrow channel, dashing 
under bridges and turning numerous 
water-wheels — spreads out into a broad 
estuary, is the little port of Pont-Aven, built 
four miles from the sea. The majority of the 
houses are of granite, and sheltered under 
wooded hills; the water rushes past flour- 
mills and under bridges with perpetual 
noise, and a breeze stirs the poplar trees 
that line its banks on the calmest day.... A 
small communit)' of farmers, millers, fish- 
ermen and peasant women, is its native 
population. ...Pont-Aven being set in a val- 
ley between two thickly wooded hills, 
opening out southwards to the sea, the cli- 
mate is temperate and favourable to out- 
door work.' 

The picturesque nature of this landscape 
might have appealed more to one of the 
older Impressionists, such as Berthe 
Morisot, who worked at Pont-Aven in 
1866, than to Gauguin. In fact, he pro- 
fessed himself to be attracted more by 
the primitive and harsh nature of the re- 
gion and its customs than by the low cost 
of living. Nonetheless, in his many land- 
scapes and scenes of peasant life, such as 
The Swineherd, Brittany, the artist pre- 
sented scenes not unlike Blackburn's 

133. Paul Gauguin 

The Roman Burial Ground at Arles 
(Les Alyscamps, Arles), 1888 

I.Blackburn, 18 

, pp. 128-130. 

On October 20, 1888, after numerous 
invitations from Van Gogh, Gauguin 
arrived in Aries for a two-month stay. 
Rich in history, this Provencal town had, 
under Julius Caesar, been a rival of 
Marseille. Growing rapidly, it became 
known as "the Gallic Rome" and fre- 
quently served as a residence for the Em- 
peror Constantine. Christianity came 
early to the city with the proselytizing of 
St. Trophimus, a disciple of St. Paul. 
With the fall of the Roman Empire, Aries 
became an independent city, and by 879 
it was the capital of a kingdom which in 
the eleventh century was to include all 
the territory bounded by the Rhine, the 
Saone, the Rhone, the Mediterranean, 
and the Alps. The Holy Roman Empire 
soon annexed the region, but in 1150 
Aries proclaimed itself a republic. Not 
until 1481, under Charles d'Anjou, did 
the city become a part of France.' 

Henry James, in his Little Tour in 
France (1884), says of Aries: 

As a city, indeed, Aries quite misses its 
effect in every way; and if it is a charming 
place, as I think it is, I can hardly tell the 
reason why. The straight-nosed Arlesiennes 
account for it in some degree; and the 
remainder may be charged to the ruins of 
the arena and the theatre.- 

Unimpressed by the blazing sun and 
rich color which so enchanted Van 
Gogh, Gauguin would have agreed with 
James as to the town's assets, albeit with 
much less enthusiasm. Despite his own 
description of the scenery and the people 
of Aries as "petty and shabby," Gauguin 
characteristically manifested some inter- 
est in the female population: 

Women here with their elegant coiffure 
have a Greek beautv^ Their shawls, falling 
in folds like the primitives, are, I say, like 
Greek friezes. The girl passing along the 
street is as much a lady as any born and of 
as virginal an appearance as Juno. ..there is 
here a fountain of beauty, modern style? 

In The Roman Burial Ground at 
Aries Gauguin combined the Arlesian 
motifs of ruin and woman. One of .dries' 
most famous landmarks, and a site also 



No. 127. Paul Cezanne 

The Bay of Marseflle. See.\ fro.m l'Estaque, c. 1878-79 



No. 128. Paul Cezanne 

The Bay of Marseille, Seen from l'Estaque, 1883-85 



No. 129. Paul Cezanne 

The Bay of Marseille, Seen from l'Estaque. 1886-90 



depicted by Van Gogh, the Alyscamps 
(or Champs-Elysees) was a Roman bur- 
ial ground which, or so legend had it, 
was later consecrated for Christian bur- 
ial by St. Trophimus. Dante referred to 
this in the Inferno, where he spoke of 
"Aries where the Rhone turns to stag- 
nant waters.... The sepulchers make the 
land uneven."'* The melancholia of the 
area continued to exert its influence into 
the nineteenth century, as James noted: 
I walked out of the town to the Aliscamps, 
the old Elysian Fields, the meagre remnant 
of the old pagan place of sepulture, which 
was afterwards used by the Christians, but 
has been for ages deserted, and now con- 
sists only of a melancholy avenue of 
cypresses, lined with a succession of 
ancient sarcophagi, empty, mossy, and 

Maurice Barres, in "Le Jardin de 
Berenice," offered a similar observation: 

On one of those evenings at the Alyscamps, 
my past life appeared to me in the form of 
the empty sarcophagi lining that melan- 
choly walk under the plane trees. '■ 

Gauguin's Roman Burial Ground at 
Aries, executed in autumn hues set 
against subdued tones of blue and green, 
directs the viewer's gaze down the alley 
of trees toward a background in which 
stands the partially visible ruin of the 
Romanesque church of Sainte-Honorat. 
A bright splash of orange in the lower 
right-hand corner brings the foreground 
nearer and draws attention to the picture 
plane itself. In the middle ground stand 
three women in customary Arlesian 
dress, typified by the chapelle, or white 
fichu, and black velvet headdress. The 
figures are very like those in the back- 
ground of Women in a Garden (1888; 
The Art Institute of Chicago), a work 
Gauguin had undertaken in order to in- 
struct Van Gogh in the technique of 
painting from memory, as opposed to 
nature. Although the sepulchers of the 
Alyscamps are not visible in The Roman 
Burial Ground at Aries, in another paint- 
ing of the same year at the site. Avenue in 
the Alyscamps (Private Collection, 

Zurich), Gauguin made them the motif 
of the painting. 


I.Baedeker, 1902, p. 513. 

I.James, 1884, p. 191. 

3. Gauguin, 1949, p. 113. 

4. Dante, Inferno, 9.112-115. 

5. James, 1884, p. 199. 

6. Barres, n.d., p. 90. 

134. Emile Bernard 

Harvest near the Seaside 

(La Moisson au bord de la mer), 1891 

Without the inventory of Bernard's 
paintings sold to dealer Ambroise 
Vollard in May 1905, in which the artist 
carefully described the exact site 
depicted in Harvest near the Seaside, 
only its date of 1891 could be used to 
pinpoint its location as somewhere in 
Brittany or the C6tes-du-Nord, where 
the artist and his family summered from 
1886 on. The Vollard list describes the 
town at the right in the background as 
Saint-Briac, a small settlement between 
the Bale de Saint-Brieuc and the Bale de 
Saint-Michel, with the smaller village of 
La Chapelle slightly to the left of center.' 
Although for many artists the 
attractions of Brittany were its savage 
nature and archaic lifestyle, an artist 
with a temperament like Bernard's was 
not above traveling there to paint while 
summering elsewhere. By the 1880s and 
'90s Saint-Briac, like Trouville and 
Sainte-Adresse (nos. 4—6, 12, 86, 115) 
earlier, had been discovered by Parisian 
holiday-makers. Henry Blackburn, in his 
Artistic Travels, written the year after 
Bernard painted Harvest near the Sea- 
side, discussed the entire region as a 
tourist spot, crowded with bathers and 
promenaders, where 

...the majority of the people are dressed as 
in Paris; the country people and the fishing 
and poorer class. ..only wearing any 
distinctive costume.^ 

The coastal area as an isolated bit of 
authentic provincial France obviously 

had become a thing of the past. 

In spite of Saint-Briac's seasonal 
urbanity, Bernard chose to depict tradi- 
tional activities in the Breton landscape 
on the outskirts of the small coastal 
"summering place." All evidence of the 
holiday-makers has been eliminated; the 
format and iconography of the painting 
are totally conventional. Bernard's syn- 
thetic and theoretical vision has simpli- 
fied and reduced the scene to a series of 
rhythms of basic shapes and unmodu- 
lated planes and colors. His move away 
from Impressionism could not have been 
more complete. Harvest near the Sea- 
side, in fact, one of a number of 
Bernard's paintings depicting harvests in 
Brittany, reflects the spirit of Blackburn's 
book quite closely. Blackburn stated that 
the area offered 

...opportunities for outdoor study; 
and. ..suggestive scenes for the painter. No- 
where in France are there finer peasantry; 
nowhere do we see more dignity of aspect 
in field labour, more nobility of feature 
amongst men and women. We. ..see the 
Breton peasants on their farms, reaping 
and carrying their small harvest of corn 
and rye, oats and buckwheat. Here we are 
reminded at once of the French painters of 
pastoral life, of Jules Breton, Millet, 
Troyon, and Rosa Bonheur.^ 

In works like Harvest near the Seaside 
Bernard depicted the peasant within the 
grand French tradition of such pictures. 
It was with his new aesthetic vision that 
this artist and others like him were able 
to reinterpret this tradition and renew its 


1. Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1979, p. 44. 

2. Blackburn, 1892, p. 66. 

3. Ibid., p. 63. 

135. Emile Bernard 

The Village of Pont-Aven 
(Le Village de Pont-Aven), 1892 

Bernard painted this refined, highly or- 
dered view of Pont-Aven in 1892, the 
year after his final break with Gauguin, 



No. 130. Paul Cezanne 

Mount Sainte-Victoire, 1886-88 



No. 131. Paul Cezanne 

Mount Sainte-Victoire from the Large Pine Tree, 1 885 - 



No. 132. Paul Gauguin 
The Swineherd, Brittany, 1888 



No. 133. Paul Gauguin 

The Roman Burial Ground at Arles, l S88 



No. 134. Emile Bernard 
Harvest near the Seaside, 1891 



the preeminent painter of that site. In 
style it recalls less the synthetism of the 
school of Pont-Aven, with whom Ber- 
nard was closely associated between 
1888 and 1891, than the rigorously clas- 
sical type of Impressionism developed by 
Cezanne in the 1880s. Although Bernard 
had not yet met the great Provencal 
painter whose career he was to cham- 
pion so brilliantly in the first decade of 
the twentieth century, he had seen several 
of his paintings and had written an 
insightful essay on him in 1891—92 for 
the series Les Hommes d'aujourd'bui. 
The Village of Pont-Aven was surely 
made in homage to Cezanne and can be 
contrasted in every way with the bril- 
liantly colorful, curvilinear representa- 
tions of Pont-Aven by Bernard's first 
mentor, Gauguin. In this sense the paint- 
ing is a conundrum, a painted repre- 
sentation of the "site" of one great artist 
painted in the manner of another. 

The aridity of this picture contrasts 
with the brilliance of Gauguin's — and 
Bernard's own — earlier presentations of 
the site. Derivative as it might seem, 
however. The Village of Pont-Aven is a 
major painting, one of the earliest works 
to show a true understanding of the revo- 
lutionary formal principles being inves- 
tigated by Cezanne, principles that were 
to lead to the invention of Cubism. Here 
again, the real landscape seems to have 
been a mere pretext for pictorial inves- 
tigations that transcend it. It tells us less 
about Pont-Aven than about Bernard's 
problematic relationships with two 
painters of genius. R.B. 

136—137. Henri-Edmond Cross 

Beach at Cabasson 

(Place de baicne-cul), 1891-92 

Coast near Antibes 
(Calanque des Antibois), 1891-92 

In October 1891 Cross moved to 
Cabasson, a tiny village on the Cote 
d'Azur. Although he had frequently vis- 
ited Monaco and the surrounding area, it 
was Signac who introduced him to the 
Van Located on a small peninsula 
between the massif of the Maures and 
the lies d'Hyeres, nestled between pine 
woods and the sea, Cabasson provided 
both isolation and inspiration, as well as 
a climate in which Cross, a rheumatic, 
could live comfortably. Ardouin- 
Dumazet's description of Bormes, a 
nearby town in which Cross also 
painted, provides an accurate evocation 
of this region of the Mediterranean: 
From the outskirts of the small town there 
is an incomparably splendid view of the 
verdant plain, of lovely villages stretching 
as far as Cap Benat, and of the lies de Port- 
Cros and du Levant. Higher up the pan- 
orama is even more imposing. Coming out 
of the woods, you may climb any one of 
many rocks and look out over an immense 
expanse of sea and the festooned slopes of 
the Monts des Maures.' 

The year 1891 was a particularly 
important one for Cross. Not only did he 
take up permanent residence in the Midi, 
but it was also in this year that he 
adopted the Neo-Impressionist tech- 
nique. Beach at Cabasson and Coast 
near Antibes, both begun toward the end 
of 1891 and finished early the following 
year, demonstrate this new interest and 
make clear the central preoccupation of 
his art: the depiction of light. In the for- 
mer the figures somewhat recall those in 
Seurat's Bathing Scene at Asnieres 
(1883-84; Tate Gallery, London); a 
solidity and stillness were achieved by 
brushing in large areas of color over 
which Cross meticulously ordered pre- 
cise rows of dotted pigment. The color is 
restrained and the composition simple, a 
succession of planes in which the beach 

occupies the foreground, the sea the mid- 
dle ground, and the sky the background. 
The figures of the three boys and the 
heavy shadows they cast were placed 
very near the foreground and rendered in 
a smoother manner. The enframing pines 
and tufts of grass are characteristic of the 
beaches along this portion of the coast. 

Despite its title. Coast near Antibes 
also represents the area around 
Cabasson- and is stylistically quite close 
to Beach at Cabasson. The colors are 
high in value and the shadows emphatic, 
with the entire scene drenched in a 
bleached light. Elision has replaced the 
details of Beach a; Cabasson, while its 
planar composition has yielded to a 
diagonal recession into space. The strong 
horizontals of boats, rocks, and hills 
punctuate this recession at intervals. 
Overall, the effect is rather Japanese, as 
in Point Galere (1891-92; Location un- 
known), a third painting from this 

The many exhibitions in which 
Beach at Cabasson and Coast near An- 
tibes were shown attest to the impor- 
tance which Cross attached to his works 
executed during 1891-82. (He later 
moved to the neighboring village of 
Saint-Clair). Both paintings appeared in 
the "Societe des Artistes Independants" 
(Paris, 1892); the "Exposition des 
Peintres Neo-Impressionnistes" (Paris, 
1892-93); "Les XX" (Brussels, 1893); 
the "Seconde Exposition de I'Associa- 
tion pour I'Art" (Auvers, 1893); and 
probably in the "IP Exposition des 
Peintres Impressionnistes et Svm- 
bolistes" (Paris, 1892). 


1. Ardouin-Dumazet, 18 
M. H. Heim). 

2. Compin, 1964, p. 37. 

p. 255 (translated by 



No. 135. Emiie Bernard 
The Village of Pokt-Aven, 1892 



No. 136. Henri-Edmond Cross 

Beach AT Cabasson, 1891-92 



No. 137. Henri-Edmond Cross 

Coast NEAR Antibes, 1891-92 





Impressionism and the Popular Imagjination 

THAT THE Impressionists initially met with abusive criticism, a lack of 
interest, and relatively few sales is generally accepted as a simple 
summation of the facts. However, given the contemporary popular- 
ity of travel and the out-of-doors in all its manifestations, as well as 
the ability of a great many people to enjoy them (fig. 65), it is all the stranger 
that the Impressionists' public "should not have recognized that these. 
scape paintings were just the pictures they wanted."' It is this enigma which 
needs to be addressed if one studies the extraordinary later popularity of 
Impressionism. But there is another more general question to be considered 
as well. How deeply into the popular imagination can one delve? There is 
obviously a great difference between knowing who Durand-RuePs clients for 
Impressionist paintings were and explaining Impressionism's popularity 
among the general populace. After all, the smile of recognition on the smoke- 
smudged face of the locomotive engineer when he hears Renoir's name in The 
Train (1964), John Frankenheimer's film about the evacuation of art from 
Paris during the Second World War, is not inspired by love for the painter; it 
is caused by the fact that the engineer had once dated one of Renoir's models. 
Frankenheimer's clever use of this recollection is, of course, based on the 
assumption that the viewer will not only share in the knowledge that Renoir 
was a painter, but that he was a painter of a specific type of full-bodied 
woman. Viewers' appreciation of this vignette reveals an uninterrupted 
awareness of Impressionist artists, and even of their subjects, from the 1 940s, 
the period in which the film is set, until today. 

For the late-nineteenth-century bourgeois public who could afford 
and desired to own works of art, however, an appreciation of this style of 
painting came slowly. While it is true that there was a gradual secularization 
of the iconography of art during this period, middle-class collectors contin- 
ued to be drawn to genre paintings and traditional landscapes on a modest 
scale. More than anything else, they sought to associafe themselves with the 


Fig. 65. Despres, Sunday in the Environs of Paris 
(1. Croissy, La Grenouillere. — 2. The fair at 
Chatou. — 3. Asnieres. Sailing expedition. — 4. As- 
nieres, Oarsmen's Ball. — 5. Sannois, the mill.) 
Bibliotheque Nationale, B41039. Photo: 
Bibliotheque Nationale. 

aristocracy and preferred to avoid the radical or innovative, most especially 
in the arts. In the introduction to his review oi the Salon of 1845 Baudelaire 
wrote, not without a hint of malice, that "the bourgeois — since he does in 
fact exist — is a very respectable personage; for one must please those at 
whose expense one means to live." Baudelaire became increasingly frustrated 
with a public which demanded the unusual only "to be astonished by means 
which are alien to art."- Later, Buret could write to Pissarro that "the public 
doesn't Hke, doesn't understand, good painting," and that of those who did, 
"very few are millionaires."^ 

Thus the Impressionists' original public sought more than anything 
else to maintain the status quo and could only have been shocked by their 
works. Such viewers wanted paintings which told stories or represented rec- 
ognizable people and things with a degree of finish that would warrant the 
prices charged for such pictures. Impressionism simply did not fill the bill. 
And in spite of the fact that landscape was of major importance during this 
period (see above, III/l), Impressionist paintings were perhaps too cool, 
objective, and rehant on popular illustrations to be accepted seriously. In 
short, these paintings appeared to evoke little emotional response from the 
viewer and they were thought aggressively unattractive to boot. In the end, 
these factors did not encourage a desire to own such works in spite of the 
reasonable prices at which they could be obtained. 

In fact, price was probably the least important obstacle to the acquisi- 
tion of Impressionist paintings. Works by the Old Masters traditionally had 
fetched large sums. Further, contemporary works of art fresh from the stu- 
dios of artists in favor often fetched astronomical prices. That the Impres- 
sionists' low prices worked against them is made clear by the banker Pillet- 
Will's explanation to Renoir about why he sought to buy art from the 
painter's Academic contemporaries rather than from him: " my position 
I have to have expensive pictures. That is why I must go to Bouguereau, at 
least until I find another painter whose prices are higher.""* 

Impressionist paintings only became generally desirable with the 
advent of Cubism. After all, in comparison with pre-World-War-I modern- 
ism, the earlier style was undemanding, fundamentally unaggressive, in- 
stantly recognizable, and decorative. In addition, it was evocative of a world 
of perfection and harmony thought to have been lost; it had become an art 
which Everyman could accept and embrace. In it could be found a sense of 
timelessness, of repose, and of beauty which, while not necessarily undis- 
turbed by man, at least coexisted harmoniously with him and his works. As 
we have seen, rarely in Impressionist painting do we witness the ravages of 
Baron Haussmann's rebuilding of Paris and the resulting flight of her inhabi- 
tants to the suburbs; the destructive industrialization of the rural and urban 
landscape; or the horrors of war or revolution (see above, II and III/3). If, out 
of the thousands of pictures painted by these artists, there is an occasional 
suggestion of social commentary or overt melancholy, it is so unobtrusive as 
to be virtually unnoticeable. France is portrayed in its improved state, 
improved by man for his own benefit; natural ravages are recalled, but, by 
implication, the resuscitative powers of nature are as well. It was precisely 
these qualities which attracted later buyers of such art. 

Champfleury, in an 1862 essay entitled "Du role important des pay- 
sagistes a notre epoque,"^ tried to explain the popularity of the innumerable 
landscapes which were being produced to attract a broader and less dis- 
criminating buying public. Simple, uncomplicated landscapes, such as those 



being painted by Courbet at this time, he said, appealed to the middle-class 
city dweller who frequently spent a day in the country. But in order for such 
an individual to relax in the cit\' and take his mind off a grueling urban exis- 
tence, Champfleury continued, it was crucial that he have something pleas- 
ant, unchallenging (fig. 66), evocative, and instantly recognizable to look at 
when he was relaxing after a long day at work. Landscape painting, of all the 
genres, was the perfect antidote. 

This idea was not new, in fact. Two hundred years earlier Baron von 
Mayer had "alleviate[d] and divert[ed] his mind from very important chan- 
cery and very heavy government business detailed by His Electoral Highness 
by means of an interesting cabinet of the very rarest of paintings." These 
paintings included three landscapes by Claude and two by Jan Both.^ Such 
pictures must have provided the same means of escape even earlier, but this 
function was often unstated and, indeed, overlooked. Landscape painting has 
always been intended, by and large, for a civilized urban audience. 

This study of the popularity of the Impressionists is necessarily slanted 
toward a market reception of their landscape paintings. In fact, the history of 
the movement is replete with the antagonism felt by both the artists and their 
critic friends to exist between figure painting (urban subjects, exemplified by 
Degas and his associates) and landscape painting (promoted by Monet, 
Pissarro, and Sisley).' In the end, the "pure" Impressionism of landscape dis- 
cussed so fervently by such critics as Duret, in Les Feintres hnpressionnistes 
(1878), and Zola triumphed over the depiction of urban life favored by 
Duranty in La Nouvelle Peinture (1876) and by Burty. Landscape became the 
genre most comfortably discussed in relation to Impressionism; it became the 
genre most associated with Impressionism in the public's imagination. 

The century-long success story of the school of Impressionism prob- 
ably would have astounded the writers of earlier generations, steeped as they 
were in the Romantic tradition of lonely, starving artists painting only to 
meet with public indifference and scorn. For just such an image of pathetic 
heroism had taken deep root during the nineteenth century, widely propa- 
gated by the public success of literary, theatrical, and operatic works which 
played upon this theme. It therefore should not be surprising if Romanticism 
influenced the many early accounts of the lives of the Impressionists. It is 
quite possible, in fact, that such an image continues to subvert the objectivity 
of those who are studying the origin and rise of the school today. 

Traditionally there was only one way a painter could achieve recogni- 
tion in France. He had to study technique and theory as prescribed by the 
national Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in the studio and under the tutelage of a Mas- 
ter associated with it. This would be followed by several successful showings 
of the artist's work in the government-sponsored and -supervised exhibitions 
of the Academie de I'lnstitut National de France, the annual or biennial Salon 
(fig. 67). While it is true that one did not have to be an Academician in order 
to see one's work hung in a specific exhibit, it is also a fact that the canvases 
of newcomers often failed to find favor with the Salon jury. Since this jury 
selected all the canvases which would hang in the Salon galleries, the new 
painter was likely to be hastily and brutally eliminated from the exhibition. 
Nor did Salon acceptance guarantee any measure of recognition, let alone 
popularity. With row upon row of paintings crowding the gallery walls, it 
was only the most famous artists, or those to whom the jurors had awarded 
medals, who saw their paintings well placed in the Salon. Any work which 
was "skyed" in one of the topmost tiers, or which hung in a dark corner or 


behind a door, was bound to be overlooked by the multitudes who came to 
see each year's event. In the end, the artist's only hope was that one of his 
paintings would catch the fancy of a famous and popular critic. Favorable 
mention by any one of the 200-or-so columnists who wrote on art for Paris' 
many newspapers and periodicals was what the aspiring artist sought. A few 
complimentary lines in La Presse or L'Opinion nationale were sometimes 
worth as much as a third-class Salon prize medal when it came to making a 
name or selling a painting to an affluent client. 

It is estimated that some 4,000 full-time professional painters were at 
work in or near Paris in the 1860s. This situation created formidable com- 
petition, and it is obvious that the likelihood of any newcomer making a 
living from the sale of paintings was small indeed. The Impressionists, then, 
were no more handicapped by their unorthodoxy of st\'le or subject matter 
than they were by the sheer numbers of their competitors. There were many 
artists, ever more submissions to the Salon jury each year, and far, far too 
many paintings hung in the Salon exhibitions. It is clear that these problems 
were insoluble within the framework of the Academy's methods of recogni- 
tion and distribution. 

During the 1860s the artists who struggled to achieve recognition, as 
well as the art critics and journalists, tended to blame Academicians serving 
on the jury and the governmental officials who supervised them for what was 
perceived as the constant and apparently unjustified rejection of worthwhile 
paintings. Such agents of Emperor Napoleon III as the Comte de Nieuwer- 
kerke were regularly villified by artists and their literary friends for the 
shortcomings of the Salon system. And yet, from today's vantage point, it 
would appear that the harassed jury as well as the artists whom it rejected 
were equally the unwitting victims of social change. As the unprecedented 
number of available paintings grew, and as Paris' increasing population and 
prosperit)' swelled the ranks of potential art buyers (fig. 68), the existing 
machinery of artistic supply and demand simply broke down. A Salon jury 
required to eliminate by at least one half the 5,000 works submitted for exhi- 
bition in galleries woefully insufficient to contain 2,500 was more deserving 
of pity than censure. The Salon's hallowed, if overcrowded, halls demanded 

By the 1860s the Impressionists were all immersed in the milieu of the 
Parisian art world. Several were less than satisfied with the instruction they 
received at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts or in the private ateliers in which some 
of them had enrolled. Even so, and though they must have been as anxious 
for quick recognition and success as any talented artist, they appear to have 
had every intention of working within the existing framework of the tradi- 
tional system. In addition to availing themselves of varying t\'pes of formal 
training (Cezanne was the only one who had none), they submitted their 
paintings for consideration to each year's Salon jury. When rejected, they 
despaired; when accepted, they rejoiced and hoped for someone to take 
notice of their work. They played the game according to the rules and 
awaited critical success and discovery by the buying public. If they were not 
patient, they were at least resigned to the fact that recognition was likely to be 
slow in coming. Thoroughly, almost banally conventional, they only per- 
mitted innovation to surface in their paintings. In other matters they were 
conformists rather than rebels, a credit to their mostly bourgeois and lower 
bourgeois backgrounds. 

The overall acceptance record to the Salon of the Impressionist paint- 


ers was surprisingly good if the statistical odds against them are considered. 
A cursory summary of the results of Salon submissions of the artists from 
1859 (when Pissarro was accepted and Manet refused) until the last Salon 
before the Franco-Prussian War reveals a great deal.** Degas and Berthe 
Morisot were the most successful of the group, for both saw their work ac- 
cepted each of the seven times that paintings were submitted. Bazille was 
refused only once and accepted four times. Pissarro was successful on seven 
occasions, refused on three; Renoir and Sisley were each accepted one time 
more often than they were rejected, with five-four and three-two records, 
respectively. Monet was successful only half of the time, with three accep- 
tances and three refusals. Only Cezanne, whose work seems to have been 
appreciated solely by his artist friends during his first decade as a painter, met 
with consistent rejection; he was refused for five consecutive Salons. With 
this exception the Impressionists' overall record was a positive one. On the 
negative side, however, it should be noted that often only one painting was 
accepted of two or more submitted, and many paintings were so poorly hung 
as to be virtually invisible. 

At the "Salon des Refuses" of 1863 open to all those who had been 
refused by that year's Salon jury, Manet was criticized for the vulgarity of 
Dejeuner sur I'herbe (1863; Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris). 
On the other hand, Pissarro's two landscapes were singled out for special 
praise from some 3,000 paintings on display. He received a few complimen- 
tary lines from Castagnary, supporter of Courbet and other Realists; the 
critic ended his review by warning the "young" artist (Pissarro was 33, 
considerably older than all but Manet and Degas) against imitating Corot. 

The 1865 Salon saw Monet exhibiting for the first time, and two ma- 
rine paintings he had executed at Honfleur met with real success.'' They were 
popular with both the gallery crowds and the critics. Even the reviewer for 
the conservative Gazette des beaux-arts, Paul Mantz, wrote of the artist in 
glowing terms: 

...the striking point of view of the whole, a bold manner of seeing things and of 
forcing the attention of the spectator, these are qualities which M. Monet already 
possesses in high degree. His Mouth of the Seine abruptly stopped us in passing 
and we shall not forget it.^'^ 

After this first exposure of Monet's painting to the public, Bazille wrote to his 
parents, "Monet had a much greater success than he expected. Several tal- 
ented painters with whom he was not acquainted have written him compli- 
mentary letters...."" 

Zola, then a young journalist and novelist, wrote a series of articles 
prompted by the 1866 Salon that were panegyrics for some of the avant- 
garde artists, including Manet, who had not been accepted by the jury. When 
Zola reviewed the paintings of those whose work actually had been in the 
exhibitions, he singled out a landscape of Monet, Road in the Forest of Fon- 
tainebleau ("Ah yes! There is character, there is a man in that crowd of 
eunuchs....") and one by Pissarro, The Banks of the Marne in Winter (no. 9; 
"What a great unskilled person you are. Sir — you are an artist that I love!") 
as being by two newcomers who should be watched very carefully. '- 

Zola was not alone in mentioning Monet, however, for of the entire 
group he was the most successful with the critics of 1866. Thore [Burger] 
praised both of Monet's paintings in extravagant terms and called Road in 
the Forest of Fontainebleau the work of a born painter." Castagnary wrote a 
second compUmentary piece welcoming Monet to the ranks of "the natural- 

illliynS THIS Ar salon [ nAl MIER 

. rcUr ;iniiiM' ciuurp il.': 
•« rt-iiiiiif. I.iiivs Miiiui 

Vrniis Imilftlirs di'S Venus '-.rnmTTir s'tl y .iwiU 

Fig. 66. Daumier, More Venuses this year. ..always 

Ventises! if there were ivomen built like that! . 

1864. Lithograpii from Salon Sketches, 1865, pi. 1. 
Armand Hammer Foundation. Photo: Armand 
Hammer Foundation. 



Fig. 67. The Salon of 1861. Photograph. Musee 
d'Orsay, Paris. Photo: Musee d'Orsay. 

ists," which the critic defined as "the whole ideahstic and reahstic younger 
generation." '■* Martial [Potement] included Monet among those painters 
whose work he found "above eulogy."^^ 

The many good reviews received during the 1868 Salon were evidence 
of the power which the Cafe Guerbois set, the artists and critics of a natural- 
ist bent who orbited around Manet, wielded in the liberal periodicals. 
Castagnary protested the unfavorable treatment that works by Monet, Re- 
noir, Bazille, and Pissarro received from the Salon hanging committee, which, 
he complained, had deliberately hung Pissarro's landscapes high among the 
rafters "but not high enough to prevent art-lovers from seeing the solid quali- 
ties which distinguish them."^''The artist-critic Odilon Redon beheved that 
"the best things are still to be found among the works of artists who are 
seeking revitalization at the fecund sources of nature. has given us some 
true painters chiefly among the landscapists." He noted especially Pissarro's 
Cote de Jalais (1867; Private Collection, New York) and Monet's seascape of 
Le Havre (1866; Location unknown), which, Redon believed, showed a "rare 
audacity" although it suffered on account of its scale.^^ 

Zola undertook his 1868 Salon review with the specific aim of draw- 
ing attention to his friends. On this occasion the novelist followed yet another 
article on Manet with one on Pissarro's views of Pontoise. Zola also 
described Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Bazille, Degas, and the Morisot sisters as a 
"group" for whom he admitted feeling the greatest sympathy. ^^ Not all the 
1868 reviews were favorable, of course. Some were sarcastic and negative. 
The caricaturist Bertall chose a Monet seascape as his particular target, 
lampooning it in a cartoon just as he had done with Camille; Woman in a 
Green Dress (1866; Kunsthalle Bremen) two years earher. 

The Salon of 1870 also received mixed reviews. Duret, also an early 
collector of the Guerbois group's paintings, wrote excellent reviews of the 
works of Manet, Pissarro, and Degas in the exhibition. This was also a highly 
successful Salon for Bazille, who wrote his parents that his painting was 
much discussed by the spectators and press, adding, "at least I am in the swim 
and whatever I show from now on will be noticed."^' It was also in 1870 that 
Arsene Houssaye, whose once conservative views on art had developed into 
an ardent admiration for the work of Monet and Renoir, publicly announced 
his partisanship in a letter to the Salon reviewer of L' Artiste, a magazine for 
which he wrote and of which he was director for many years. His letter 

Remember well, then, the names of M. Renoir and M. Monet. I have in my collec- 
tion the Woman in a Green Dress by M. Monet and an early Bather by M. Renoir 
which, one day, I will give to the Luxembourg when that Museum will open its 
doors to all the opinions of the brush. In the meantime they arouse admiration.... 2° 

In the period following the Franco-Prussian War, France suffered a 
severe recession, a direct result of the war's destruction and the heavy burden 
of reparations imposed upon the nation by Germany. Many artists, the 
Impressionists not least of all, found themselves without funds. Since most of 
them were disenchanted with the Salon system (fig. 69), the holding of inde- 
pendent communal exhibitions was actively discussed. Such thoughts had 
been in the air for some years, and various groups had toyed with them. In 
1867 Monet and Bazille had gone as far as attempting to raise enough money 
to stage an exhibit which would be independent of the Salon. They failed to 
do so, but the concept remained an attractive one. Plans were formulated 



again at various meetings in the late months of 1873; this time they proved to 
be fruitful. 

On April 15, 1874, the "Premiere Exposition," an exhibition of 165 
w^orks of art, opened to the Paris public. Held in the commercial heart of the 
city at the corner of the boulevard des Capucines and the rue Danou, it oc- 
cupied an upstairs suite of connecting rooms formerly home to the photogra- 
pher Nadar. The exhibition had been organized and financed as a joint-stock 
corporation composed solely of artists who wished to present a series of 
annual exhibits of their work. The corporation bylaws, which the artists had 
written, stated its purpose: 

(1) The organization of independent exhibitions, with neither juries nor a system 
of awards, where each of the associates may exhibit his works; (2) The sale of these 
selfsame works; (3) The publication, as soon as possible, of a journal exclusively 
devoted to the arts.-' 

For the first of these "independent exhibitions," each artist contributed an 
equal amount to a fund to cover expenses. Each was then a shareholder, 
entitled to exhibit his works and subsequently to partake equally in any 
profit which might be realized. Of thirty participants in this unusual under- 
taking, nine were artists who would soon be known as "The Impressionists." 

Among the founders of the corporation, Monet and Pissarro were two 
of the seven artists appointed to be "Provisional Administrators" with Henri 
Rouart, a wealthy collector and lover of the fine arts. Renoir was appointed 
as one of three members of the official "Committee of Surveillance."-" Degas, 
Sisley, Berthe Morisot, and Guillaumin were also members of the initial 
group; Cezanne and Boudin were invited later to participate, as were Astruc, 
the art critic and artist, and Louis Latouche, an artist and shop proprietor 
who sometimes dealt in paintings. Some painters in the Academic style, many 
of them friends of Degas who were represented regularly in the Salon, were 
added to the roster. 

It was the Impressionists, however, who were the guiding force. 
Through diplomacy and hard work, they managed to pull together a dis- 
parate group of artists into a cohesive unit which functioned effectively and 
accomplished much of what it originally had set out to do. This was no mean 
feat. Each painter had his own idea of what should be done and how. Even 
the matter of deciding upon an official title for the new organization was 
debated with considerable passion — "Societe anonyme des artistes ptintres, 
sculpteurs, graveurs, etc. a Paris" was the descriptive name finally agreed 
upon. It evidently was intended to include everything and offend no one, 
while sounding as entrepreneurial as possible. 

John Rewald's exemplary description of the details of the "Premiere 
Exposition" makes it easy to envision the give and take of the artists as they 
put their show together.-'' What motivated these hardworking painters, most 
of them beset by financial problems and family responsibilities, to devote so 
much time and effort to the organization of the corporation and the imple- 
mentation of its precedent-shattering exhibition? Were they bent on a defi- 
ance of art officialdom, as has been assumed? Or were they simply seeking an 
effective way to circumvent the Salon system and get their paintings before 
the public under favorable circumstances, in as direct a way as possible, 
and — not a small matter — to sell more of them? 

The long-range effect of this exhibition and of the ones which suc- 
ceeded it from 1876 to 1886 was extremely important. The artists attained 
their goals in at least one respect, that of exhibiting their paintings without 


the sanction of the Salon. Having more than one or two paintings before the 
pubhc in a given exhibition was a novel experience for most of them, al- 
though the nucleus of the group had enjoyed that experience when Durand- 
Ruel exhibited their paintings in his gallery. Further, attendance at the "Pre- 
miere Exposition" was not unimpressive for a first-time endeavor. Some 
thirty-five hundred visitors in four weeks (an average of one hundred-seven- 
teen persons per day) saw the exhibit.-"' These figures appear small indeed 
when compared to the staggering statistics of Salon attendance. Zola wrote 
that in 1875 some 400,000 Parisians thronged the galleries of the Palais 
d'Industrie at the rate of 10,000 per day.--"^ Yet those who attended the "Pre- 
miere Exposition," where there was space actually to see the paintings, had a 
definite advantage over Salon visitors. In addition, the manner in which 
works were hung was incomparably better in the smaller exhibition. The 
majority of paintings was hung on one level, with only a few larger ones 
placed in the higher second register. Care was taken to preserve ample space 
between them. What Castagnary called "the wise disposition of the paintings 
which guarantees to each exactly the same sum of advantage" allowed the 
canvases breathing space and showed them off effectively.-* He wrote that 
the determination of which name would come first was made by lottery, so 
anxious were the artists that each receive fair treatment. Great care was taken 
by Renoir, head of the hanging committee, to position each painting in a 
satisfactory visual context so that it could be seen without interference from 
neighboring canvases. It would seem, then, that the audience had every 
opportunity to examine all the paintings in the best of circumstances. Did the 
public like what it saw? 

The "Premiere Exposition" was widely covered in the press, with 
about 15 articles written about it. Of ten important reviews, six were very 
favorable to the concept and execution of the show itself, although somewhat 
mixed in their opinions of the individual paintings. Four reviews were thor- 
oughly negative. Burty, Leon de Lora, and Ernest d'Hervilly, three of the six 
favorable critics, were unstinting in their praise of the artists and their works. 
Marc de Montifaud, Armand Silvestre, and Castagnary, the other three, 
described some of the paintings in complimentary terms, others in a less posi- 
tive fashion. It was Castagnary who wrote the most carefully reasoned 
review, emphasizing the exhibition's superiority to the Salon, endorsing the 
group's defiance of the jury's "egotism" and "imbecility'." He identified 
Pissarro, Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Degas, Guillaumin, and Berthe Morisot as 
the "new school — if it is a school," discussed the work of each, and stated: 
"If one wants to characterize them with a single word which explains their 
efforts, one would have to create the new term 'Impressionists.' They are 
impressionists in the sense that they render not a landscape, but the sensation 
produced by a landscape"-" (fig. 70). In the end, Castagnary felt that the 
novelty' of the exhibition neither constituted a revolution nor indicated the 
emergence of a new school. Impressionism was "a fashion, nothing more," he 
wrote, predicting (correctly) that within a few years the artists would split up. 

The strongest among them. ..will have recognized that while some subjects lend 
themselves to the impressionist manner, some are content with a sketched outline, 
others. ..cry out for clear expression, for precise execution. ...Those who have suc- 
ceeded in perfecting their drawing will leave impressionism behind, as something 
that has become really too superficial for them.-* 

Castagnary ended his review by pointing to Cezanne's Modern Olympia 
(1872—73; Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris), which was in the 


exhibition, as an example of the undesirable end which awaited those who 
"neglect[ed] reflection and learning" and persisted in "pursuing the impres- 
sion to the death." The imaginations of such artists would become "power- 
less to formulate anything more than subjective personal fantasies, with no 
echo in the general consciousness," the critic believed, "and with no verifica- 
tion in reality." 

In contrast to Castagnary and those others who wholeheartedly en- 
dorsed the exhibition in spite of reservations about individual works or the 
Impressionist style, Sylvestre and Ernest Chesneau felt that the corporation 
should have been more exclusively Impressionist, or at least should have con- 
fined its exhibition to those who represented "the plein-air school." The fig- 
ure painters included simply diverted the group's focus and reduced the effec- 
tiveness of its purpose. 

By far the most negative review was the over-long article in Le Chari- 
vari written by Louis Leroy. It is this article which is most often quoted by 
historians. The critical tradition of venomous satire was a staple in the 
competitive journalistic world of mid-nineteenth-century Paris, and the 
Impressionists simply provided new prey for the hunt. Leroy's article pur- 
ported to be a running conversation between the writer and a shocked Aca- 
demic painter as they wandered through the "Premiere Exposition." It was a 
tour de force of the brand of wit that Parisian critics employed with telling 
effect: tongue-in-cheek "objectivity" combined with thinly veiled hostility.-'^ 

Because of Leroy's preoccupation with "['Impression" and the fact 
that his piece was the first to be published of those which used this term, he is 
generally credited with contributing the terms "Impressionist" and "Impres- 
sionism" to posterity. However, the word "impressionism," inspired by the 
Monet painting of Le Havre which the artist called Impression, Soleil levant 
(fig. 71), was used by at least five other reviewers. In any case, it was the 
general opinion that the artists of the "Premiere Exposition," whether they 
Hked it or not, now constituted a recognized movement with a future. 

One of the purposes of the Impressionists' direct appeal to the public 
was to sell more of their paintings. According to the financial report of their 
corporation, sales of paintings from the "Premiere Exposition" amounted to 
3,500 francs, not a significant profit. Of this amount 1,510 francs came from 
the sale of paintings by Impressionist artists. Monet evidently received 200 
francs; Renoir, 180 francs; Pissarro, 100 francs; and Sisley, 130 francs. Nei- 
ther Degas nor Berthe Morisot sold a painting, although Cezanne found one 
buyer. Comte Doria, a banker who visited the exhibition, bought his land- 
scape House of the Hanged Man (1873-74; Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu 
de Paume, Paris) for 300 francs and later bought paintings by Renoir and 
Sisley. John Rewald has noted that Renoir was unable to obtain the 500 
francs he asked for his Loge (1874; The Courtauld Institute Galleries, Lon- 
don), but the artist eventually persuaded the dealer pere Martin to part with 
425 francs for it — the exact amount Renoir needed to pay his rent.^° In terms 
of sales, landscapes seem to have fared better than figure paintings. 

Since the exhibition failed to bring in a large profit from admission 
fees, catalogue sales, and commissions, the corporation was dissolved at the 
end of the year. It had, however, inspired the addition of a few new recruits to 
the thin rank of collectors, some wealthy and some of limited means, who 
became ardent partisans of the Impressionists. Although the corporation's 
original plan for a continuing series of independent exhibitions was carried 

Fig. 68. Daumier, A Day When Entrance is Free. — 
10° Centigrade. Lithograph from The Salon Public, 
1852, pi. 10 (second state). Armand Hammer 
Foundation. Photo: Armand Hammer Foundation. 



out during the decade between 1876 and 1886, the course of events sur- 
rounding these later exhibitions was by no means a smooth one.^' The criti- 
cal reviews and publicity which they received may have inspired a popular 
image of the Impressionists as a closely knit, homogeneous group in which all 
the members employed the same painting style and believed in the same the- 
ories. But this was not the case. Disagreements over various issues weakened 
the foundations of the group although, interestingly, lack of stylistic unity 
proved to be less consequential than debate over appropriate genres. Al- 
though new artists joined in the later exhibitions — Caillebotte showed with 
the group from 1876; Cassatt and Gauguin asked to participate in 1879 — 
Renoir, Cezanne, and Sisley chose to return to the Salon. The last exhibition 
in 1886 (which included Signac, Seurat, and Camille Pissarro's son, Lucien) 
was more a debut of the painters of the next generation than it was a con- 
firmation of the series of exhibitions that had begun in 1874. 

The Salons and the independent exhibitions, of course, were not the 
only means to market paintings. The Impressionists were quick to realize that 
there were many avenues open for them to sell their pictures, and they chose 
to explore them all. Collectors — both artist friends and colleagues such as 
Bazille and Zola and a few independent spirits such as Chocquet (no. 73) and 
Faure (nos. 62, 95-96) — acquired the Impressionists' paintings and helped 
in a small way to make their work known to a slightly larger audience. Public 
auctions set by the artists out of self-interest, such as the Hotel Drouot sale of 
1875, as well as those generated out of financial necessity, such as the 
Hoschede sale of 1874, were another means of tapping into the market. 
More to the point, of course, were the dealers, such as pere Martin and 
Durand-Ruel, who promoted the artists' work through exhibitions and pub- 
lications. All of these strategies enlarged the artists' audience and, with luck, 
generated the sale of paintings. 

As has been discussed, the Impressionists managed to catch the imagi- 
nation of at least a few friendly journalists during their first decade of public 
exhibition. Zola, almost more of a first-rate publicist than an interpreter of 
stylistic innovation, purchased Impressionist paintings by Monet and 
Pissarro,'- among others, as soon as the income from his successful novels 
enabled him to do so. The collection of Houssaye, critic, author, and amateur 
artist, was considerably smaller. Of Monet, for example, he owned only the 
rather traditional portrait of the artist's first wife already mentioned, 
Camille; Woman in a Green Dress. In the spring of 1868, after Monet made 
this sale, he wrote to Bazille: 

I've had one sale which, if not financially advantageous, is perhaps so for the fu- 
ture, although I don't believe in that any more. I have sold the Woman in Green to 
Arsene Houssaye... who has come to Le Havre, who is enthusiastic, and wants to 
get me launched, so he says.^^ 

Although he never bought another picture from the artist, Houssaye tried his 
best to help Monet, whose launching turned out to be a long, slow process, 

Duret, the intellectual son of a rich Bordeaux wine merchant, be- 
friended Monet in 1865 and met the other artists at the Cafe Guerbois. Duret 
assembled, begmning in 1870, a large collection of important figure paint- 
ings by Manet, Degas, Cezanne, and Renoir. The core of his collection, how- 
ever, consisted of early landscapes by Monet, Sisley, and, to a lesser extent, 
Pissarro. Of the dozen or so early Sisleys he owned, most depicted the roads, 
rivers, and bridges of Louveciennes and Marly. The Monets were fewer in 




number and were mostly sea or river views. Duret's early support of the 
Impressionists was most important. In addition, his collection revealed that 
he was not only interested in their avant-garde style, but in their more in- 
novative iconography as well. 

Among the Impressionists' artist patrons was Daubigny, who pur- 
chased Monet's Zaan at Zaandam (1871; Acquavella Galleries) in 1871. The 
engineer Henri Rouart, who bought the work of Degas and Manet as early as 
1870, was a well-to-do amateur. Bazille, helped financially by his wealthy 
parents, was upon occasion a patron as well as a hardworking member of the 
group. He was particularly close to Monet, and bought Women in the Gar- 
den (fig. 50) for 2,500 francs, considerably more than the artist wa-s used to 
getting for a canvas. This generous price was paid in monthly installments 
from Bazille's allowance. Caillebotte, Monet's neighbor in Argenteuil and a 
specialist in boat-building (see above, III/4), was a man of wealth and soon 
became one of the most important collectors of Impressionism. The encour- 
agement he gave to Monet during the late 1870s was especially important to 
that artist in a difficult period of his career. Caillebotte's collection formed 
the basis of the present-day Impressionist holdings of the Musee d'Orsay 
(nos. 67, 70, 81, 97-98). 

Renoir acquired much-needed patronage during this early period 
from the Le Coeur family of architects and artists. They welcomed him into 
their home, and he became one of the family while he did portraits of several 
of them. At least one substantial commission was also obtained for the artist 
as part of a Le Coeur architectural project. This was for a ceiling in the 
townhouse which Prince Georges Bibesco was building for himself. It is 
known that Renoir was at work on this project in 1868; Bibesco continued to 
take a personal interest in the artist, and other commissions came his way. 
The Le Coeurs' support ended abruptly in 1874, however, when the family 
learned that Renoir was courting one of its young members.^"* 

Another supporter of all the Impressionists was Julian Tanguy, a trav- 
eling paint merchant who met Pissarro, Renoir, Monet, and the others in 
Fontainebleau in the 1860s. He liked the brightness of the Impressionist pal- 
ette and acquired paintings outright or in exchange. An American who vis- 
ited Tanguy before 1892 described his shop: 

It was very difficult to find as he is constantly shifting his quarters, from inability 
to pay his rent. No one knows what or where he eats; he sleeps in the closet among 
his oils and varnishes and gives up all the room he can to his beloved paintings. 
There they are, piled up in stacks: violent or thrilling Van Goghs; dusky heavy 
Cezannes...all lovingly preserved and lovingly brought out by the old man....^^ 

Several of the artists sold or traded their paintings to a restaurateur 
named Eugene Miirer (ne Meunier), a classmate of Guillaumin. Miirer com- 
missioned Renoir and Pissarro to decorate his restaurant and often accepted 
their paintings, as well as those of Monet, Sisley, and Cezanne, in lieu of 
payment for meals. The artists were frequently forced by circumstances to 
accept whatever he offered, and Miirer and his sister gradually accumulated a 
sizable collection. When he later moved to Rouen to become the proprietor 
of the Hotel du Dauphin et d'Espagne, he publicized his "magnificent collec- 
tion of Impressionist paintings which can be seen any day without charge 
between ten and six" as a cultural inducement to his clients. Though there is 
no evidence that this helped the hotel business, it could hardly have hurt the 
artists' reputations. 

By the early 1870s there had been an increase in the number of 

Fig. 69. Daumier, The Last Day for the Acceptance of 
Paintings ( — "Rats! Here we've already arrived, and 
my painting isn't done. ..What a pity I hired my car- 
rier by the trip and not by the hour!..."). Lithograph 
from Current Events, 1846 (first state). Armand 
Hammer Foundation. Photo: Armand Hammer 



Fig. 70. Daumier, But of course, my dear, I assure you 
that Monsieur is draiving a landscape... Isn't it true. 
Monsieur, that you're drawing a landscape?... Litho- 
graph from The Good Bourgeois, 1846, pi. 23 (sec- 
ond state). Armand Hammer Foundation. Photo: 
Armand Hammer Foundation. 

supporters who gathered around the artists in order to buy their work and 
espouse their cause. One of the most significant was the operatic baritone 
Faure. In 1871, on one of his singing tours, Faure met Durand-Ruel in Lon- 
don. With the dealer's assistance, he transformed his collection of Barbizon 
landscapes into one of the largest and most important early collections of 
Impressionist paintings (nos. 62, 95-96). Faure, however, remained true to 
his earlier predilections in that the works by Sisley, Monet, and Pissarro that 
he acquired were, almost without exception, their landscape paintings. More 
specifically, the singer seems to have been preoccupied with water; his 
Monets, for example, were predominantly seascapes of the Normandy coast 
and Holland, and the majority of his Sisleys were views of rivers both in the 
He de France and in England. Perhaps Faure wanted to surround himself in 
his home with travel mementos of his concert tours. In any case, his paintings 
by Pissarro, an artist whose work he collected in even greater quantit}- than 
anyone else's, were almost exclusively of the various byways and fields in and 
around Pontoise. 

Another independent collector, although one less wealthy than Faure, 
was Chocquet, who had his first taste of Impressionism at the 1875 sale or- 
ganized by the artists at the Hotel Drouot.-""* Chocquet had been devoted to 
the work of Delacroix for years, but his head was turned by the canvases he 
saw at the 1875 sale, especially those of Renoir. He asked the artist to do a 
portrait of Mme. Chocquet, and Renoir later took him to pere Tanguy to see 
the latter's Cezanne paintings. As a result, Chocquet became the first major 
collector of Cezanne's work. Cezanne, in turn, took him to Argenteuil to 
meet Monet, and Chocquet bought a landscape on his first visit. A man with 
total confidence in his own judgment, he preferred to collect the work of 
artists who were somewhat neglected and did not command high prices. 
Chocquet resigned from his civil service position just before the 1876 group 
exhibition and, according to Duret, became a kind of apostle in his advocacy 
of Impressionism. 

Dr. Cachet, the homeopathic physician and amateur printmaker who 
was a friend of the families of both Cezanne and Pissarro (see above, III/5), 
became a collector as he grew to know the artists, and after he moved to 
Auvers in 1872 he played host to several of them. He collected works by 
Pissarro, Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Guillaumin, Gauguin, and Van Gogh and was 
one of the earliest buyers of Cezanne's work when he purchased A Modern 
Olympia in 1872. It was also Cachet who took care of Van Gogh in the last 
few months of the artist's life. 

Several bourgeois collectors became important to the Impressionists 
at this time as well. Two financiers, Gustave and Achille Arosa, both became 
interested in the new st)-le before 1872, when Achille commissioned Pissarro 
to paint four decorations of the seasons for his home (see above, III 5). The 
banker Albert Hecht purchased the work of several members of the group, as 
did Ernest Hoschede (no. 61), the director of the Paris department store Le 
Gagne-Petit. Hoschede owned predominantly landscape paintings by Sisley, 
Monet, and Pissarro. In 1876 he commissioned a series of large-scale land- 
scape decorations for his country home at Montgeron. Thus the Impression- 
ists' early Parisian middle-class patrons not only collected their pictures; they 
even went so far as to seek out the artists to execute paintings for their resi- 
dences. By and large these decorations, like earlier ones by Bazille (no. 4), 
were landscapes. 

The general economic recession in 1873 in France forced Hoschede to 



auction part of his collection at the Hotel Drouot on January 13, 1874. 
Eight)-four paintings were sold, of which thirteen were by the Impressionists. 
Of these, eleven were landscapes by Monet (three), Pissarro (five), and Sisley 
(three).''" After a Degas racetrack painting, two landscapes by Pissarro 
fetched the highest prices; one of these was probably Banks of the Oise, 
Poutoise (no. 61). Interestingly enough, this most modern of "improved 
landscape" paintings was acquired by M. Hagerman, a painting dealer who 
also bought six other landscapes. 

Propelled by the high prices fetched for the Hoschede pictures, some- 
times as much as four or five times what they were used to getting, the artists 
decided to organize an auction on their own. On March 24, 1875, works by 
Berthe Morisot, Renoir, Sisley, and Monet went on sale. ''^Three-quarters of 
the seventy-rwo pictures were landscapes. It was an unmitigated disaster. The 
average price was but half that paid for the Pissarro in the Hoschede sale of 
the year before. Given their earlier success, the artists were at a loss to explain 
the public humiliation of such pathetically low prices. An Impressionist sale 
on May 28, 1877, was similarly disappointing. 

These two sales and the second Impressionist exhibition of 1876 pro- 
voked extraordinarily hostile reactions, and not only in print. During the first 
sale at the Hotel Drouot the police had to be called in. The Parisian public 
had been told by many of their hostile critics that the Impressionists were a 
strange group of radical, revolutionary artists, even communards, who 
painted very odd pictures. It is not surprising, then, that many who came to 
the second and third sales or exhibitions were motivated by curiosity rather 
than by the love of art. The Parisian public was similar to the press in its 
tendency to ridicule that which it did not understand. Duret described the 
third (1877) exhibition this way: 

Numbers of people went to see it. They were not attracted by any sort of artistic 
interest; they simply went in order to give themselves that unpleasant thrill which 
is produced by the sight of anything eccentric or extravagant. Hence there was 
much laughter and gesticulation on the part of the visitors. They went in a mood of 
hilarit}'; they began to laugh while they were still in the street; they laughed as they 
were going up the stairs; they were convulsed with laughter the first moment they 
cast their eyes upon the pictures.''' 

This antipathy was surely provoked at least in part by critics who were more 
concerned with displaying their agility at ekphrasis than with explaining the 
iconographic and stylistic characteristics of the new art. 

Although the Impressionists were never totally ignored by conven- 
tional art dealers, such merchants were not significant in the early selling of 
their works. Latouche, whose art supply shop was a favorite rendezvous for 
his peers, occasionally bought or borrowed a painting for his display window. 
He purchased a Parisian scene by Monet (The Qnai du Louvre [1867; 
Gemeentemuseum, The Hague]) in 1867 for that purpose, and showed 
another Monet of Sainte-Adresse in 1869. According to Boudin this work 
constantly attracted crowds, although no one was moved enough to buy it. 
Pere Martin paid Sisley and Pissarro from 20 to 40 francs per canvas and 
retailed the paintings at prices ranging from 60 to 80 francs. For a Monet he 
asked 100 francs, but thought himself lucky to get 50 for a painting by 

In 1871 all this changed. The Franco-Prussian War found Monet and 
Pissarro in London, where they were introduced to the man who would 
become their greatest patron: Durand-Ruel, owner of successful private gal- 



leries in France, England, Germany, and Holland. By 1861 Durand-Ruel had 
become one of over 100 art dealers operating m Paris although his gallery 
had commenced business earlier in the century. Its customers were the solid 
new bourgeoisie of Paris: bankers, merchants, engineers, physicians, profes- 
sionals of all kinds. By the time Paul had succeeded his father, J.-M.-F. 
Durand, as head of the business, there were branches on the Continent. At 
this time the gallery specialized in the paintings of Theodore Gericault, Dela- 
croix, Millet, Corot, and the Barbizon school of landscapists. 

It was to the London shop at 1 Bond Street that Daubigny brought 
Monet in January 1871. Durand-Ruel later wrote of Monet in his memoirs: 

His entries in the last few Salons had greatly impressed me, but we had never met, 
as he was so rarely in Paris....! immediately bought the paintings he had just done 
in London. Monet, in turn, introduced me to Pissarro....! paid Monet 300 francs a 
painting and Pissarro 200 francs, prices which remained unchanged for many 
years. No one else would have been as generous as became painfully obvious when, 
unable to continue my purchases, both artists were forced to sell their works for 
100 francs, then 50, and finally even less.""^ 

Upon their return to Paris Monet and Pissarro introduced the dealer 
to other members of the Impressionist group. Soon Durand-Ruel not only 
bought paintings by these two, but by Renoir, Sisley, and others as well, and 
on a regular basis, for 200 to 300 francs each. Manet and Degas also received 
his support. Soon pictures by all the artists were a familiar sight at Durand- 
Ruel. "Most visitors glanced at them with neither interest nor hostility," the 
dealer wrote, "...a small number of unprejudiced collectors was impressed to 
the point where I succeeded in selling a few....""*' Such a paucity of sales was 
not as disappointing to the artists as might be assumed, for the dealer's pay- 
ments, buyers or not, provided a steady income for months at a time. 

In 1873 Galerie Durand-Ruel brought out a deluxe, leather-bound, 
three-volume catalogue of the paintings it was then offering. Carefully 
arranged, with engravings, the catalogue contained work by French artists 
from Jacques-Louis David to Leon-Augustin Lhermitte, from Salon pictures 
to watercolors, with a heavy concentration on the art of the Barbizon artists. 
The twenty-one illustrations of Impressionist painting were scattered 
throughout the three volumes. With the exception of those by Degas and 
Manet, all these pictures were landscapes conservatively chosen to be dis- 
creetly integrated with pictures by the earlier generation. Durand-RuePs 
stock was extensive, and the buyer was made to feel by reviewing this cata- 
logue that the history of art had not only unfolded without complication, but 
that it was without a true development or progression of any kind. The level- 
ing effect of the black-and-white illustrations suited Durand-Ruel's purpose 
perfectly. In Silvestre's introduction, prospective bourgeois purchasers were 
assured that the "new" painters, by their intimate association with the estab- 
lished generation whose works were included between the same covers, 
would eventually acquire similar reputations and that their pictures would 
incur a resultant rise in value. Durand-Ruel's desire to make the Impression- 
ists, especially their landscapes, more acceptable to his bourgeois clientele 
kept his publisher busy indeed. ■*- 

In a conversation some 30 years later, Monet recalled the trauma of 
looking for a substitute dealer when Durand-Ruel was unavailable: 

I went to the big dealers of the 1830 [i.e., Barbizon] school, such as Arnold and 
Tripp, with some canvases under my arm. I was not admitted to the shop but left 
standing in the vestibule while the two partners and their staff examined my work. 



They laughed out loud. "These are by Monet, the Impressionist," they said, "isn't 
he absurd?" They lifted the curtains to look at me and made fun of me to my face. 
Would you believe it?"" 

It is no wonder that several of the Impressionists later looked back upon 
Durand-Ruel's purchase program as their salvation. An idea of the esteem in 
which the artists held their patron can be gained from Monet's recollection of 
what the help of "this incomparable man who used his life to break ground 
for us" meant to all of them: 

Without Durand we would have been dead of hunger, all of us Impressionists. We 
owe everything to him. He was tenacious, he risked failure 20 times in order to 
sustain us. One [observer] wrote: "These people are crazy, but there is one who is 
even crazier, a dealer who buys them !"■*■* 

Although such a small number of French collectors could not support 
the Impressionist artists alone, their paintings were becoming known outside 
France. American art students and tourists, for example, wrote home about 
the new style, and it was discussed within the context of the artistic life of 
Paris. Henry James' report on the 1 877 Impressionist exhibition for the New 
York Tribune is a good example: 

An exhibition for which I may at least claim that it can give rise... to no dangerous 
perversities of taste is that of the little group of the Irreconcilables — otherwise 
known as the "Impressionists" in painting....! have found it decidedly interesting. 
But the effect of it was to make me think better than ever of all the good old rules 
which decree that beauty is beauty and ugliness ugliness, and warn us off from the 
sophistications of satiety. The young contributors to the exhibition of which I 
speak are partisans of unadorned reality and absolute foes to arrangement, embel- 
lishment, selection, to the artist's allowing himself. be preoccupied with the 
idea of the beautiful.^ ■ 

In addition, Impressionism was being mentioned — not necessarily favor- 
ably — in American art books, such as Henry Bacon's Parisian Year (1882). 
Bacon, a Boston artist and author, wrote that the new painters 

...have at last formed themselves into a society under the title of 
"Impressionnistes" which, as well as we can learn, intends to explain that they 
wish to present to the public their impression of nature. We have no reason to 
consider them dishonest, so we must conclude that they are afflicted with some 
hitherto unknown disease of the eye; for they neither see form nor color as other 
painters have given them to us, or as nature appears to all who do not belong to 
this association. Their models must be a regiment of monstrosities with green or 
violet flesh, the skies of their landscapes green, the trees purple and the ground 

Given the French critics' initial response to Impressionism, Bacon's com- 
ments certainly come as no surprise. James, on the other hand, although 
decidedly uninteresting as a reporter, was more liberal in his views than one 
might expect. However, only firsthand experience with Impressionism would 
allow the American public to be able to judge their art for itself. 

In 1883 Americans were given this opportunity. The "International 
Exhibition for Art and Industry" opened in Boston under the auspices of the 
French government. Its participation assured that all French paintings could 
be exhibited duty-free unless they were sold in America, in which case a tax 
was to be levied. Durand-Ruel, still desperately searching for a market for his 
artists' work and finding none in France, had sent a good representation of 
their paintings; pictures by Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, and Sisley were 



included. Although their canvases were somewhat eclipsed by the larger Aca- 
demic paintings and decorative objects which surrounded them, they did not 
escape notice. The Art Amateur mentioned them, saying that the men who 
created them were "not without talent, although their conceit of themselves is 
certainly excessive....""*^ The Boston Advertiser critic noted "a queer genius 
called Pissarro; and a marvelous realist-impressionist called Renoir who is 
the boldest bad man of the lot." The critic disliked the "disturbing tone" of 
the exhibit, however, which came from those "eccentric products of the Salon 
des Refuses.''"*^ Unfortunately Durand-Ruel does not mention the 1883 Bos- 
ton exhibition in his memoirs, and it is not known if he sold any paintings 

Residents of Boston were not unsophisticated in their knowledge of 
French painting. Since artist William Morris Hunt had returned to his native 
city from Paris in 1862, wealthy Bostonians had shown great interest in Mil- 
let, Corot, and all the Barbizon landscap'ists. S. H. Vose, a dealer in Boston 
and Providence, began importing great numbers of these paintings in the 
1870s, and few Boston collectors were without at least one Millet or Corot 
and several representative landscapes by their cohorts. The ascendancy of 
nineteenth-century French landscape painting in Boston after 1870 was 
unique among major American urban centers. 

Also during 1883 New Yorkers had their first opportunity to view 
Impressionism at the "Pedestal Exhibition," a benefit show organized by art- 
ists William Merritt Chase and Carroll Beckwith in order to raise funds for a 
base for the Statue of Liberty. As the sculpture had been presented to the 
United States by France, the occasion was a perfect one for an exhibit of 
French paintings. The two American organizers ignored the monumental 
Academic canvases by such Salon favorites as Ernest Meissonier and 
Edouard Detaille, in which New York dealers had invested heavily, and cen- 
tered their exhibition around Gericault, Millet, Courbet, Corot, the Barbizon 
painters, and what few Impressionist works could be found in New York 
collections. Among the latter were four Manets, at least two of which artist 
J. Alden Weir had purchased in Paris in 1881 for collector Erwin Davis, and a 
Degas canvas from the same collection. Few landscapes were to be seen. The 
New York critics complained about the preferential treatment given France's 
most avant-garde contemporary art, but the ground had been broken in New 
York for French Impressionism. 

Meanwhile, in France Durand-Ruel's financial situation was rapidly 
deteriorating. He therefore could now pay very little to the Impressionist 
painters, and this only on an irregular, "handout" basis. The dealer wrote 
many years later, "I do not know how I would have been able to surmount 
my innumerable difficulties without a fortuitous circumstance which, at the 
end of 1885, put me in touch with the American Art Association of New 
York."'*'' The brainchild of James F. Sutton and Thomas Kirby, this associ- 
ation was founded ostensibly to bring the paintings of younger American 
artists to the fore. Such artists were much neglected by New York dealers, 
who, reflecting the tastes of their wealthiest customers, were far more inter- 
ested in selling the costly canvases of well-established painters such as Albert 
Bierstadt, Emanuel Leutze, or Frederic Edwin Church. Apparently Sutton 
was intent on selling foreign art and cloaked his organization in the garb of a 
non-profit educational enterprise. Since the customs office therefore regarded 
his idea of importing contemporary French paintings as educational — an 
opportunity for young American artists to view at first hand the best of mod- 



ern European art — Durand-Ruel was allowed to send paintings to him duty- 
free, with the understanding that anything sold in the United States would be 
taxed after the fact. 

The American Art Association exhibition, entitled "Works in Oil and 
Pastel by the Impressionists of Pans," opened on April 10, 1886. Some 250 of 
the 300 Durand-Ruel paintings were by the Impressionists or by artists close 
to them in style. Scheduled to run for one month, the show was so well at- 
tended that Durand-Ruel was invited to move his paintings to the National 
Academy of Design, New York, for a second, four-week-Jong showing. 
Exhibiting under the auspices of the National Academy was tantamount to 
official sanction by the American art establishment, an accolade which had 
yet to be granted by France. The exhibition was supplemented by privately 
owned Impressionist paintings lent by A. J. Cassatt, brother of the artist and 
a Pennsylvania Railroad magnate; Davis, who had made his fortune in silver 
and would present two Manets to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New 
York; and the H. O. Havemeyers, whose collection was rapidly becoming one 
of the finest in the United States and which would, in the twentieth century, 
form the foundation of the Metropolitan Museum's nineteenth-century 
French holdings. 

Although it IS known that the Impressionists' dealer sold some 
$18,000 worth of the paintings he had shipped from France, information is 
scanty as to who the American buyers were and which paintings were sold. 
Aside from Havemeyer and Davis, few New Yorkers preferred the work of 
the Impressionists to the approximately 50 conservative paintings also in the 
exhibition. One buyer, Albert Spencer, sold his collection of Academic paint- 
ings in order to concentrate on Impressionism. William H. Fuller probably 
bought a Monet; it was he who arranged the first Monet exhibit in America, 
held at New York's Union League Club in 1891, and wrote a newspaper 
article on Monet that same year. Cyrus J. Lawrence's interest in Impression- 
ism began with his 1886 purchases, believed to have included two Boudin 
seascapes and one of Pissarro's Pontoise landscapes. Sutton himself bought 
several paintings, which he kept for the rest of his life. 

The moderate sales from this exhibition showed that the American 
public was at least curious and open-minded about Durand-Ruel's first major 
venture in the New World. Referring to this event years later the dealer wrote, 
"The general public, as well as every amateur, came not to laugh, but to learn 
about these notorious paintings which had caused such a stir in Paris." Al- 
though there is no reason to disagree with his assessment of those who visited 
the galleries, his memory was faulty when he wrote in his memoirs that "the 
press proved unanimously favorable, and a number of laudatory reviews 
appeared in the New York papers and those of other large cities.'"^" Lauda- 
tory reviews there were, but the press' response was not unanimous. 

Less sophisticated in their understanding of works of art than their 
French and English counterparts, nineteenth-century American art critics 
rarely reached the standards of analysis and interpretation maintained by the 
best of the European writers. A review of an exhibition in an American jour- 
nal or daily paper was more likely to take the form of "News Notes" than 
that of formal criticism, and such phrases as "felicity of brush stroke" and 
"manly and virile representation" tended to predominate. For most of the 
century the longer articles and books on art that appeared tended to be 
appreciative rather than critical in tone. Henry Tuckerman's volumes Book 
of the Artists (1867) and Artist-Life (1847) were typical American publica- 


Fig. 71. Monet, Impression, Sunrise, 1872. Oil on 
canvas. 48 x 63 cm. Musee Marmottan, Paris. 
Photo: Routhier. 



tions in that they were biographical and anecdotal, and a strong stream of 
patriotism permeated the descriptions of the paintings, especially those of the 
American landscape. Although genre subjects may have been the most popu- 
lar with the nineteenth-century American public-at-large, landscapes 
received the greatest critical support. This was true whether they were 
painted by members of the Hudson River school or by later painters trained 
abroad. America's vast, unspoiled natural wilderness, free and open to all, 
was an area in relation to which the unacknowledged cultural superiority of 
Europe seemed insignificant; its depiction could only be pohtical in nature. It 
is not surprising that Americans liked the Barbizon landscape painters best of 
contemporary European artists (see above, III/l). This was the basis for 
Durand-Ruel's hope that Americans would be capable of the next ideological 
leap: to embrace the landscapes of the Impressionist painters. 

In general the tone of the New York press was one of curiosity and 
amazement — in a few cases, as we have seen, even enthusiasm — as opposed 
to hostility. The critic for the New York Times believed that: 

The first feeling about such works as these is, what extraordinary impertinence on 
the part of the artists! It is like turning the wrong side of the stage flies to the 
audience, it is offering the public work which has been prepared up to a certain 
point only. No wonder that artists who are not in sympathy with the undaunted 
band of Impressionists affirm, sometimes not without a round expletive, that they 
can turn out several such canvases every day in the week.^^ 

Although this was not a favorable review, it was far from the vitriolic com- 
ments made by some of the critics in Paris. In Cosmopolitan magazine Luther 
Hamilton described the exhibition as "one of the most important artistic 
events that ever took place in this country...." In his view Impressionism was 
"a glorious protest against the everlasting commonplace, which is another 
way of saying that its pictures were that rarest thing, a record of the artists' 
own impressions, not, as usual, their reminiscences of other pictures."^'- And 
one New York Tribune review sounds as if it could have been written by one 
of the avant-garde Parisian critics: "We are disposed to blame the gentlemen 
who purvey pictures for the New York market for leaving the public in ig- 
norance of the artists represented at the exhibition in the American Art 

Although the collecting base in Boston was far broader, that city's 
taste within the avant-garde context was much narrower. Monet's landscapes 
found an immediate market, but the Bostonians' lack of interest in figure 
painting meant that Manet and Degas were admitted into collections more 
reluctantly. In fact, that city's love of landscape kept many of its collectors 
loyal to the Barbizon school long after the turn of the century.-'''* 

Boston painter Lilla Cabot Perry had much to do with Monet's success 
in her native city. She worked in Giverny near the French master's home in 
1889 and brought one of his views of Etretat back to Boston that year. Dur- 
ing the next decade she became a source of introductions for Americans who 
wished to visit Monet, acted as his interpreter much as Mary Cassatt did in 
Paris for other Impressionists, wrote about him, and gave talks in Boston and 
elsewhere explaining his painting methods. 

Interestingly, very few of the Bostonians who were early purchasers of 
Impressionism were from the old collecting families; mostly they were new- 
comers to the city. An unusual number of these collectors were women: Mrs. 
David P. Kimball, Annette Roger, Hannah Marcy Edwards and her sister 
Grace. Because of collectors like these, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has 


more paintings by Monet than any museum outside Paris, with the possible 
exception of The Art Institute of Chicago. Much of the credit for the fact that 
the latter city, far removed from the Atlantic coast, could boast of its early 
collectors of Impressionism was due to Berthe Honore Palmer, the wife of 
wealthy real estate magnate Potter Palmer and leader of society in her Mid- 
western city. She collected with verve and originality and during her lifetime 
owned literally thousands of pictures. Like Havemeyer, she was advised by 
Mary Cassatt and opened a Paris account with Durand-Ruel in 1880, some 
years before the dealer came to America. 1891 and 1892 were her biggest 
buying years, possibly because she had been appointed chair of the Board of 
Lady Managers of Chicago's "Columbian Exposition" of 1893. In 1890 
Mrs. Palmer visited Monet, at Giverny, for the first time. By the time she 
stopped collecting she had owned over 90 of his paintings alone, in addition 
to works by Pissarro, Renoir, and Degas (nos. 2, 34, 47, 112, 120). The 
works by Monet were almost exclusively landscapes, which allowed Mrs. 
Palmer to recreate visually her journeys through France. These "travel illus- 
trations" formed a frieze which encircled the upper level of a gallery designed 
in part for her Chicago mansion by no other than Paul Durand-Ruel. Mrs. 
Palmer was the first to introduce Impressionism to Midwestern America and, 
because of her constant buying and selling, placed many paintings by Monet 
and others in American collections. Her collection formed the foundation of 
The Art Institute of Chicago's Impressionist holdings. 

The 1893 "Columbian Exposition" devoted its Fine Arts Palace to the 
so-called "Loan Exhibition of Foreign Masterpieces Owned by Americans." 
Although visitors to these galleries saw many different styles of painting. 
Impressionism was particularly well represented. The primary lenders were 
the Havemeyers, A. J. Cassatt of Philadelphia, and the Palmers. This loan 
exhibition, which also included paintings by Barbizon artists, stood in 
marked contrast to the official gallery of France, located in the same building. 
The French Academic had sent history pictures. Biblical scenes, and female 
nudes reclining, kneehng, and sitting, "and all of a stultifying sameness."^'' 
There were no pictures at all by the Impressionists in the official French gal- 
lery, for official acceptance had not succeeded in France even at this late date. 

If America proved to be a natural place for Impressionism, it was not 
unique in this regard. Durand-Ruel also found markets in Germany and Eng- 
land. Although sales of Impressionist paintings in England were practically 
nonexistent before 1905, the work of Degas was acquired very early on. In 
1874 Louis Huth, a collector, bought a Degas, and Fienry Flill, a tailor from 
Brighton, bought seven paintings in the late 1 870s. The British painter Walter 
Sickert bought his first Degas in 1889, and Constantine lonides did the same 
in 1891. Four Pissarros were purchased in the 1870s or '80s by Samuel 
Barlow, and a disciple of Whistler, Arthur Studd, bought a Monet grainstack 
painting in 1892. The publisher Fisher Unwin also acquired some Impres- 
sionist pictures in the 1890s, including a Van Gogh. Interestingly enough, 
however, Alexander Reid, the Glasgow picture dealer, was unable to sell the 
stock of French pictures he had purchased in the 1880s until long after 

Most of the paintings which were seen early in England — the Impres- 
sionist works in Durand-Ruel's London gallery from 1871 to 1875 or those 
included in his later exhibitions of 1883 and 1893 — eventually returned to 
the Continent. For whatever reasons Impressionism seems to have left Eng- 
land singularly unimpressed at the time. It was only in the early twentieth 
century that Hugh Lane assembled his collection, which was eventually 


divided between The National Gallery, London, and the National Gallery of 
Ireland, Dublin. Samuel Courtauld collected and later left his Impressionist 
collection to the Courtauld Institute Galleries, London, and the Davis sisters 
amassed the largest collection of such paintings, which is housed in the 
National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, today. 

The Germans also came late to Impressionism, in spite of the fact that 
the German painter Max Liebermann saw paintings by these artists in Paris 
immediately after the Franco-Prussian War. Although he could not afford to 
buy any for himself until much later, his enthusiasm converted Hugo von 
Tschudi, the wealthy director of the Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Tschudi began 
purchasing works by Monet, Manet, and Renoir after 1896; they were hung 
in the museum's galleries until the Kaiser dismissed the director for exhibit- 
ing such work without his permission. ^^' When Tschudi was made director of 
Munich's Neue Pinakothek, his Impressionist paintings provided inspiration 
for local Bavarian collectors. Although the Germans proved to be more inter- 
ested in the new st)'le than their English counterparts, they acquired few 
Impressionist paintings. 

When Durand-Ruel came to America in 1886, then, the Impressionist 
artists' hardest days were almost over. Most of them, at least, were making a 
decent living by dealing with other private galleries and were selling more 
paintings without an exclusive arrangement with Durand-Ruel. Monet was 
beginning to receive excellent prices for his pictures, many of which he sold 
directly to customers. Pissarro was still struggling financially, but selling 
enough to provide an adequate income. Renoir was a highly paid society 
portraitist, discontent with his painting, but pleased with the financial secu- 
rity' it provided. Only Sisley, whose work rarely sold as well as that of the 
others, and Cezanne, working in solitude in Provence (see above, IIL 9), still 
lacked an adequate measure of popular success. 

Official recognition was slower in coming. When Caillebotte died in 
1894 and left his entire collection of Impressionism to the State, there was an 
uproar It was years before France finally accepted his bequest to the then- 
Musee de Luxembourg, the museum designated by the government as the 
repository for the work of living artists, and even then the conservative Aca- 
demicians insisted that only a portion of the paintings be accepted. 

By the end of the century almost all of those who had participated in 
the "Premiere Exposition" of 1874 had achieved some measure of financial 
and critical success. Monet and Renoir were wealthy and famous; Pissarro 
was financially successful, though failing physically. Sisley, on the other hand, 
was dead and never realized the increased prices his paintings fetched shortly 
after his demise. It was different with Cezanne. Although he died long before 
the prices of his work equaled those received by the others, his paintings 
became popular with the young artists who visited Tanguy's shop to see his 
collection. What the Impressionists of the 1870s had hoped so long to obtain 
was finally within their grasp, though in some cases too late. In 1900 Monet 
could say, correctly: "Today nearly everyone appreciates us to some 
degree."'^'^ Thus began an era of renown which none of the artists could possi- 
bly have foreseen. 

Eight\'-four years later. Impressionist landscapes are the most popular 
paintings in the world, for precisely the reasons which Champfleury and, ear- 
lier, Joachim van Sandrart had suggested. For twentieth-century humanity, 
living in a world of extraordinary pressures, basic self-doubts, gross intoler- 
ance, and the prospect of total annihilation. Impressionist paintings possess 



those qualities which many beheve to have been lost in the subsequent devel- 
opment of art: imagination, humanitarian and conservational concerns, as 
well as a basic empathy with their audience. Paradoxically, these are precisely 
the qualities which the public of its time believed to have been lacking in 
Impressionism. To a modern public, however. Impressionist paintings are in- 
stantlv recognizable. They are obviously pretty and soothing. They take us 
back to what we believe, however incorrectly, to have been a golden age in a 
pre-industrial world of bright, clear colors, vaguely defined but nonetheless 
recognizable forms, and strong evidence of the artist's hand, all of which 
appeal to both our aesthetic and moral sensibilities. In short. Impressionist 
paintings appear to be exactly what they are — although, as we have seen, 
they are rich in many kinds of meaning and remain the subject of investiga- 
tion and discovery even today. 

— S. S. 


1. Clark, 1979, p. 168. 

2. Baudelaire, 1924, vol. II, pp. 121-124. 

3. Venturi and Pissarro, 1939, vol. I, p. 34. 

4. Vollard, 1938, p. 180. 

5. See Champfleury, 1862. 

6. Van Sandrart, 1925, pp. 331 ff. 

7. University of Michigan Museum of Art, 
1980, PP-xii-xiii. 

8. White and White, 1965, pp. 142-143, 
Table 12. 

9. Wildenstein51-52. 
10. Mantz, 1865, p. 26. 
ll.Poulain, 1932, p. 49. 
12. Zola, 1959, pp. 71,78. 
13.Sloane, 1951,p. 24. 

14. Castagnary, 1892, vol. I, pp. 224, 240. 

15. Sloane, 1951, p. 31, n. 39. 

16. Rewald, 1980, p. 186. Rewald's indispens- 
able history provides a comprehensive pic- 
ture of public reaction to Impressionism 
during the nineteenth century. 

17. Ibid., p. 188. 

18. Zola, 1959, pp. 126-128. 

19. Daulte, 1952, p. 80. 

20. Venturi, 1939, vol. II, pp. 283-284. 

21. Adhemar and Cache, 1974, p. 223. 

22. Ibid. 

23. Rewald, 1980, pp. 309-318. 

24. Adhemar and Cache, 1974, p. 224. 

25. Zola, 1959, p. 148. 

26. Adhemar and Cache, 1974, p. 264; for 
major reviews of the exhibition of 1874, 
see pp. 256-270. 

27. Ibid., p. 265. 

28. Ibid. 

29. Ibid., pp. 259-261. 

30. Rewald, 1980, p. 334; for the account 
sheets of the corporation and the docu- 

ment drawn up when it was terminated, 
see Rewald, 1955, Appendix. 

31. University of Michigan Museum of Art, 
1980, pp. 2-42. 

32. Wildenstein 393; Pissarro and Venturi 160. 

33. Poulain, 1932, p. 149. 

34. Cooper, 1954, pp. 322 ff. 

35. Waern, 1892, p. 541. 

36. See Rewald, 1969. 

37. Bodelsen, 1968, pp. 335-336. 

38. Ibid., pp. 333-336. 

39. Duret, 1906, p. 26. 

40. Venturi, 1939, vol. II, pp. 179-180. 

41. Ibid., p. 197. 

42. Galerie Duratid-Ruel, 1873, vols. I-III. 
43.Cimpel, 1927, p. 173. 

44. Elder, 1924, p. 25. 

45. Rewald, 1980, p. 370. 

46. Morgan, 1973, p. 119. 

47. Huth, 1946, p. 231. Huth's essay is an 
invaluable source on Impressionism's first 
appearances in the United States. 

48. Morgan, 1978, pp. 120-121. 

49. Venturi, 1939, vol. II, p. 214. 

50. Ibid. 

51. Morgan, 1978, p. 123. 

52. Ibid., p. 124. 

53. Ibid., p. 125, n. 26. 

54. Murphy, 1979, p. xliii. Murphy's essay is 
the source of most of the information on 
Boston collectors presented here. 

55. Saarinen, 1958, p. 16. 

56. Cooper, 1954, pp. 60-76. Cooper's intro- 
ductory essay is the definitive work on 
early Impressionism in England. 

57. Cooper, 1974, p. vii— xx. 

58. Monet, 1957, p. 199. 



















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Appendix: The Landscape in French 
Nineteenth-Century Photocrraphy 

THE ARTISTIC CLIMATE in which photography was born was that of the 
Realists' return to nature. The first known French photograph is a 
landscape, a view of Gras taken by Joseph-Nicephore Niepce from 
his window in 1826. This image neatly illustrates the fact that land- 
scape photography — like landscape painting — must never be regarded as a 
literal transcription of reality. Even the most elementary decision in the 
compositional process, that is, where to place the camera, imposes an inter- 
pretation on the real. No matter how spontaneous and original it may appear, 
the point of view adopted by Niepce has been shown to have had a represen- 
tational past going back to the second two decades of the nineteenth century.' 
His view exaggerates — and therefore emphasizes — such characteristics as 
the flattening of space and the extreme simplification of tones into stark 
black and white. 

Less popular among photographers than portraits, landscapes have 
always been more conducive to formal experimentation in photography. The 
development of stereoscopy, beginning in 1852, also contributed to the devel- 
opment of a certain landscape aesthetic or, rather, of certain landscape cli- 
ches. Thus landscape subjects offer an ideal control group for the study of the 
interrelationship between photography and painting in France at just the 
time when Impressionism began to develop. 

Historians of nineteenth-century French photography have barely 
skimmed the surface of their field, but even now they can state without hesi- 
tation that its richest period belonged to the 1 850s and '60s, i.e., precisely the 
early years of Impressionism (see above, III/ 1—2). In landscape photography 
these two decades were especially crucial: with great technical mastery and 
seemingly inexhaustible inspiration, landscape photographers all but in- 
vented the genre from scratch, and — apart from a few outstanding personal- 


Fig. 72. Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820- 
1882), The Covered Allee at Bagneux in An- 
jou, 1851. Modern print from original paper 
negative. 24 x 35 cm. Musee d'Orsay, Paris, 
on Loan from the Archives Photographiques 
du Patrimonie. Photo: Archives 

Fig. 73. Joseph Vigier (French, d. 1862), 
Landscape at Pau, Looking toward the Pyr- 
enees, 1853. Calotype. 24.7 x 33 cm. Depot 
de la Fondation Dosne, Musee d'Orsay, Paris. 
Photo: Musee d'Orsay. 

ities like Eugene Atget — the next two generations merely rehashed their 
inventions with less talent. If the terms "Realism" and "Impressionism" have 
any meaning at all when applied to photography, it is in this brief moment, 
when we can trace clearly the evolution from one to the other. The quarter of 
a century between 1850 and 1875 therefore will form the basis for our inves- 
tigation of the interrelationship between painting and photography. 

The development and spread of landscape photography in France 
from the end of the 1840s on owed a great deal to the Lille publisher L.-D.-J. 
Blanquart-Evrard. His illustrated voyages (the first of which was the work of 
Maxime du Camp [see above, II] in 1852) and, even more, his albums for 
professional and amateur artists offered incentives to starving photographers 
to work and a means of recognition to fortunate amateurs. They also assured 
an entree for the medium into the realm of high art. Roughly speaking, we 
may distinguish two types of landscapes in Blanquart-Evrard's publications: 
the architectural or topographical landscape, the main purpose of which was 
to depict what was usually already a well-known site, and the nature study. 
These two types of landscape were felt to be the most likely to attract a 
broader public to the medium and thus increase demand. 

France's rediscovery of her native architectural heritage (see above, II) 
was greatly assisted by the Romantic school of literature, which, together 
with the Realist artists' concern with nature and the rapid growth of long- 
distance rail travel (see above, II and III/2-4), prompted a strong surge of 
interest in the rediscovery of the landscape itself. The Mission helio- 
graphique, representing the first major official undertaking involving photog- 
raphy, originated with the Commission des Monuments Historiques and has 
been shown to bear a close relation to the Voyages pittoresques et 
romantiques dans I'ancienne France of Taylor and Nodier (see above, III/4). 
Despite its purely scientific aims, the Mission heliographique represents an 
important stage in the development of French photography in general and in 
the area of landscape photography in particular. A mission participant like 
Gustave Le Gray, for example, patently uninspired by buildings as motifs, 
transformed every architectural view he could — at Chauvigny in Vienne or 
Bagneux in Anjou, for example (fig. 72) — into a landscape. So even though 
the Missioti's goal was to document historical monuments in need of or in the 



course of restoration, critics who wrote about it for the various photography 
journals (men like Francis Wey or Henri de Lacretelle) gave it a good deal of 
publicit\', ignoring its documentary aspect and using the pictures as a basis for 
the first theories in the aesthetics of photography. 

The dual example of the Mission heliographique and the publications 
of Blanquart-Evrard encouraged photographers to undertake photographic 
journeys of their own and to publish their work in albums or journals. The 
results include Charles Negre's Midi de la France (1852), published by Gide 
et Baudry, a melange of architectural views and landscapes; and Joseph 
Vigier's Voyage dans les Pyrenees (1853), published by La Chevardiere and 
consisting exclusively of landscapes. A project on the Anglo-Norman islands 
envisioned by Charles Hugo and Auguste Vacquerie, with accompanying po- 
ems by Victor Hugo, and Edouard-Denis Baldus' series Villes de France 
photographiees (the latter a rather vaguely conceived project dating from 
1852) led Baldus to re-explore France — not only the Midi, which he had 
covered for the Mission heliographique, but the Dauphine and the Auvergne, 
where in 1854 he and Fortune-Joseph Petiot-Groffier essentially devoted all 
their time to landscapes. 

After 1855, works initiated by individuals gave way to ambitious of- 
ficial or semi-official commissions. Most important were the two albums 
done by Baldus himself to illustrate the landscapes crossed by the northern 
railway line from Paris to Boulogne (c. 1855) and the lines from Paris to Lyon 
and to the Mediterranean (1859). The album Haute Savoie. Le Mont Blanc et 
ses glaciers. Souveniers du voyage de LL. MM. I'Empereur et I'Imperatrice 
{I860 a 1862) by the Bisson brothers does not appear to have resulted from 
an official commission, its title notwithstanding; it was more likely a high- 
quality commercial publication, with royal patronage added after the fact for 
purposes of publicity. 

To these major topographical reports, each of which marked the 
celebration of a significant event — the completion of a railway line, the amal- 
gamation of two companies, or the establishment of a new mountaineering 
record — must be added commissions more strictly historical in scope. These 
included the coverage by Baldus of the Rhone overflowing its banks at Avig- 
non and Lyon (1856), and by Colonel Jean-Charles Langlois, assisted by 

Figs. 74—75. Baldus, Commelle, Close-up of 
the Viaduct; The Gate de Picquigny. 
Albumen prints from glass negatives. Each 32 
X 43 cm. From Album des chemins de fer du 
Nord, 1855. BibliothequeNationale, Cabinet 
des Estampes, Paris. Photo: Studio Harcourt. 


Fig. 76. Henri Le Secq (French, 1818-1882), Paris under 
Snow (ivith Les Invalides and the Ecole Militaire in the 
Background), c. 1853. Calotype. 24 x 34.9 cm. 
Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. Photo: Musee 
d'Orsay, Paris. 

Leon-Eugene Mehedin and Frederic Martens, of the Crimean War (1855). In 
fact, these assignments provided each of the photographers with opportuni- 
ties to do landscape work as well. Though imbued with the heroic poetry that 
characterized the greatest history paintings, these landscapes constituted a 
new genre, since their sites, while perfectly real, were treated in a monumen- 
tal style which deliberately turned its back on Realism. To some extent these 
landscapes belong to the tradition of engraved or lithographed topographical 
views (fig. 2), but they lack any anecdotal quality. In the end, the basic prop- 
erties of the photographic technique or medium led to results that are for- 
mally unique. For example, Baldus' constant use of reponssoir elements, 
which borders on the comic, contradicts Realist aesthetics by creating a feel- 
ing of both artifice and distance. This is particularly striking in his magnifi- 
cent view of the waterfall at Sassenage in the Dauphine, a landscape which 
cannot by any means be called abstract, yet which does not seem quite real 
either; it lies somewhere between the two, more intellectual than sensual. 

The Bisson brothers' album devoted to the ascent of Mont Blanc is a 
splendid example of the formal innovations in photography at the time. 
Amid the glaciers the glass negative process found its ideal subject, a material 
as cold, inhuman, and transparent as itself. The Bissons' most spectacular 
results can be seen not in their classical compositions of peaks, but in their 
purely "photographic" long shots. One of these, which was clearly meant to 
enable its audience to follow the mountain climbers' progress, achieves pre- 
cisely the opposite effect: a totally dehumanized landscape, which lacks all 
reference to the familiar mountain that minimizes the pitiful silhouettes of 
the climbers. These pictures enjoyed great success in their day; they were 
doubtless admired as proof of the technical skills of both the mountaineers 
and their photographers. To what extent the French public of the time was 
sensitive to the hyperrealism involved is difficult to say, however. During the 
same period in England this mode attracted men like John Ruskin and his 
proteges John Brett and William Dyce (none of whom was averse to using 
photographs); in France it went unnoticed except perhaps by the architect 
Viollet-le-Duc, who expressed his fascination for it in numerous sketches of 
the Pyrenees during the 1830s and — 30 years later — on Mont Blanc itself. 

Visionary interpretations of natural landscapes were very often delib- 
erate on the part of photographers. Whether recording the rocks of Guernsey 
or the mountains of the Auvergne and Midi, and despite basic differences in 
goals and format, Victor Hugo and Baldus showed a similar talent for bring- 
ing out what was dramatic in a scene and a similar understanding of the 
expressive possibilities inherent in dark, almost anthropomorphic silhou- 
ettes, which seem to be embedded in pure white backgrounds rather than to 
stand out against them. Hugo was fascinated by the resultant ambiguity, 
because it closely paralleled his personal poetic vision. As for Baldus, he 
experimented with inking in skies to set off rocks in profile, a process which 
paradoxically obliged him to re-draw the outlines of the rocks whenever his 
ink ate into them. This tendency to re-make landscapes (with techniques 
more or less purely photographic) in the direction of the abstract was also 
noticeable in the views Negre took of the beaches in the vicinity of Cannes in 
1852. Negre achieved a supernatural effect that is, however, more poetic than 

Of the endless topographical series stimulated by mountain vistas, 
Vigier's Voyage darts les Pyrenees, one of the first and most accomplished 
photographic studies of a locale particularly popular during the Second Em- 



pire (see above, III/9), exhibits the most meticulous interest in the new natu- 
ralism. Vigier took great pains to define the proper atmosphere for each type 
of landscape he undertook: rustic countryside, arid hollow, woodland, or 
rushing water. In this he was ably assisted by the rich and flexible medium of 
the calotype, which he had mastered to perfection (fig. 73). 

Thus, while even the most remarkable topographical photographs re- 
flect a basically traditional concept of landscape (apart from certain views of 
Mont Blanc by the Bissons), it is a concept of landscape lacking a contem- 
porary equivalent in other media. Yet, interestingly enough, it does have par- 
allels with German Romantic painting (although there was no historic link 
between the two), with American landscape painting of the time, and, even 
more importantly, with the landscape photography of the American West 
that blossomed independently of French influence ten years later. 

Where French photographers created a totally new genre was in their 
pictures of railways, railway stations, and railway viaducts (see above, III/3- 
4) for the sumptuous albums commissioned either by large business concerns 
or the Administration des Fonts, the government bureau in charge of civil 
engineering projects. Of course, working with such subject matter as part of a 
commission was quite different from working, as the Impressionists did, 
within the context of the Academic painting tradition (see above, IV). 

Civil engineering made its entry into the art of landscape with the 
photographs of Baldus (figs. 33, 74) and the Bissons. Their monumental im- 
ages stood head and shoulders above the vignettes intended for the press or 
guidebooks, even when they came from the pen of a Daubigny (figs. 32, 34— 
35). Between 1860 and 1880, a time when creativity in French photography 
was at a low ebb, these photographers did some of their most interesting and 
vital work. Best known among those employed by the Ecole Nationale des 
Fonts, where their prints are now preserved, was A. Collard, who did most of 
his work in and around Faris from 1850 to 1880. Others, who have not yet 
received their due, include Duclos, who called himself a "landscape photog- 
rapher" and had studios at Quimper and Lorient, where he worked during 
the 1860s and VOs for the railway companies of both Brittany and Orleans; 
See, who did a fine album in 1863 on the navigation of the Seine and its 
dams; Lafon, a Parisian, who did photographic reports in the 1870s on the 
viaduct of Lessart spanning the Ranee and on the Pont de Bayonne; and oth- 
ers. As we have seen (see above, III/4), these were all themes of vital interest 
to the Impressionists and, indeed, were hallmarks of their "modernity." 

Already skilled in photographing public monuments, men like Baldus 
and the Bissons displayed a remarkable intuition for the aesthetic of industry 
as it would be formulated early in the twentieth century by painters and pho- 
tographers like Fernand Leger, Charles Sheeler, Paul Strand, and Edward 
Steichen. Fart of their success is due to the complementarity of subject and 
medium (apart from Baldus' series on the northern railways, they were all 
done with glass negatives), although that does not in the least detract from 
their worth. At that time, to be a "Frecisionist" meant — in painterly terms — 
to sacrifice one's stroke to an extent unacceptable to the Impressionists (ex- 
cept for someone like Caillebotte, who tended toward a certain dryness in 
any case [no. 29]). Detailed and rigorous as the photographs of Baldus and 
the Bissons may be, however, they transcend their objective. A prime example 
of this is the supple, inventive way in which Baldus showed how contact 
between machine and nature could bring about a new kind of landscape (fig. 
74). Such works as Landscape near the Chantilly Viaduct, depicting a loco- 

Fig. 77. Charles Marville (French, 1816-1878/9), Rue de 
I'Essai, View of the Horse Market, c. 1865. Albumen print 
from glass negative. 25.5. x 37 cm. Bibliotheque Historique 
de la Ville de Paris. Photo: Musee d'Orsay, Paris (detail on 
pp. 346-347). 


Fig. 78. Victor Regnault (French, 1810-1878), 
Nature Study — Sevres, c. 1853. Calotype. 26 
X 20 cm. Texbraun Collection, Paris. 
Photo: Musee d'Orsay, Paris. 

motive in a context in which severity of Hne contrasts with lush nature; the 
less known, but delicately poetic view of the same viaduct which, when seen 
from a distance, seems as fragile as the trees surrounding it; the Gare de Cler- 
mont or the Care de Picqiiigny (fig. 75), so expressive in their laconic com- 
positions, which have been- reduced to the lines of a track disappearing into 
the distance and framed by several shanties — all these represent a ten-year 
advance on the Impressionists' lyrical vision of the modern industrial world. 

To what extent were these photographs, which, after all, were 
intended for a narrow, specialized audience, accessible to painters? Given the 
reticence on the part of the latter to divulge their iconographic sources, we 
cannot know for certain. But in the last analysis the question is of minor 
concern. Apart from precisionist tendencies, which did not interest the 
Impressionists at all, the formal inventiveness displayed by the photogra- 
phers — especially by Baldus — gave the painters nothing they could not have 
come up with on their own. What is highly probable is that in its most popu- 
lar, most banal form, that is, in the form of magazine illustrations,- photog- 
raphy encouraged the Impressionists to accept the admonitions of avant- 
garde critics and writers (see above, IV) and tackle modern subject matter 
(factories, trains, and so on) in their canvases. 

Commercial landscapes in the form of stereoscopic views offered a 
fertile field for innovation and were widely disseminated in photography 
journals of the day. While landscape photographers showed a clear pref- 
erence for Normandy, the north, the Midi, the Pyrenees, the Alps, and the 
countryside near Pans, stereoscope photographers traveled everywhere 
including Brittany. As a result, beginning in 1858 they offered the public a 
highly diversified repertoire: monuments, pure landscapes, pleasant country 
scenes, railway stations, and trains. From 1880 on, however, both charm and 
invention tended to diminish. By the time such images reappeared, at the turn 
of the century, it was in the form of picture postcards (though not necessarily 
postcards of landscapes). Introduced officially in France during the 1870s, 
the picture postcard (figs. 1, 30-31, 39—42, 44-48) did not take on com- 
mercial importance until after 1900. Soon the card album, an intermediary 
between stereoscopic views and large-scale books of landscape plates, popu- 
larized what remains to this day the most banal mode of topographical 

Topographical views based on photographers' personal experiences 
quite naturally exhibited a high degree of independence (fig. 76). Hippolyte 
Bayard, for example, photographed mundane motifs such as a colonnade of 
La Madeleine at an interesting angle, or the carriage entrance of a private 
house, while Negre showed a special interest in the markets of the neighbor- 
hood near the Hotel de Ville in which he lived. Like the Impressionist painters 
(nos. 34-35, 74), quite a few photographers created pictures of the Paris 
rooftops from their windows. 

The conventions regulating topographical views of Paris were quite 
clear-cut, and the genre has come down to us virtually untouched in the form 
of picture postcards. The original clientele for this type of photographic view, 
however, was more or less official in nature: libraries, art schools, and indi- 
vidual artists and (especially) architects. Hence the monumental format, the 
high quality of prints, and the great attention paid to detail (in lighting and 
composition). Rigid as it was, this type of veduta seems to have attracted all 
the finest photographers from Le Gray and Marville to the Bisson brothers. It 
consisted essentially of frontal views of monuments, taken either at street 



level or from above, and ot panoramic views of the banks of the Seine. Para- 
doxically, then, this type of photography gave rise to the most severe form of 
architectural or urban landscape, lacking as it was in any of the picturesque 
hustle and bustle that painters, draftsmen, or engravers invariably added to 
their compositions. Even so, architectural views of this type must have been 
valued as a genre since they survived in the work of photographers at the turn 
of the century, that is, years after the perfection of stereoscopic views and 
their candid street scenes. Indeed, even today's postcard photographers do 
their best to create voids around the monuments they depict, quite in keeping 
with this nineteenth-century topographical aesthetic born of necessity. 

During the crucial period of urban renewal in Paris under Baron 
Haussmann (see above, III/3), certain commissions from official bodies gave 
photographers a chance to re-introduce an element of the picturesque into 
their cityscapes. Henri Le Secq did an album on the destruction of the Hotel 
de Ville (1849-52) for Prefer Berger; Delmaet and Edward(?) Durandelle 
covered the construction of the avenue de I'Opera; CoUard and Marville that 
of the Pare des Buttes Chaumont. Marville was also inspired by the Paris 
quarries to do some pure landscapes, such as a view of the Carriere 
d'Amerique (located in the nineteenth arrondissement). But it was the report 
he prepared around 1860 for the city of Paris on the neighborhoods sched- 
uled for demolition that led this exceptional artist to create a completely new 
genre, one of the most original, perhaps, of the nineteenth century. 

Adjusting his style to the documentary requirements of his commis- 
sion, Marville tended to photograph streets lengthwise and thereby point up 
how deserted they were.^ At times, however, he created stupefying spatial 
effects. In the well-known Rue de I'Essai, View of the Horse Market, for 
example, the street opens before our eyes like a stage (fig. 77). But what gives 
Marville's photographs their great, suggestive aura is the emotional power 
conveyed by the way he constructed his images and, even more, by the way he 
used light. His empty streets have nothing monotonous about them; they 
seem imbued with their own peculiar charm. When, at the turn of the cen- 
tury, Atget returned to the theme of the deserted city, not only did he work 
under different conditions (as a freelancer with a more diversified clientele in 
mind), but he had a different personality and most definitely a different visual 
imagination. All the same, he shared Marville's knack of transforming docu- 
mentary duress into a sort of secret necessity, of identifying with the city to 
such an extent that he could evoke a human presence with disturbing power 
by showing nothing more than an architectural framework, the "scene of the 
crime," as it were. 

The first examples of a truly "instantaneous" vision date from the 
introduction of stereoscopic views in 1858. Shot from a high angle, they 
show crowds ambling down the boulevards of Paris. Although for purely 
technical reasons"* the snapshot was long limited to stereoscopic photog- 
raphy, painters were not slow in reaping its benefits. Degas was especially 
intrigued; indeed, he based his own style on the study of familiar poses never 
before isolated by the eye, on arbitrary, mechanically imposed divisions 
evocative of the feeling of real life. His famous Place de la Concorde (1875; 
Location unknown) — much like Caillebotte's On the Europe Bridge (no. 
29) — originated in serious thought about the photographic vision. 

But the gap between paintings and the photographs that might have 
mspired them was still quite great. Only the series by Monet (1873) and 
Pissarro (1898) showing the Paris boulevards from above (nos. 34-36) bear 

Fig. 79. Eugene Cuvelier (French, d. 1900), Rciging Sky, 
Fontamebleait, c. 1860. Albumen print from paper nega- 
tive. 20 X 26 cm. Musee d'Orsay, Paris, Photo: Musee 


■1- ■ 'J •■■■ 

"' ' . -' ' - ■ 

■ . - - \'i, ' ' ■ 


■ '- iSi^-ir^^e^fl 

Fig. 80. Louis Robert (French, 1810-1882), 
The Pare de Saint-Cloud, c. 1853. Calotype. 
23 X 19 cm. Texbraun Collection, Paris. 
Photo: Musee d'Orsay, Paris. 

a clear resemblance to stereoscopic scenes in their purely photographic point 
of view and composition. In fact, however, their interpretations are quite free 
in that they do not indicate any attempt to convey perspective with real rigor. 
Not until the 1890s and the appearance of the box camera did the Pictorialist 
photographers, who were descended directly from the Impressionists, 
produce candid street scenes. In their highly stylish work they seized the in- 
stant in its most expressive and harmonious form. 

Since it was only in the area of pure — that is, uncommissioned— land- 
scape that photographers were left to their own devices, it is there, naturally 
enough, that a relationship with painting made itself felt with the greatest 
clarity. Generally speaking, in fact, the photographic nature study developed 
along the same lines as its analogy in painting. During the 1850s this type of 
photograph was basically land-oriented, an evocation of solid, massive, eter- 
nal earth. Then came the advent of the Realist painters, with whom certain 
photographers worked in close proximity at Fontainebleau (see above. III/ 
1),^' which remained an important center for both throughout the 1860s and 
'70s. Starting in the '60s, landscape photographers worked more and more 
along the river banks near Paris, trying to evoke a new, fleeting, evanescent 
nature (a task to which the glass negative was quite well suited). Tempting as 
it is to imagine these individuals to have been swept away by the same "pre- 
Impressionism" as their painter colleagues, the fact is that their approach to 
nature was more superficial or in any case more distant. That they came 
closer to nature than they had been in the previous decade was a result not 
only of better artistic training and greater interaction with painters (at a time 
when there was no clear definition of what it meant to be a photographer), 
but also of the exceptionally rich, responsive, inviting medium of the 
calotype, ideal both for suggesting the warmth of a subject and capturing the 
play of light upon it. 

Many calotype landscapes are reminiscent of canvases by the Barbi- 
zon school; many look compellingly ahead, by ten years, to those of the 
Impressionists. As we have seen, the latter were remarkably reticent on the 
subject of photography. In fact, there is little evidence that the landscapes of 
Le Gray or Marville had the slightest influence on their way of looking at 
nature. On the other hand, certain general characteristics of the photo- 
graphic vision which were obvious in even the most anonymous of prints — 
the tendency toward simplification, the flattening of space — may well have 
served to influence the Impressionists' approach to composition, especially in 
conjunction with such indisputable influences as the Japanese print. 

In photography, even pure landscape photography, naturalism was an 
important trend, but only one of many. Another strong tendency, the move- 
ment toward abstraction, began to come into its own once the glass negative 
process, the process best suited to abstraction, gained widespread acceptance. 
If one leafs through the albums published by Blanquart-Evrard between 1851 
and 1853, one is struck by the simplicity of the motifs that make up the major 
part of the landscape illustrations. The titles themselves are indicative: Tree 
Studies; Coppice; Open Gate; Rocks and Rivers; Ladder (in the remote part 
of a garden); and so forth. These pictures were meant as models for artists, 
professional and amateur alike, and competed as such with a type of sketch, 
done from nature in oil or watercolors, which since the late eighteenth cen- 
tury had played a significant role in the training of painters in general and 
landscape artists in particular. In principle, at least, such sketches represented 



a stage preceding the final composition. Since photography by its very nature 
afforded a direct and readily localized approach, the very essence of the 
sketch, photographers understandably conceived their early landscapes in 
sketch-like terms. As Peter Galassi has pointed out, there was nothmg in- 
novative about photography's contribution in this domain, but neither could 
its contribution be surpassed.'' The most skillful photographers managed to 
give even the most unpretentious subjects an extraordinary opulence. 
Whether they focused their attention on a rake amid the hollyhocks in an 
out-of-the-way spot in a garden or on an espalier in the sun, both Le Gray 
and Bayard went beyond the anecdotal. And if variations on the theme of the 
tumbledown thatch-roofed cottage — by Humbert de Molard, a country 
squire who did some attractive rustic studies in Normandy, or by Loydreau, 
Louis Robert, and many others — begin to seem a bit too pretty and conven- 
tional, Loydreau's shots of quarries or simple, snow-covered hills are quite 
modern in conception. 

No one was able to express the aesthetic of the fragmentary better 
than Le Secq, whose studies have a dramatic monumentality about them. The 
fine calotype series he did at Montmirail, northeast of Paris, in 1852 and had 
published by Goupil, Vibert et Lerebours for the use of artists and amateur 
painters is among the most gripping examples of nineteenth-century photo- 
graphic landscape. It comprises a group of close-ups of deeply pockmarked 
rocks. The composition is extremely free, the chiaroscuro violent. The unus- 
ual size of the prints (approximately 52 by 34.9 centimeters) and their ex- 
tremely rich texture reinforce the mixture of realism and poetic mystery that 
makes Le Secq's works so appealing. 

The same qualities are evident in Victor Regnault's remarkable study 
of brush in a garden (fig. 78), but in this instance the work is entirely atypical 
of the artist. The rock studies Marville did at Fontainebleau around 1851 are 
similar in spirit to those of Le Secq, but on the whole Marville was the type of 
landscapist who, like Le Gray, composed principally with light and air. Le 
Gray, in his well-known Fontainebleau forest scenes of 1851, did several rock 
studies of an extraordinary density deriving from the absence of sky and the 
rich, precise texture of the calotype process. In these works, the most "Re- 
alist" he ever did, Le Gray showed how greatly his sensibilities differed from 
Le Secq's. The strictly head-on composition favored by Le Gray introduced a 
certain distance into his landscapes and gave them their characteristic clas- 
sicism. On occasion, however, he opted in favor of a highly unexpected point 
of view. His In the Back of the Garden and well-known close-up shot cen- 
tered on the roots of a tree are striking examples of inventive composition. 

In these restricted studies photographers were able to skirt one of the 
principal problems posed by the medium: what to do with the sky. In 1858, 
however, when Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel began publishing his research 
on the colors of the spectrum, scientists realized that the way silver salts 
rendered natural color relationships in black and white wreaked havoc with 
what the retina actually perceived. The salts were highly sensitive to blue and 
violet (of the sky or any brightly lit object), less sensitive to green, and even 
less to red and yellow. What this meant in practice was that different expo- 
sure times were needed to render the play of light on different objects: objects 
in shade, objects in the sun, and the sky itself. This remained a difficult issue 
until about 1885, when a professor named Vogel discovered the means to 
impart orthochromatic sensitivity to negative plates with an emulsion fast 
enough for instantaneous exposure. 

Fig. 8 1 . Baldus, Chalet at Enghien. Albumen print from pa- 
per negative. 28 x 44 cm. From Album des chemins de fer 
dii Nord, 1855. Private Collection. Photo: Musee d'Orsay, 


Fig. 82. Marville, The Bois de Boulogne, 1858. Albumen 
print from glass negative. i6 x 49 cm. Bibliotheque 
Nationale, Cabinet des Estampes, Paris. Photo: Studio 

An 1851 treatise by Blanquart-Evrard on how to make the best use of 
natural Hght in architectural photography gives a good idea of what went on 
"behind the scenes" to make natural lighting look natural. If between two 
short exposures in bright light, which brought out the parts of the picture in 
direct sun, the negative received a longer exposure in overcast conditions 
(and if the photographer remembered to close the shutter whenever the 
clouds began to move), the shadows in the final print would exhibit a certain 
transparency. As for the sky, it could not be rendered in any but the most 
approximate fashion until the development of such rapid exposure tech- 
niques as the collodion process. Calotypes tended to make skies look stormy, 
which may have been effective when atmospheric illusion was called for, but 
was otherwise quite problematic. The superb "raging sky" threatening the 
bare hill in a print by Eugene Cuvelier, a late calotypist, illustrates remarkable 
skill in exploiting the simplest of devices and a frequently deficient medium to 
create a poignant atmosphere worthy of Rousseau (fig. 79). 

Technical handicaps notwithstanding, the calot)'pists succeeded in 
imbuing their studies, especially those published by Blanquart-Evrard, with a 
feeling for nature in all its diversity. This impression is accentuated by the 
originality of their ever-changing compositions, but it was in large part due to 
the experimentation they undertook to capture the qualit)' of light appro- 
priate to the season and even to the moment of the day: the crisp, cold light of 
winter in Loydreau's Frost Impressions, the light mist hovering over the snow 
in Marville's Ecole des Beaux-Arts garden, or the hot sun beating down on 
Regnault's Sevres factory courtyards. Since light rarely figures in the titles of 
these works, the attention it received seems to have been more spontaneous 
than premeditated. 

Two studies of the Pare de Saint-Cloud by Robert — one a calotype 
(fig. 80), the other (c. 1855) from a glass negative — catch the mysterious 
depths of a forest all but impervious to light, which, when it does emerge, 
lends a supernatural cast to the statues. But the theme of the deep forest, 
already dear to Rousseau and Diaz (figs. 4, 12), came into its own in photog- 
raphy with Le Gray's study Forest of the Bas-Breau (1851), which has of- 
ten — and correctly — been likened to Monet's Street in Chailly (1865; Musee 
d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris) or Avenue of Chestnut Trees at La 
Celle-Saint-Cloud (no. 10) and which conjures up a light and airy world far 
from that of the Realists. In Marville's study Man Sitting at the Foot of an 
Oak (c. 1852), which might be termed a poem of leisure bathed in golden 
light, or in Le Gray's Covered Pathway at Bagneux in Anjou (fig. 72), the 
foliage, schematized into pools of light, looks inexorably forward to the for- 
est of Monet's Luncheon on the Grass (1865; Destroyed).' Further analogies 
with Impressionism can be found in photographic river scenes. In Olympe 
Aguado's Ravager Island (c. 1855) and Baldus' Chalet at Enghien (fig. 81)^ 
and his series of a group of figures in a park (c. 1855), the all but audible 
rustle of the trees, the random details — a rowboat, a parasol — connoting 
leisure, and, most important, the lack of depth highlighted by the mirror im- 
age in the water below all make for a true Impressionism in the spirit of 
Monet's On the Seine at Bennecourt (no. 47). 

But it IS not in such analogies of st)'le and atmosphere — rather su- 
perficial ones, when all is said and done — that these French calotypes may be 
compared to the work of the Impressionists. The real bond stems from their 
common attitude toward nature, which was both punctilious and inventive. 



Just as painters of the time came closest to nature in their sketches, so photog- 
raphers came closest in their studies. And with the notable exception of Le 
Gray's Fontainebleau forests, the photographer's compound landscapes dem- 
onstrate either a classicism (which makes their prints similar to paintings) or 
a completely original taste for abstraction. 

Just as they were interested in the landscape, French photographers of 
the 1800s also were captivated by the ocean. Considering that most of the 
finest nineteenth-century photographers of the sea completely dodged the 
problem of representing the motion of the waves, they must have considered 
it insurmountable. In the very fine seascapes done by Le Secq at Dieppe 
around 1852 and by Baldus at Boulogne m 1855, the sky is empty and the sea 
calm, with only an occasional glint of hght clinging to it. In other words, the 
sea plays only a modest role in the composition. When E. Nicolas photo- 
graphed Etretat, he was so much more interested in the cliffs than the sea that 
he resolutely turned his back on it. And although around 1850, Norman 
photographers like Macaire and Bacot gained a reputation for having taken 
the first photographs of the sea ever to convey wave motion, the achievement 
was purely technical in character: their small views had no formal preten- 
sions whatever. (Bacot's seascape, which includes figures, is nevertheless one 
of the rare beach scenes to recreate the feeling of immediacy present in the 
contemporary canvases of Boudin.) 

The widely praised series of approximately 20 seascapes done by Le 
Gray in 1856—57 at Sete and Dieppe is therefore unique in its genre. In these 
compositions, as in their titles, Le Gray made a point of avoiding all reference 
to topography; here, sea and sky are the true subjects (no. 120). Large Wave 
and Broken Wave, two particularly well-known pictures, communicate more 
than motion; they show the compact consistency of rough water. Le Gray 
alone was able to coax such riches from the glass negative. Yet the true gran- 
deur of his seascapes lies not so much in their technical virtuosity as in their 
eloquently expressed cosmic message. Le Gray's seascapes derive from stud- 
ies executed in situ. They were composed of two negatives taken indepen- 
dently of one another — one for the sea, the other for the sky — and lay no 
claim to represent a specific moment in time. Despite the distinction he made 
between day and night scenes, Le Gray's main concern was with the serene 
contemplation of nature as an eternal entity (see above. III/ 8 ). 

The practice of bringing together more than one negative to make a 
print reopened an old debate among critics and photographers. How far 
should a photographer go in creating the final image by other than chemical 
means? This debate resurfaced at the turn of the century on an even larger 
scale and again during the 1930s among American photographers. Apart 
from combining negatives, however, Le Gray hardly touched up his works. 

During the 1860s and '70s many of the major photographers aban- 
doned their attempt to convey a sense of the sky in their landscapes. Marville 
and the Bisson brothers, in their albums on the Bois de Boulogne, Bagatelle, 
and Bois de Vincennes; Charles Famin; and Achille Quinet all cultivated the 
precise vision and graphic style appropriate to the glass negative. Perhaps 
Marville's superb views of the Bois de Boulogne, those infinite variations on 
the theme of trees and foliage intermixed with light and reflected in water 
(fig. 82), constitute his equivalent, pictorially wanting though it may be, of 
the series later so dear to the Impressionists (nos. 104—112). 

Figs. 83-84. Ildefonse Rousset (French), The lie des 
Vignerons at Chenevieres; Simset. Albumen prints from 
glass negative. Each 12x16 cm. From Le Tour de Manie, 
1865. Bibiiotheque Nationaie, Cabinet des Estampes, Paris. 
Photos: Studio Harcoutt. 



Figs. 85-86. J. Raudnitz (French), Couple in a Boat; In the 
Country, 1865, 1863. Stereoscopic views: albumen prints 
from glass negatives. Each 5x5 cm. Bibliotheque 
Nationale, Cabinet des Estampes, Paris. Photos: 
Bibliotheque Nationale. 

Fig. 87. Verneuil (French), Picnic on the Water, 1868. 
Stereoscopic view: albumen print from glass negative. 5x5 
cm. Bibliotheque Nationale, Cabinet des Estampes, Paris. 
Photo: Bibliotheque Nationale. 

Fig. 88. Raudnitz, A Sunday Painter, 1863. Stereoscopic 
view: albumen print from glass negative. 5x5 cm. 
Bibliotheque Nationale, Cabinet des Estampes, Paris. 
Photo: Bibliotheque Nationale. 

A look through the Societe Fran(;aise de Photographic exhibition cata- 
logues of 1857-59 reveals a sharp rise in the number of photographs devoted 
to river banks in the region around Paris and a clear interest in capturing the 
feeling of specific times of day. In looking at such photographs, however, we 
must not allow ourselves to be fooled by the fact that their titles are often 
identical to those of Impressionist paintings. The spirit of the works the titles 
refer to may be quite different. Fortier's photograph entitled The Banks of 
the Seine at Bas-Mendon (1857), for example, represents a rather dry view of 
the subject and shows no attempt to transmit the surrounding atmosphere. 
Contemporary work by Bevan (see above, III/2) lacks any deep sense of na- 
ture or light, and his technique was that of the true amateur. His Louve- 
ciennes album, though photographed in the "cradle of Impressionism," 
records the first appearance in photography of a new landscape theme, the 
comfortable, bourgeois house and garden (fig. 20), which has no precedent 
whatever in the albums of Blanquart-Evrard and which was of minimal inter- 
est to Pissarro and his colleagues, as we have seen. Like Bevan, Idelfonse 
Rousset photographed certain sites dear to the Impressionists, and at the 
same time. But in Bevan's case the desire to return to nature was more clearly 

Le Tour de Marne (1865), with photographs by Rousset and text by 
Emile de La Bedolliere (see above, III/2), is not only a delightful book; it is, in 
its way, a miniature return-to-nature manifesto, as was the first collaborative 
effort by these men, Le Bois de Vincennes (1865). In Le Tour de Marne de La 
Bedolliere explains that the river, spared normal traffic by the canal linking 
the towns of Joinville and Gravelle, had become a paradise for holiday-mak- 
ers with their boats and for artists with their palettes, and that it was one of 
them — he fails to specify whether boater or painter — who advised him and 
Rousset to undertake an exploration of the area. During the year Rousset 
spent along the river, photographing the same landscapes in full bloom and 
under snow, at dawn and at dusk (figs. 83-84), Pissarro was paintmg there. 
Looking through Rousset's charming, if somewhat repetitive, photographs, 
however, one cannot help but notice that what for the Impressionists was a 
veritable passion, a passion they had the means to consummate, was for their 
photographer contemporaries, as sincere as they may have been, a matter of 
mere fashion. Hampered by meager inspiration as well as by imperfect tech- 
nique, they produced limited results. 



A similar call for working in situ and for accurately evoking the at- 
mosphere of a particular place manifested itself in the realm of the stereo- 
scopic view. Topographical series focusing on the environs of Paris took on a 
delightfully picturesque aspect around 1857. In the same period genre scenes 
mimicking bourgeois life were most often done out-of-doors, rather than 
being "reconstructed" in the studio. New themes appeared: the country 
house and, above all, the boating picnic on the banks of the Seine, conceived 
in what was already a cinemagraphic spirit (figs. 85-88). The family garden 
remained a preferred spot for genre scenes, however. Less spontaneous than 
those presented in Impressionist paintings, such scenes derive their greatest 
charm from effects of lighting. At the turn of the century the painter Bonnard 
tried his hand at these themes, not only in paintings, but also in photographs, 
creating the most intimate and radiant visions (fig. 89). 

If in the 1860s and '70s such landscapists as Quinet and Rousset, or 
even Marville, appear to have been inspired by the same current of feelings as 
the Impressionists, they were less dependent upon them and did not try to 
imitate painting. On the contrary, Quinet, for example, furnished motifs for 
painters (most often for Academic artists) rather than vice versa. Around 
1900, however, references to paintings by Monet, Renoir, and Sisley became 
conscious and explicit in the landscapes of amateur photographers, particu- 
larly among the Pictorialists. For Robert Demachy, the most influential mem- 
ber of this group, in particular, the Impressionists were important models. He 
shared their predilection for "modern" subjects: the banks of the Seine where 
barges were moored, hillsides "planted" with factories. He allowed himself 
to create, in his astonishing Speed, an almost abstract landscape, by adding an 
automobile to it. And he made the Impressionists' research on light and at- 
mospheric vibration his own, translating it into gum bichromate prints. Cer- 
tain of his landscapes provide an interpretation of Impressionism which — if 
not novel — is never ponderous, thanks to the happy equilibrium maintained 
between naturalism and abstraction, while others (fig. 90) begin to show the 
influence of Art Nouveau. Constant Puyo seems also to have had a true 
propensity for landscape. But in populating his luminous meadows with 
mannered nymphs, he irrevocably diluted its essence. It is in the small snap- 
shots he took repeatedly and which served him as a type of sketch — a prac- 
tice dear to the Pictorialists — that we must look for the freshness of sponta- 
neous impressions. 

The influence of Impressionist painting can be seen even in the work 
of amateurs on the fringes of Pictorialism. This is the case with Fregniot- 
Arnal (fig. 91) and, above all, with Antonin Personnaz. For the latter, a friend 
of Pissarro and Guillaumin and a celebrated collector of Impressionist paint- 
ings, there could have been nothing more natural. Personnaz was one of the 
first to use the autochrome process, which was patented by the Lumiere 
brothers and commercialized in 1907, and was surely one of the foremost 
practitioners in this area. Often his landscapes are to be admired for their 
masterly technique, harmonious composition, and refined color. However, 
they are lacking, like all French photographs inspired by Impressionism, in 
the vigor of completely original works and thus point up the delicate, some- 
times tenuous, relationship between painting and photography in the 

— F. H. 

Fig. 89. Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867-1947), Martha in 
the Garden, c. 1900. Modern print from original negative. 
Private Collection. Photo: Musee d'Orsay, Paris. 



Fig. 90. Robert Demachy (French, 1859- 
1937), Landscape, c. 1904. Gum bichromate 
print. 21.2 x 15.8 cm. Musee d'Orsay, Paris. 
Photo: Musee d'Orsay. 

Fig. 91. Fregniot-Arnal (French), Mist on the 
Oise, 1905. Artigue carbon print by Fresson. 
12.5 X 16.5 cm. Gerard Levy Collection, 
Paris. Photo: Musee d'Orsay, Paris. 


1. See The Museum of Modern Art, 1981. 

2. Newspaper illustrators themselves often used commercial photographs as the basis for their 
drawings and engravings. 

3. Dunng the 1860s, the years when Marville began his reportage, it would have been nec- 
essary for him, given the dimensions of his negative plates (35 by 23 centimeters), to use 
posed models to provide figuration. Not only did he not do this, but it is probable that such 
a process would not have interested him. 

4. The use of a lens with a very short focal length in effect allowed the clear registration of an 
image located very far away in an exposure period brief enough to capture movement, but 
on an extremely reduced surface. The possibility of interfering with the photograph during 
this procedure was nil. 

5. It is impossible to review here the question of rapports among the Realist painters and 
contemporary photographers and critics. See Scharf, 1968. pp. 65-67, 95 — 108, 263, 269 — 
270; Jammes and Parry, 1983, pp. 4, 82, 207, 231; and Heilbrun, 1980, pp. 18-19, 348- 

6. See The Museum of Modern Art, 1981. 

7. The same characteristic can be found in the treatment of foliage by many other photogra- 
phers of this period, including Colliau, Delondre, Pettiot-Groffier, and Negre. 

8. This print, if not the entire album of which it is a part, was derived from a stereoscopic view 
of the time (Sirot-Angel Collection). 



Checklist of the Exhibition 

Unless otherwise noted, all artists were of French nationality. 

All works are oil on canvas. Each entry in Section III of this volume was authored by the contributor whose initials appear on the essay 

immediately preceding it. Exceptions are initialed individually. 

Frederic Bazille 


Beach at Sainte-Adresse 

La Place a 5.-\;.\'T£-Adresse, 2S65 

57 X 139.7 cm. 

The High .Museum of .\rt, .\tlanta. Gift of the Forward 

.•\rts Foundation in Honor of Frances Flovd Cocke 
No. 4 

The Forest of Fontainebleau 

foret de fo\tai\ebleal', 1s65 

60 X 73 cm. 

Musee d'Orsav, Galerie du Jen de Paume, Paris 

Daulte 1 1 

No. 8 

L.\ndscape at Chailly 

P.AYSAGEA Chailly, 1S65 

82 X 105 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Charles H. and 

Marv F. S. Worcester Collection 
Daulte 12 
No. 7 

Rose Trellis (Terrace at Meric) 

Les Lauriers-Roses (Terrasse a Meric), 1867 

55.5x91.5 cm. 

Cincinnati Art Museum, Gift of Mark P. Herschede 

Daulte 26 

No. 79 

Emile Bernard 


Harvest near the Seaside 

La Moisson au bord de la mer, IS91 

70 x 92 cm. 

Musee d'Orsav, Palais de Tokvo, Paris 

No. 134 

The Village of Pont-Aven 
Le Village de Pont-Aven, 1S92 
72 x 92 cm. 

Josefowitz Collection, Switzerland 
No. 135 

Eugene Boudin 


Bordeaux Harbor 

Port DE Bordeaux, 1S74 

41 x 65 cm. 

Musee d'Orsav, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Schmit 976 

No. 114 

Ca.maret Harbor 

Port DE Camaret, 1872 

55.5x89.5 cm. 

Musee d'Orsav, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Schmit 803 

No. 113 

Landscape with Washerwomen (Le Faou, 

the Harbor at Low Tide) 
Paysage aux lavandieres (Le Faou, le 

port A maree basse), 1873 
37x58 cm. 

Musee d'Orsav, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 
Schmit 873 
No. 50 

On the Beach at Trouville 

Scene de plage a Trouville, 1860 

67.3x104.2 cm. 

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The William 

Hood Dunwoody Fund 
Schmit 254 
No. 12 

Gustave Caillebotte 


The Bridge over the Seine at Argenteuil 

Le Pont d'Argentevil et la Seine, 1885 

65x82 cm. 

Josefowitz Collection, Switzerland 


No. 46 

On the Europe Bridge 

Le Pont de l' Europe, 1876-77 

105x130 cm. 

Kimhell Art Museum, Fort Worth 

Berhaut 46 

No. 29 

Roses, Garden at Petit-Gennevilliers 

Les Roses, jardin du Petit-Gennevilliers, c. 

1886 89x 116 cm. 
Private Collection 
Berhaut 312 
No. 87 

Thatched Cottage at Trouville 
La Chaumiere, Trouville, 1882 
54 X 65 cm. 
The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Frank H. and 

Louise B. Woods 
Berhaut 196 
No. 86 

Traffic Island o : Boulevard Haussmann 
Un Refuge boulevard Haussmann, 1880 
81x101 cm. 
Private Collection 
Berhaut 141 
No. 33 

Paul Cezanne 


AuvERS, Panoramic View 


65x81.3 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis 

Larned Cohurn Memorial Collection 
Venturi 150 
No. 69 

The Bay of Marseille, Seen from l'Estaque 
Le Golfe de Marseille, vu de l'Estaque, 

c. 1878-79 59.5x73 cm. 
Musee d'Orsav, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 
Venturi 4''.8 
No. 127 

The Bay of Marseille, Seen from l'Estaque 
Le Golfe de Marseille, vu de l'Estaque, 

1883-85 73x100 cm. 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 

Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929, The H. O. 

Havemeyer Collection 
Venturi 429 
No. 128 

The Bay of Marseille, Seen from l'Estaque 
Le Golfe de Marseille, vu de l'Estaque, 


76x97 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. 

Martin A. Ryerson Collection 
Venturi 493 
No. 129 

Bend in the Road 

La Route tournante, 1879-82 

60.5 x73.5 cm. 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bequest of John T 

Spaulding, 1948 
Venturi 329 
No. 72 

The Bridge at Maincy, near Melun 

Le Pont de M.-i;.\'cv, c. 1879-80 

58.5x72.5 cm. 

Musee d'Orsav, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Venturi 396 

No. 73 

Farmyard at Auvers 

cour de ffrme a auvers, c. 1879-80 

65 x54 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Venturi 326 

No. 70 

Mount Sainte-Victoire 

Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1886-88 

67.3x91.5 cm. 

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gift 

of the W. Averell Harriman Foundation in Memory 

of Marie N. Harriman, 1972 
Venturi 437 
No. 130 

Mount Sainte-Victoire from the Large Pine 

La Montacne Sainte-Victoire au grand 

PIN, 1885-87 60x73 cm. 
The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. 
Venturi 455 
No. 131 

The Poplars 

Les Peupliers c. 1879-82 

65x81 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Pans 

Venturi 335 

No. 71 

Henri-Edmond Cross 


Beach at Cabasson 

Place de baigne-cul, 1891-92 

65.7x92.1 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, 1983 

Compin 3 1 

Los .\ni;eles and Chicago onlv 

No. 136 

Coast near Antibes 

Calanque des Antibois, 1891-92 

65 x 94 cm. 

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C, The John 

Hay Whitney Collection, 1982 
Compin 33 
No. 137 


Paul Gauguin 


The Church at Pont-Aven 

Le Champ Derout-Lollichon [I], 1886 

73 X 92 cm. 

Private Collection, Switzerland 

Wildenstein 199 

No. 75 

Farm at Arles 

Ferme A Arles, 1888 

91.5x72.5 cm. 

Indianapolis Museum of Art, Gift in Memory of 

William Ray Adams 
Wildenstein 308 
No. 102 

The Field of Derout-Lollichon 

Le Champ Derout-Lollichon [IIj, 1886 

73 X 92 cm. 

Hal B. Wallis 

Wildenstein 200 

Los Angeles onlv 

No. 76 

The Market Gardens at Vaugirard 

Les Maraichers d£ Vaugirard, c. 1879 

65x100 cm. 

Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, 

Purchased 1953 
Wildenstein 36 
No. 74 

The Roman Burial Ground at Arles 

Les Alyscamps, Arles, 1888 

91.5x72.5 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Wildenstein 307 

No. 133 

The Swineherd, Brittany 

Le Gardien des porcs, Bretagne, 1888 

73 X 93 cm. 

Lucille Ellis Simon 

Wildenstein 255 

No. 132 

Armand Guillaumin 


The Arcueil Aqueduct at Sceaux Railroad 

L'Aqueduc a Arcueil, eigne de Sceaux, c. 1874 
50x63 cm. 
The Art Institute of Chicago, Mrs. Clive Runnells, 

Restricted Gift 
Serret and Fabiani 34 
No. 51 

Environs of Paris 
Environs de Paris, c. 1874 
60x81 cm. 

Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery 
Serret and Fabiani 32 
No. 52 

Environs of Paris 

Environs de Paris, c. 1890 

74 X 93 cm. 

Mrs. Lyndon Baines Johnson 

Serret and Fabiani 210 

No. 77 

Edouard Manet 


Departure from Boulogne Harbor 

Sortie du port de Boulogne, 1864-65 

74 X 93 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Potter Palmer Collection 

Rouart and Wildenstein 78 

No. 2 

Moonlight over Boulogne Harbor 
Clair de lune sur le port de Boulogne, 

82x101 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 
Rouart and Wildenstein 143 
No. 3 

Claude Monet 


Afternoon at Antibes 

Antibes, effet d'apres-midi, 1888 

66x82.5 cm. 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Gift of Samuel 

DacreBush, 1927 
Wildenstem 1158 
No. 126 

Argenteuil Basin 

Le Bassin d'Argenteuil, 1872 

60x80.5 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Wildenstein 225 

No. 39 

Argenteuil Basin 

Le Bassin d'Argenteuil, 1874 

55.2 X 74.2 cm. 

Museum of .Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 

Providence, Gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth 
Wildenstein 325 
No. 41 

Bathing at La Grenouillere 

Les Bains de la Grenouillere, 1869 

73 X 92 cm. 

The Trustees of The National Gallery, London 

Wildenstein 135 

No. 14 

Beach at Honfleur 

Le Bord de la mer a Honfleur, 1864-66 

60x81 cm. 

Los Angeles Count)- Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. 

Reese Hale Taylor, 1964 
Wildenstein 4 1 
No. 1 

The Beach at Sainte-Adresse 

La Plage de Sainte-Adresse, 1867 

75.8x102.5 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr and Mrs. Lewis 

Larned Coburn Memorial Collection 
Wildenstem 92 
No. 6 

The Bridge at Bougival 

Le Pont de Bougival, 1869 

65.5 X 92.5 cm. 

The Currier Gallery of .Art, .Manchester 

Wildenstein 152 

No. 13 

Cliff Walk at Pourville 
Promenadesur la falaise, Pourville, 1882 
65x81 cm. 
The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis 

Larned Coburn Memorial Collection 
Wildenstem 758 
No. 117 

Customs House at Varengeville 

Cabane de DOUANIER, 1882 

60x81 cm. 

Philadelphia Museum of Art, William L. Elkins Collection 

Wildenstein 743 

No. 116 

The Europe Bridge at Saint-Lazare Tr.^in 

Le Pont de l'Europe, Gare Saist-Lazare, 1877 
64x80 cm. 

.Musee Marmottan, Paris 
Wildenstein 442 
No. 30 

Floating Ice on the Seine 

Debacle sur la Seine, 1880 

60 X 100 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

XX'ildenstein 567 

No. 55 

Flowering Apple Trees 

Pommiers en fleurs, 1S72 

57.5 X 69.5 cm. 

Collection of Union League Club of Chicago 

Wildenstein 201 

No. 100 

Flowering Garden 

Jardin en fleurs, c. 1866 

65 x54 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Wildenstein 69 

No. 78 

The Garden at Giverny 

Le Jardin A Giverny, 1900 

81.9x91.5 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Paris onlv 

No. 91 


Les Glaieuls, 1876 

55.9x82.6 cm. 

The Detroit Institute of Arts, City of Detroit Purchase 

Wildenstein 414 

No. 83 

The Grainstack 

La Meule, 1891 

65.6 X 92 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Major Acquisition Fund 

and .Mr. and Mrs. Daniel C. Searle Restricted Gift 
Wildenstein 1283 
No. 106 

Gr.\instacks, End of Day, Autumn 

Deux Meules, declin du jour, automne, 1891 

65x100 cm. 

The .Art Institute of Chicago, .Mr. and .Mrs. Lewis 

Larned Coburn Memorial Colleaion 
Wildenstein 12"'0 
No. 105 

Grainstacks, End of Su.m.mer, Evening 
Meules, fin de l'ete, effet du soir, 1891 
60x100 cm. 
Mrs. .Arthur .M. Wood 
Wildenstein 1269 
No. 108 



Grainstacks, End of Summer, Morning 

Meules, fin d£ l'ete, effet du matin, IS9I 

60.5 X 100 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paumc, Paris 

Wildenstein 1266 

Paris only 

No. 107' 

The Gr.-\instacks in the Snow, Overc.-\st Day 
Meules, effet de neice, temps couvert, IS91 
66 X 93 cm. 
The .\rt Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Martin 

.\. Rverson Collection 
Wildenstein 1281 
No. Ill 

Grainstacks, Snow 

Meules, effet de neige, IS91 

60 X 100 cm. 

Shelburne Museum of .-Krt 

Wildenstein 12~4 

Los Angeles and Chicago only 

No. 109 

Grainstacks, Snow, Sunset 

Meules, effet de neice, soleil couchant, 

65.3x100.4 cm. 
The Art Institute of Chicago, Potter Palmer 

Wildenstein 1278 
No. 112 

The Grainstack, Sunset 

Meule, soleil couchant, IS91 

73.3x92.6 cm. 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Juliana Cheney 

Edwards Collection, Bequest of Robert J. 

Edwards in Memory of his Mother, 1925 
Wildenstein 1289 
No. 104 

The Grainstack, Thaw, Sunset 

Meule, decel, soleil couchant, 1891 

65 X 92 cm. 

Private Collection, U.S.A. 

Wildenstein 1284 

No. 110 

Japanese Bridge at Giverny 

Le Pont japonais, Giverny, c. 1900 

89.8 X 101 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis 

Earned Coburn Memorial Collection 
No. 93 

Landscape, View of the Argenteuil Plain 

Paysace, vue de la plaine a Argenteuil, 1S72 

53x72 cm. 

Musee d'Orsav, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Wildenstein 220 

No. 94 

The Luncheon 

Le Dejeuner, 1S73-74 

160x201 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Wildenstein 285 

Paris only 

No. 81 

Madame Monet in the Garden 

Madame Monet dans un jardin, c. 1872 
51.5x66 cm. 
Anonymous Loan 
No. 82 

The Manneporte, High Seas 

La Manneporte, maree haute, 18SS 

65x81.3 cm. 

Mr. and Mrs. A. N. Pritzkcr 

Wildenstem 1035 

No. 119 

Monet's Garden at Giverny 

Le Jardin de Monet a Givf:rny, 1900 

80.6x90.8 cm. 

Ralph T. Coe 

Los Angeles and Chicago only 

No. 92^ 

Monet's House at Argenteuil 

La Maison de l' artiste a Argenteuil, 1873 

60.5 X 74 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Martin 

A. Ryerson Collection 
Wildenstem 284 
No. 80 

Montorgueil Street, Celebration of 30 

June 1878 
La Rue Montorgueil, Fete du 30 juin 

1878, 1878 
80x50 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 
Wildenstem 469 
No. 28 

On the Seine at Bennecourt 

Au Bord de l'eau, Bennecourt, 1868 

81.5x100.7 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Potter Palmer 

Wildenstein 110 
No. 47 

Poppy Field 

Champ aux coquelicots, 1890 

61x96.5 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. 

Kimhall Collection 
Wildenstein 1253 
No. 103 

The Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil 

Le Pont du chemin de fer, Argenteuil, 1874 

54.3x73 cm. 

John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia Museum 

of Art 
Wildenstein 318 
No. 43 

Roches Noires Hotel, at Trouville 

Hotel des Roches Noires, Trouville, 1870 

81x58.3 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Wildenstein 155 

No. 115 

Sailboat at Petit-Gennevilliers 
Voilifr au Petit-Gennevilliers, 1874 
56 x 74 cm. 
Lucille Ellis Simon 
Wildenstein 336 
No. 42 

Saint-Lazare Train Station 

La Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877 

75.5x104 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Wildenstein 438 

No. 31 

Saint-Lazare Train Station, the Nor- 
mandy Train 

La Gare Saint-Lazare, le train de Normandie, 

59.6x80.2 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Martin 
A. Ryerson Collection 

Wildenstein 440 

No. 32 

The Sea at Pourville 

La Mer a Pourville, 1882 

54 X 73 cm. 

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bequest of Mrs. 

Frank Graham Thomson 
Wildenstein 772 
No. 118 

The Seine at Argenteuil 

La Seine a Argenteuil, 1873 

50.3x61 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Wildenstein 198 

No. 40 

Springtime, through the Branches 

Le Printemps, a travers les branches, 1878 

52x63 cm. 

Musee Marmottan, Paris 

Wildenstein 455 

No. 54 

Terrace at Sainte-Adresse 

Terrasse a Sainte-Adresse, 1867 

98 X 130 cm. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 
Purchased with Special Contributions and 
Purchase Funds Given or Bequeathed by 
Friends of the Museum, 1967 

Wildenstein 95 

Los Angeles only 

No. 5 

Train in the Countryside 

Train dans la campacne, c. 1870-71 

50x65 cm. 

Musee d'Orsav, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Wildenstein 153 

No. 48 

TuiLERiES Gardens 

Vue des Tuileries, 1876 

53 X 72 cm. 

Musee Marmottan, Paris 

Wildenstein 401 

No. 84 

Versailles Road at Louveciennes — Snow 
Route a Louveciennes — effet de neice, 

56x65.5 cm. 

Private Collection, Chicago 
Wildenstein 147 
Chicago and Paris only 
No. 15 

Berthe Morisot 


View of Paris from the Trocadero 

Vue de Paris des hauteurs du Trocadero, 

46.1 x81.5cm. 
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Hugh 

N. Kirkland 
Bataille and Wildenstein 23 
No. 27 



Camille Pissarro 

Danish, 1830-1903 

The Banks of the Marne in Winter 


91.8x150.2 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis 

Larned Coburn Memorial Fund 
Pissarro and Venturi 47 
No. 9 

Banks of the Oise, Pontoise 


55x91 cm. 
Lucille Ellis Simon 
Pissarro and Venturi 158 
No. 61 

Boulevard Montmartre, Mardi Gras 

Boulevard Montmartre, Mardi Gras, 1897 

63.5 X 80 cm. 

Armand Hammer Collection 

Pissarro and Venturi 995 

No. 35 

Bridge at Rouen 

Le Grand Pont, Rouen, 1896 

73 X 92 cm. 

Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 

Museum Purchase, 1900 
Pissarro and Venturi 956 
No. 37 

Climbing Path in the Hermitage, Pontoise 

Le Chemin montant l'hermitage, Pontoise, 

54x65 cm. 

The Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dikran G. Kelekian 
Pissarro and Venturi 308 
Los Angeles only 
No. 66 

Corner of the Garden at the Hermitage 

Un Coin de jardin a l'hermitage, 1877 

55 X 46 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Pissarro and Venturi 396 

No. 85 

The Ennery Road near Pontoise 

Route d'Ennery pres Pontoise, 1874 

55x92 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Pissarro and Venturi 254 

No. 65 

Harvest at Montfoucault 

La Moisson a Montfoucault, 1876 

65 X 92.5 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Pissarro and Venturi 365 

No. 97 

Harvest Landscape at Pontoise 

Paysage, la moisson, Pontoise, 1S73 

65x81 cm. 

Private Collection, Chicago 

Pissarro and Venturi 235 

Chicago and Paris only 

No. 95 

Hillside in the Hermitage, Pontoise 

Coteau de l'hermitage, Pontoise, 1873 

61x73 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Pissarro and Venturi 209 

No. 63 


Gelee blanche, 1873 

65x93 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Pissarro and Venturi 203 

No. 96 

Kitchen Garden and Floxs'ering Trees, 

Spring, Pontoise 
Potacer et arbres en fleurs, printemps, 

Pontoise, 1877 
65x81 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 
Pissarro and Venturi 387 
Paris onlv 
No. 98 

Landscape at Louveciennes (Autumn) 
LePaysageaux ENVIRONS deLouveciennes 

(Automne), 1869-70 
89x116 cm. 

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malihu 
Pissarro and Venturi 87 
Chicago and Paris onlv 
No. 16 

Landscape near Louveciennes 
Paysage, Louveciennes, c. 1875 
51.5x81 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 
Pissarro and Venturi 309 
No. 18 

The Place du Havre, Paris 

Place du Havre, Paris, 1893 

60.1x73.5 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Potter Palmer Collection 

Pissarro and Venturi 838 

No. 34 

The Place du Theatre Fran^ais, Paris 
La Place du Theatre Fran^ais, Paris, 1S98 
73 X 92 cm. 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. 

George Gard de Sylva Collection 
Pissarro and Venturi 1031 
No. 36 

Rabbit Warren at Pontoise, Snow 

La Garenne a Pontoise, effet de neige, 1879 


The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Marshall Field 

Pissarro and Venturi 478 

No. 68 

Railway Crossing at Patis, near Pontoise 

La Barriere du chemin de fer, au Patis 

PRES Pontoise, 1873-74 
65x81 cm. 

The Phillips Family Collection 
Pissarro and Venturi 266 
No. 53 

The Red House 

La Maison rouge, 1873 

59x73 cm. 

Portland Art .Museum, Bequest of Winslow B. Ayer 

Pissarro and Venturi 221 

Los .■\ngeles and Chicago onlv 

No. 62 

Red Roofs, a Corner of the Village in Winter 
Les Toits rouges, coin de village, effet 

d'hiver, 1817 
54.5 X 65.6 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 
Pissarro and Venturi 384 
Paris onlv 
No. 67 

Rouen Harbor, Saint-Sever 

Port de Rouen, Saint-Sever, 1896 

65.5 X 92 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Pans 

Pissarro and Venturi 957 

No. 38 

Snow at the Hermitage, Pontoise 

Effet de neige a l'hermitage, Pontoise, 1874 

54.5x65.5 cm. 

Anonymous Loan 

Pissarro and Venturi 238 

No. 64 

Wash House at Bougival 

Le Lavoir, Bougival, 1872 

46.5 x56 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Pissarro and Venturi 1 ~5 

No. 17 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir 


The Bridge at Argenteuil 

Le Pont d' Argenteuil, 1882 

54 X 65 cm. 

Private Collection, U.S.A. 

No. 45 

Oarsmen at Ch.atou 

Les C.4not;£rs .4 Chatou, 1879 

81.3x100.3 cm. 

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gift of 

Sam .-K. Lewisohn, 1951 
No. 49 

The Seine \t Argenteuil 

La Seine A Argenteuil, c. 1873 

46.5 X 65 cm. 

Musee d'Orsav, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

No. 44 

The Wave 

La Vague, 1879 

64.8x99.2 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Potter Palmer Collection 

No. 120 

Georges Seurat 


The Alfalfa Field near Saint-Denis 

La Luzerne a Saint-Denis, 1885 

65x81 cm. 

National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 

de Hauke 145 

Los Angeles onlv 

No. 101 

The Bridge and quays at Port-en-Bessin 
Le Pont et les quais a Port-en-Bessin. 1888 
67x84.5 cm. 
The Minneapolis Institute of .Arts, The William 

Hood Dunwoody Fund 
de Hauke 188 
No. 123 

Port-en-Bessin, the Outer Harbor at 

High Tide 
Port-en-Bessin, avant-port, maree haute, 188 
67x82 cm. 

\lusee d'Orsav, Palais de Tokvo, Paris 
de Hauke 193' 
No. 121 



Port-en-Bessin, THE Outer Harbor AT Low Tide 
Port-es-Bessin, l'av.ant-purt a maree 


53.5 X 65." cm. 

The St. Louis ■\rt .Museum 

deHauke 189 

No. 122 

Seascape .at Port-en-Bessin, Norm.\ndy 

Les Grues £t la percee a Port-en-Bessin, 

Normandy, isss 
64." X 81.5 cm. 
National Gallery of .\rt. Washington. D.C., Gift of 

the W. .Averell Harriman Foundation in Memory 

of Marie N. Harriman, 1972 
deHauke 190 
No. 124 

Paul Signac 


The Anchorage at Portrieux 

La Rade de Portrieux, ISSS 

65.5 x82 cm. 

Private Collection 

No. 125 

The Seine at Herblay 

Bords de riviere, la Seine a Herblay, 1SS9 

33 x55 cm. 

Musee d'Orsav, Palais de Tokyo, Paris 

No. 58 

Alfred Sisley 


Autumn: Banks oftheSeinenearBougival 

(Autumn: Banks of the Oise) 
L'avtomne sur les bords de l'Oise, 1S73 
46.5 X61.6 cm. 
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Bequest of 

.Miss Adahne Van Home 
Daulte 94 
No. 60 

Avenue of Chestnut Trees .at La Celle-Saint- 

Allee de chataicniers pres de la 

Celle- Saint-Cloud, 1S67 
89x116 cm. 

Southampton Art Gallery 
Daulte 9 
No. 10 

The Bridge at Moret 

Pont de Moret, 1893 

73.5 X 92.3 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Daulte 817 

No. 57 

First Snow at Louveciennes 

Premieres Neices a Louveciennes. c. \S70~7l 

54.8 x 73.8 cm. 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bequest of John 

T Spaulding, 1948 
Daulte 18 
No. 19 

Flood at Port-Marly 

L'Inondation A Port-Marly, 1S76 

60x81 cm. 

Musee d'Orsav, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Daulte 240 

Paris only 

No. 26 

The Road, View of Sevres Path, Louveciennes 

La Route, vue du chemin de Sevres, 1873 

54.7x73 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du jeu de Paume, Paris 

Daulte 102 

No. 59 

The Seine at Bougival 

La Seine a Bougival, 1872-73 

46x65.3 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Daulte 87 

No. 20 

The Seine at Port-Marly 

Bords de la Seine a Port-Marly, 1S75 

54x65.5 cm. 

Private Collection, Chicago 

Chicago onlv 

No. 24 

The Seif.e at Port-Marly, Piles of Sand 
La Seine a Port-Marly — tas de sable, 1875 
54.5x73.7 cm. 
The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Martin 

A. Rverson Collection 
No. 23 

The Seine near By 

La Seine vue des coteaux de by, ISSI 

37x55 cm. 

Musee d'Orsay, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Daulte 443 

No. 56 

Springtime near Paris — Flox^ering Apple 

Printemps aux environs de Paris — 

Pommiers en fleurs, 1879 
45 x61 cm. 

Musee Marmottan, Paris 
Daulte 305 
No. 99 

Street in Louveciennes 

La Route a Louveciennes, 1872-73 

38x54 cm. 

Private Collection 

Daulte 167 

No. 22 

The Versailles Road, Louveciennes 

La Route de Versailles, IS75 

47x38 cm. 

Musee d'Orsav, Galerie du Jeu de Paume, Paris 

Daulte 162 ' 

No. 25 

Village Street of Marlotte 

Rue du village a Marlotte. 1S66 

65 x91.5 cm. 

.Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, General 

Purchase Funds, 1956 
Daulte 3 
No. 11 

Watering Place at Marly 

L'Abreuvoir d£ Marly, 1875 

39.5x56.2 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Mrs. Clive Runnells 

Daulte 169 

No. 21 

Vincent van Gogh 

Dutch, 1853-189"0 

Corner in Voyer-d".\rgenson Park at Asnieres 
Coin du parc Voyer-d'Argenson a Asnieres. 

59x81 cm. 
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Gift of 

Henry R. Luce, B.A., 1920 
de la Faille 2~6 
No. 88 

The Garden of the Poets 

LeJardin des poetes, 1888 

'■3 x 92 cm. 

The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis 

Larned Cohurn Memorial Collection 
de la Faille 468 
Los .\ngeles onlv 
No. 89^ 


Les Iris, 1889 

^1 x93cm. 

The Joan Whitney Pavson Gallery of .Art, Westbrook 

College, Portland 
de la F,iillc 608 
Los Angeles and Chicago onlv 
No. 90 

checklist OF the exhibition 



Editor's Note: Catalogues raisonnes are referred to 
in this volume by author's surname and painting 
number (i.e., "Daulte 1 12"). All other publications 
are cited by author's surname, year of publication, 
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2 vols., Geneva, 1975. 
Schmit, R., Eugene Boudin, 1824-189S, 3 vols., 

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About, Edmond, 35 

Achard, |, 28 

Aix-en-Provence, 1 11, 212, 256, 302-4, 306 

Alexandre, Arsene, 280 

Alphand, Adolphe, 110,214 

Anastasi, Auguste, 301 

Anoux, Jacques, 46 

Antibes, 277, 305 

Arago, Franij-ois, 33 

Aragon, Louis, 236 

Arcueil, 158, 164 

Ardouin-Dumazet, Victor-Eugene, 299, 318 

Argenteuil, 20, 35, 39, 41, 79, 98, 102, 1 14, 116, 

US, 140-41, 146, 154, 158, 164, 168, 175-77, 

179, 207-8, 211,212, 217, 220, 224, 230, 241, 

Aries, 230, 236, 256, 301, 303-4, 308 
Arosa, Achille, 246, 336 
Arosa, Gustave, 336 
Artois, 276 
Asnieres, 79, 158,234 
Astruc, Zacharie, 113,331 
Atget, Eugene, 350, 355 
Auteuil, 21 1 
Auvergne, 351—52 
Auvers, 80, 84, 175, 178-79, 184, 190, 194, 200, 

Avignon, 351 

Bacon, Henry, 339 

Bacot, , 359 

Bagneux, 350 

Balbec, 280 

Baldus, Edouard-Denis, 351-54, 359 

Baltet, Charles, 208 

Balzac, Honore de, 35, 46, 110,114 

Barbizon, 59, 70, 74 

Barlow, Samuel, 343 

Barres, Maurice, 312 

Barron, Louis, 47 

Bas-Breau, 70 

Bastien-LePage, Jules, 301 

Baudelaire, Charles, 74, l38, 143, 145, 276, 326 

Baudry, Etienne, 46 

Bavard, Hippolvte, 354, 357 

Bazille, Frederic, 58, 62, 70, 111-13, 154,211-12. 

217, 220, 230, 279-80, 288, 328-30, 333-37 
Beaureceuil, 306 
Beckwith, Carroll, 340 
Becquerel, Alexandre-Edmond, 357 
Belgrand, Eugene, 164 
Beliard, Edouard, 179 
Benardaky, Marie de, 215 
Bennecourt, 154 

Berger, (Pretet), 355 

Bernard, Emile, 230, 262, 301, 303, 306, 312, 318 

Bertall, Charles-Albert, 142, 330 

Berthier, Charlotte, 230 

Bertin, Jean-Victor, 38 

Bevan, Henrv, 85-87, 94, 102, 360 

Beyle, M.H. [pseud. Stendahl], 42 

Bezons, 158 

Bibesco, Georges, 335 

Bidault, Jules, 208 

Bierstadt, Albert, 340 

Bievre, 80 

Billiard, H., 208 

Bismarck, Otto von, 29 

Bisson brothers, 351-54, 359 

Blackburn, Henry, 275-76, 301, 308, 312 

Blanc, Charles, 290 

Blanquart-Evrard, L.-D.-J., 350-51, 356, 358, 360 

Blin, Francois, 34 
Bois-le-Roi, 70 
Boncenne, Felix, 208 
Bonheur, Rosa, 168,312 
Bonnard, Pierre, 116, 224, 361 
Bonnieres, 154 

Bennington, Richard Parkes, 41 
Bonvin, Francois, 301 
Bordeaux, 33, 279 
Bordighera, 277, 305 
Bonnes, 3 1 8 

Bossin, M 208 

Both, Jan, 327 

Boucher, Fran(;ois, 194 

Boudin, Eugene, 57, 62, 74, 88, 90, 158, 224, 275- 

76, 279-80, 288, 301, 331, 337, 341, 359 
Bougival, 22, 46, 79-82, 84-88, 90, 94, 98, 102, 

146, 172, 175, 177-78, 183, 21 1, 299 
Bouguereau, William Adolphe, 28, 326 
Boulogne, 58, 62, 351,359 

Bourrevilles, M. de, 86 

Bover, G., 210 

Breton, Jules, 28,312 

Brett, |ohn, 352 

Breuil, Felix, 215 

Brie, 204 

Brittanv, 22, 29, 90, 98, 182, 204, 243, 252, 273, 

279-80, 300- 1, 308, 312, 353-54 
Brosse, Salomon de, 164 
Blirger, W., see Thore, E.-J.-T. 
Burtv, Philippe, 113,327,332 
Bussy, Charles de, 208 
Buysson, Fran(jois du, 212 
Bv, 168 

Cabasson, 304, 318 

Cachan, 158 

Cagnes, 211 

Caillebotte, Gustave, 114, 122, 126, 146, 154 158 


Caillebotte, Martial, 126, 128, 154, 230 
Camaret, 279-80 
Cannes, 352 
Carmontelle, Louis, 213 
Carnere, Eiie-Abel, 207 
Carrieres-Saint-Denis, 158 
Cassatt, A.J., 341,343 
Cassatt, Marv, 224, 334, 342-43 
Castagnary, Jules, 27-28, 53, 59, 143, 145, 305, 

Castelnau, 217 
Cerizav, 74 
Cezanne, Paul, 21-23, 35-37, 40, 57, 111-13, 

154, 178-79, 182, 184, 190, 200, 204, 224, 252, 

260, 277, 300, 302-4, 306, 308, 312, 318, 328- 

Cezanne, Paul (son), 306 
Chailly-en-Biere, 59, 70, 74, 217 
Champagne, 169 
Champfleury, see Husson, Jules 
Chaponval, 177,200,204 
Charigot, Aline (later Mme. Pierrc-Auguste 

Renoir), 158 
Chase, William Merritt, 340 
Chateaubriand, Frani;ois-Rene de, 276 
Chatou, 158 
Chauvigny, 350 
Chcsneau, Ernest, 333 
Chevreul, Eugene, 290, 302 
Chintreuil, Antoine, 37, 80 
Chocquet, Victor, 224, 334, 336 

Church, Frederic Edwin, 340 

Claretie.Jules, 42, 44, 47-48 

Coburn, Lewis Earned, 190 

CoUard, A., 353, 355 

Colombes, 140, 154 

Combray, 2 1 1 

Constable, [ohn, 252 

Corot, lean-Baptiste, 34-35, 38, 56-57, 70, 74, 

79-80, 87-88, 90, 110, 118, 179, 181, 301, 329, 

C6tes-du-Nord290, 312 
Courbet, Gustave, 46, 56-58, 70, 74, 88, 115, 140, 

Courbevoie, 98, 164 
Courtauld, Samuel, 344 
Couture, Thomas, 1 15, 248 
Cross, Hcnri-Edmond, 22-23, 168, 277, 300, 

Cuvelier, Eugene, 358 

Daubigny, Charles-Frani;ois, 35, 37, 40, 56-58, 74, 
80, 87-88, 98, 102, 141, 154, 164, 168, 172, 
179- 81, 183, 200, 301, 335, 338, 353 

Daumier, Honore, 80, 110, 179 

Dauphine, 351-52 

David, Jacques-Louis, 338 

Davis, Erwin, 340-41 

Davis sisters, 344 

Deauville, 41,273, 276, 280 

de Bellio, Georges, 118, 126, 224 

de Chennevieres, Philippe, 60 — 61 

Degas, Edgar, 1 1 1, 128, 184, 252, 305, 327-29, 
332-35, 337, 339, 341, 343-44, 355 

de Haan, Mever, 301 

de La Bedolli^re, Emile, 81, 88, 360 

de La Chaume, Thion, 230 

de Lacretelle, Henri, 351 

Delacroix, Eugene, 244, 290, 303, 336 

Delmaet, , 355 

de Lora, Leon, 332 

Demachy, Robert, 361 

de Molard, Humbert, 357 

Denecourt, Claude-Francois, 70 

de Nerval, Gerard, 81 

Denis, Maurice, 301 

Deperthes, Jean-Baptiste, 53-56 

de Piles, Roger, 54 

de Sade, Marquis, 164 

Descuret,J.-B.-F., 35 

Desraimes, Marie, 184, 190, 228 

Detaille, Edouard, 340 

de Trevise, Due, 262 

d'Hervillv, Ernest, 332 

Diaz de la Pena, Narcisse Virgile, 37, 58, 70, 74, 358 

Dieppe, 273-74, 284, 288, 300, 359 

Doncieux, Camille (later Mme. Claude Monet), 79; 
see also Monet, Mme. Claude 

Dore, Gustave, 81, 178 

Doria, Comte, 104, 333 

Douai, 40 

Doucet, Jacques, 236 

du Barrv, Mme., 94, 172 

du Camp, Maxime, 39, 109, 350 

Duclos, , 353 

Ducros, Emmanuel, 46 

Dudevant, A.-A.-L. [pseud. George Sand], 35, 37, 

Dughet, Gaspard, 54, 57 

Dumas, Alexandre (//7s), 44 

Dumonteil, Fulhcrt, 211 

Duparc, Fran(;ois, 302 

Dupre, Jules, 74 


Durandelle, Ed\vard(?), 355 
Durand-Ruel,J.-M.-F., 338 
Durand-Ruel, Paul, 125, 128, 130, 190, 220, 236, 

Duranr\-, Edmond, 113, 327 
Duren, Eugene de, 209 
Duret, Theodore, 66, 168, 180-81, 236, 326-27, 

Dyce, William, 352 

Edwards, Grace, 342 
Edwards, Hannah Marcv, 342 
Ennery, 184, 248 
Epinav, 154 

Eragnv, 128, 130, 164,211 
Etretat, 20, 41, 58-59, 228, 262, 274, 276-77, 

Famin, Charles, 359 
Fantin-Latour, I.-H.-J.-T., Ill, 113 
Faure, Jean-Baptiste, 183, 248, 252, 334, 336 
Feneon, Felix, 290, 302, 305 
Filiger, Charles, 301 
Finistere, 158, 276 

Fiquet, Hortense (later Mme. Paul Cezanne), 306 
Flaubert, Gustave, 18, 39, 46, 49, 59, 102, 104, 242 
Fleuriot, Celine, 212 
Fontaine, Pierre-Francois, 213 
Fontainebleau, 43-44, 55, 59, 66, 70, 74, 80, 84, 
168, 177, 217, 300, 335, 356-57, 359 

Fortier, , 360 

Foucault, 252 

Fragonard, Jean-Honore, 207, 211 
Fran^ais, Francois Louis, 94, 301 
Francois, Celestin, 81 

Fregniot-Arnal, , 362 

Fuller, William H., 341 

Cachet, Paul, 178-79, 190, 336 

Gardanne, 302, 306 

Gasquet, Joachim, 306 

Gastineau, Benjamin, 138 

Gauguin, Mette, 301 

Gauguin, Paul, 22-23, 35, 110, 178-79, 182, 204, 

234, 256, 260, 262, 300-4, 308, 318, 334, 337 
Gautier, Theophile, 114 
Geffroy, Gustave, 260, 262, 288 
Gennevilliers, 140, 146, 154 
Gericault, Theodore, 338, 340 
Gerome, Jean-Leon, 28 
Giffard, Pierre, 300 
Gironde, 280 
Givernv, 17, 117, 154,211,215-16,224,230,236, 

Gleyre, Charles, 66, 74 
Gloton, 154, 158 
Gobillard, Paule, 118 
Gobillard, Yves, 118 
Goncourt brothers, 47, 74, 194, 212 
Gouirand, Andre, 302 
Gras, 349 
Gravelle, 360 
Guedes, Marie-Anne (later Mme. Eugene 

Boudin), 279 
Guerin, Marcel, 55 
Guillaumin,Armand, 35-36, 40, 110, 113, 143, 

158, 164, 178, 190, 204, 331-32, 335-36, 361 

Hagerman, M , 337 

Halevy, Ludovic, 109 
Hamilton, Luther, 342 
Hare, Augustus J. C, 74 
Harpignies, Henri-Joseph, 28, 305 

Haussmann, Baron Georges-Eugene, 39, 109, 111, 

Haute-Savoie, 28 
Havemever, H. O., 341, 343 
Hecht, Albert, 336 

Henriet, Charles-Frederic, 60-61, 102, 179 
Henrv, Charles, 290, 296, 302 
Herbiav, 168, 172 
Hill, Henry, 343 
Hiroshige, Ando, 236 
Hobbema, Meindert, 137 
Hocquart, Edouard, 208 
Hokusai, 236, 290 

Honfleur, 20, 58, 62, 66, 74, 217, 280, 300, 329 
Hoschede, Alice (later Mme. Claude Monet), 126, 

284, 305 
Hoschede, Ernest, 126, 211, 336-37 
Hoschede, Jean-Pierre, 216, 284 
Hoschede, Suzanne, 288 
Hoschede-Monet, Blanche, 224, 284 
Houssave, Arsene, 330, 334 
Huet, Paul, 70, 290 
Hugo, Charles, 351 
Hugo, Victor, 109-10, 276, 351-52 
Hunt, William Morris, 340 
Husson, Jules [pseud. Champfleurv], 1 15, 326— .2", 

Huth, Louis, 343 
Huvsmans, Joris-Karl, 114 
Hv^res, 304 

Igny, 80, 164 

He de France, 19,22,28-29,41,47,70,1 

236, 252, 304, 336 
llhers, 211 
lonides, Constantine, 343 


Jacques, Charles, 70 

James, Henry, 58-59, 143, 312, 339 

Jeufosse, 154 

Joanne, Adolphe, 44-45, 70, 74, 98, 142, 158, 

248, 290 
Joanne, Paul, 158 
Jodelle, Etienne, 164 
Joigneaux, Pierre, 208 
Joinville, 360 

Jongkind, Johann Barthold, 40, 57-58, 62, 90, 279 
Joyant, Maurice, 236 
Juan-les-Pins, 305 

Kandinskv, Wassilv, 262 
Kimball, Nlrs. David P., 342 
Kirby, Thomas, 340 
Kropotkin, Peter, 244 

Lacadre, Jeanne-Marguerite, 66 
La Celle-Samt-Cloud, "^0, SO 
LaChapelle, 312 

Lafon, , 353 

La Frette, 168 
Lane, Hugh, 343 
Langlois, Jean-Charles, 351 
Languedoc, 220 
LaPaVva, 212 
Larbaletrier, Albert, 262 
La Roche-Guyon, 70 
Latouche, Louis, 331, ij~ 
La Varenne-Saint-Hilaire, 70 
Lawrence, Cyrus J., 341 
Lecarpentier, C.-L.-E, 28 
Le Coeur, Jules, 74 

Lecomte, Georges, 59 

Ledoux, Claude, 94 

LeFaou, 158 

Leger, Fernand, 353 

Le Grav, Gustave, 350, 354, 356-59 

Le Havre, 20, 33, 40, 58, 66, 74, 102, 1 1 1, 1 16, 143, 

158, 217, 279-80, 288, 330, 333-34 
Le Notre, Andre, 32, 45, 85, 98, 104, 177, 204 
LePecq, 158 
Lepine, Stanislas, 111 
lePouldu, 301 

I'Ermitage, 164, 177-79, 183-84, 190, 248 
Leroy. Louis, 333 
Le Secq, Henri, 355, 35~, 359 
Les Herons, 284 
Les Paris, 164, 17^-, 194,248 
Lessart, 353 
I'Estaque, 277, 306 
Leutze, Emanuel, 340 
Le \'esinet, 158 

Le Voyer dWrgenson, Marquis Rene-Louis, 230 
Lhermitte, Leon-Augustin. 338 
Liebermann, Max, 344 
Lorient, 158, 353 
Lorrain, Claude, 38, 54, 158, 327 
Louis, Desire, 260 
Louveciennes, 22, 39, 79-82, 85-87, 94, 98, 

102,1-2, 175, 178-79, 181, 183,276,299, 


Loydreau, , 357-58 

Lozere, 29 

Lucas, George, 90 

Luce, Maximilien, 168, 247, 301 

Lumiere brothers, 361 

Lyon, 33, 351 

Macaire, , 359 

Maincy, 200, 204 

Maitre, Edmond, 113 

Mallarme, Stephane, 114, 236 

Mallet, Horace, 86 

Malmaison, 1^2 

Manet, Edouard, 28, 39, 43,66, 88, 109-11, 113- 

14, lis, 122, 146, 184,207,211,212,220,228, 

252, 288, 306, 329-30, 334-35, 338-39, 341- 

42, 344 
Manet, Eugene, 118 
Mantes, 168 
Mantz, PauL 329 
Marlotte, 59, 66, "4, 168 
Marlv-le-Roi, 22, 79, 80, 81, 82. 84, 85, 90, 98, 175, 

17", 2-6, 334 
Marseille, 33, 273, 306, 308 
Martens, Frederic, 352 
Martial, AP, see A. M. Potement 

Martin (pere), 88, 90, 333-34, 337 

Marville, Charles, 354-60 

Mathilde, Princess, 212 

Matisse, Henri, 22 

Maupassant, Guv de, 46, 84, 210, 224, 288 

May, Ernest, 228 

Mayenne, 252 

Maver, Baron von, 327 

Medan, 116 

Mehedin, Leon-Eugene, 352 

Meilhac, Henri, 109 

Meissonier, Ernest, 340 

Melun, -0, 200, 204 

Menton, 305 

Meric, 211-12. 217, 220 

Meryon, Charles, 110 

Meudon. 164 



Michallon, Achille-Etna, 55 

Michel, Emile, 42-43 

Michelet, Jules, 33-34, 36, 109, 273-77 

Midi, 300, 302-3, 306, 318, 351-52, 354 

Millet, Jean-Franijois, 35, 56-57, 70, 180, 252, 

MiUet-Robinet, Mme , 212 

Mirbeau, Octave, 215, 236 

Mirtil, Eugene, 204 

Mistral, Frederic, 300 

Moleri ,210 

Monet, Claude, 17-23, 28, 34-35, 37, 39-40, 43, 
48-49, 57-58, 60-61, 70, 79-81, 85-86, 88, 
90,94,98, 102, 110-12, 114-16, 118, 122, 126, 
128, 130, 140-43, 146, 154, 158, 164, 168, 172, 
175, 184, 190,207,211-12,213-15,217,220, 
224, 228, 230, 234, 236, 241-42, 246-48, 256, 
260, 262, 2^5-^8, 280, 284, 288, 300- 1, 304-5, 
32--44, 355, 360 

Monet,Jean, 79, 220, 288 

Monet, Mme. Claude (Camille Doncieux), 154, 168, 
215, 220. 224, 288, 335 

Montesquieu, Baron de, 29 

Montgeron, 212, 336 

Monticelli, Adolphe, 234 

Montifaud, Marc de, 332 

Montmirail, 357 

Montmorency, 176 

Montpellier, ill,217 

Moret-sur-Loins, 168 

Morisot, Berthe'^ 110-11, 118, 207, 211, 214, 224, 

Morny, Due de, 274, 280 

Miirer, Eugene, 335 

Nadar, see Felix Tournadon 

Nanteuil, Charles-Franijois, 81 

Napoleon III, 39, 56, 70, 85, 104, 112, 214, 328 

Negre, Charles, 351-52, 354 

Neuillv, 164 

Nicolas, £., 359 

Niepce, Joseph-Nicephore, 349 

Nieuwerkerke, Comte de, 56, 328 

Nodier, Charles, 142 

Noel, Eugene, 209 

Nogent, 46 

Normandy, 19, 58-59, 74, 1 14, 209, 215, 217, 228, 

236, 273-77, 284, 288, 290, 296, 336, 354, 357, 


Offenbach, Jacques, 109, 114 
Orleans, 353 
Osny, 164, 182,241,248 
Owen, Robert, 244 

Painter, George D., 211,280 

Palmer, Berthe Honore, 343 

Palmer, Potter, 343 

Pans, 19-20, 27-29, 33, 38-48, 56, 70, 79-86, 
98, 102, 109-16, 118, 122, 126, 128, 130, 137- 
43, 146, 158, 164, 168, 172, 175-78, 182, 184, 
190, 200, 204, 208-14, 217, 224, 228, 230, 242, 
244, 256, 260, 273-75, 280, 299-300, 302-4, 
312, 325-26, 328-29, 331-33, 336-44, 351- 

Pays de Caux, 284 

Pellerin, Auguste, 236 

Percier, Charles, 213 

Perry, Lilla Cabot, 342 

Personnaz, Antonin, 361 

Petiot-Groffier, Fortune-Joseph, 351 

Petit-Gennevilliers, 146, 154, 230 

Piette, Ludovic, 243, 252 

Fillet- Will, , 326 

Pissarro, Camille, 17-18, 21-23, 28, 32, 34-36, 
38-41, 43, 47, 49, 55, 57, 79-82, 85-86, 88, 90, 
94,98, 102, 104, 110-14, 116, 126, 128, 130, 
132, 140-42, 145-46, 164, 172, 175, 177-84, 
190, 200, 204, 207, 21 1, 215, 220, 228, 241, 243- 
48, 252, 256, 260, 262, 276, 284, 304-6, 326- 

Pissarro, Lucien, 128, 130, 132, 260, 305, 334 

Poissy, 284, 288 

Poiteau, Alexandre, 208 

Poitou, 74 

Pomie-Layrargues, M. , 66 

Pont-Ayen, 182, 204, 300-1, 303, 308, 312, 318 

Pontillon, Edma, 118 

Pontoise, 34-35, 44, 47, 80, 84, 90, 94, 140-41, 
164, 175-82, 183-84, 190, 194, 200, 204, 207, 
21 1, 228, 244, 246-48, 252, 330, 336, 341 

Port-en-Bessin, 277, 290 

Port-Marly, 79, 85, 102, 104, 172 

Portrieux, 290 

Potement, A. M. [pseud. AP Martial], 330 

Pourville, 276, 284, 288, 290 

Poussin, Nicolas, 38, 247, 308 

Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph, 48 

Proust, Marcel, 212-13, 215-16, 280 

Provence, 22, 184, 256, 260, 273, 300, 302, 344 

Puvis de Chavannes, Pierre, 130 

Puyo, Constant, 361 

Quatremere de Quincy, Antoinc-Chrysostome, 55 
Quimper, 158, 353 
Qumet, Achille, 359-60 

Redon, Odilon, 330 

Regnault, Victor, 357-58 

Re^hard, Hans Ottokar, 40-41 

Reid, Alexander, 343 

Reidemeister, Leopold, 130 

Renan, Ernest, 27, 29 

Renoir, Jean, 1 15 

Renoir, Pierre- Auguste, 17, 34, 57-58, 79-81, 83- 
86,88,90,94,98, 104, 111-13, 130, 146, 154, 
158, 175, 21 1, 213, 224, 228, 230, 246, 256, 276- 
77, 288, 290, 301, 325-26, 328-40, 343- 
44, 360 

Rhodes, Albert, 146 

Riviere, Georges, 126 

Robert, Hubert, 207, 211 

Robert, Louis, 357-58 

Roger, Annette, 342 

Rood, Ogden, 290 

Rothschild, Baron de, 211 

Rouart, Henri, 331,335 

Rouen, 20, 40-41, 116, 128, 132, 143, 215, 335 

Rousseau, Jean, 145 

Rousseau, Theodore, 35, 37, 56, 70, 74, 80, 140, 

Rousset, lldefonse, 360 

Rueil, 158,211 

Ruisdael, Jacob van, 137, 158, 248, 279 

Ruskin,John, 168,352 

Ruysdael, Salomon van, 137, 158 

Rysselberghe, Theo van, 304 

Saint-Briac, 312 

Saint-Brieuc, 290 

Samt-Clair, 304, 318 

Saint-Cloud,46, 74, 252 

Saint-Denis, 256 

Sainte-Adresse, 58, 66, 217, 312, 337 

Saint-Etienne, 33 

Saint-Germain-en-Laye, ii, 45, 79, 81, 85, 138, 158 

Saint-Mammes, 241 

Saint-Marcel, Edme, 28 

Saint-Michel, 79 

Saint-Ouen-l'Aumone, 164, 176, 247 

Saint-Remy-de-Provence, 236, 303 

Saint-Sauveur, 66 

Saint-Tropez, 277, 304 

Sand, George, iee Dudevant, A.-A.-L. 

Sannois, 248 

Sardou, Victoricn, 42, 81-82, 84, 94, 98 

Sassenage, 351 

Say, Leon, 139 

Sceaux, 158, 164 

Scholderer, Otto, 113 

Schopfcr, Jean, 1 16 

Schuffenecker, Emile, 301 

See, , 353 

Seine River, 20-21, 28, 40-42, 55, 79, 84, 86-87, 
90,94, 102, 104, 109-11, 116, 118, 130, 132, 
140, 146, 154, 164, 168, 172, 175-76, 178, 183, 
204, 207, 230, 353-54, 360-61 

Sensier, Alfred, 102 

Serusier, Paul, 300-1 

Sete, 359 

Seurat, Georges, 23, 62, 247, 256, 260, 277, 284, 
290, 300, 302, 304, 334 

Sevres, 78-80, 164, 21 1, 252, 358 

Sheeler, Charles, 353 

Sickert, Henry, 343 

Sigaux, Gilbert, 40 

Signac, Paul, 22-23, 168, 172, 277, 290, 296, 

Silvestre, Armand, 113, 332-33, 338 

Sislev, Alfred, 17, 22-23, 28, 34-35, 40, 57-58, 
74180-81,85-86,94,98, 102, 104, 111, 113, 
143, 146, 154, 164, 168, 172, 175, 183-84, 200, 
211, 241, 246, 248, 252, 256, 276, 327-29, 331- 
39, 344, 360 

Spaulding, John X, 200 

Spencer, Albert, 341 

Steichen, Edward, 353 

Steinlen, Theophile, 116 

Stendhal, see Beyle, M. H. 

Strand, Paul, 353 

Strolin, Alfred, 190 

Studd, Arthur, 343 

Sutton, James R, 340-41 

Tanguy, Julian (pere), 335-36, 344 

Tavlor, Isadore, 142 

Thore, E.-J.-T. [pseud. W. Burger], 329 

Thorc, Theophile, 37 

Tissandier, Gustav, 242 

Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri, 116, 230 

Tournadon, Felix [pseud. Nadar], 280, 331 

Toussaint, Helene, 290 

Trois-Moulin, 200 

Trouville, 58, 74, 158, 228, 273, 275-76, 280, 312 

Troyon, Constant, 56, 312 

Tschudi, Hugo von, 344 

Tuckerman, Henry, 341 —42 

Turner, J.M.W., 41 

Unvvin, Fisher, 343 

Vacquerie, Auguste, 35 1 

Valenciennes, Pierre-Henri de, 38, 53-54, 246 

Valhcrmay, 177, 182, 200, 204 

Van der Neer, Aert, 66 

Van Gogh, Theo, 230, 234, 303 

Van Gogh, Vincent, 23, 1 13, 190, 230, 236, 247, 

256, 260, 262, 300, 304, 312, 335-36, 343 
VanGoyen,Jan, 158,279 
Van Looy, Henri, 209 
Van Sandrart, Joachim, 344 


Var, 304, 318 

Varengeville, 276, 284 

Vaublanc, Comte de, 55 

Vaugirard, 204 

Vaux-le-Vicomte, 204 

Veneux-Nadon, 168 

Vernon, 20, 168 

Verrieres-le-Buisson, 164 

Versailles, 32, 45, 85, 90, 104, 164, 211 

Vetheuil, 20, 168, 211, 220, 284 

Viau, Georges, 190 

Vidal de la Blache, Paul, 28 

Vigier, Joseph, 351 — 53 

Vignon, Victor, 179, 190, 204 

ViUe-d'Avray, 79-80, 88, 164 

Villers, 228 

Villiers-de-Lisle-Adam, 179 

Vilmorin, 215 

Vincennes, 146 

Viollet-le-Duc, Eugene-Emmanuel, 142, 352 
Visconti, Ludovico, 112 

Vogel, , 357 

Voisms, 79-80, 94, 98, 102 
Vollard, Ambroise, 312 
Vose, S. H., 340 
Vuillard, Edouard, 116,224 

Wagner, Richard, 212 
Watteau, Antoine, 207, 215 
Weir, J. Alden, 340 
Wev, Francis, 85, 351 
Whistler, J. A.M., 290, 301, 343 

Yerres, 212 

Zola, Emile, 35,46, 48-49, 56, 110-11, 113-16, 
122, 126, 141, 145, 154, 181,212-13,224,228, 



Trustees and Supervisors 

County of Los Angeles 

Board of Supervisors, 1984 

Deane Dana 

Michael D. Antonovich 

Edmund D. Edelman 

Kenneth Hahn 

Peter E Schaharum 

Harry L. Hufford 

Chief Administrative Officer 

and Director of Personnel 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 

Board of Trustees, Fiscal 1983-84 

Mrs. F. Daniel Frost 

Julian Ganz, Jr. 

Norman Barker, Jr. 

Eric Lidow 

Charles E. Ducommun 

Mrs. Harry Wetzel 

Donald Spuehler 

Honorary Life Trustees 
Mrs. Freeman Gates 
Mrs. Alice Heeramaneck 
Joseph B. Koepfli 
Mrs. Rudolf Liebig 
Mrs. Lucille Ellis Simon 
John Walker 
Mrs. Herman Weiner 

Mrs. Howard Ahmanson 
William H. Ahmanson 
Howard P. Allen 
Robert O. Anderson 
Mrs. Anna Bing Arnold 
R. Stanton Avery 
Daniel N. Belin 
Mrs. Lionel Bell 
B. Gerald Cantor 
Edward W. Carter 
Hans Cohn 
Joseph P. Downer 
Richard J. Flamson III 
Arthur Gilbert 

Stanley Grinstein 
Dr. Armand Hammer 
Felix Juda 

Mrs. Howard B. Keck 
Mrs. Dwight M. Kendall 
Robert F. Maguire III 
Mrs. David H. Murdock 
Dr. Franklin D. Murphy 
Mrs. Edwin W. Pauley 
Sidney R. Petersen 
Henry C. Rogers 
Richard E. Sherwood 
Nathan Smooke 
Ray Stark 

Mrs. John Van de Kamp 
Hal B. Wallis 
Frederick R. Weisman 
Dn Charles Z. Wilson, Jr 
Robert Wilson 

Earl A. Powell III 

Photo Credits/Color Plates 

All color photographs are reproduced courtesy of the 
lenders with the following exceptions: nos. 15, 24, 45, 
64, 95 (courtesy Melville McLean, Fine Arts Photography, 
Chicago), no. 28 (courtesy Photographic Services Dept., 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art); no. 46 (courtesy Nathan 
Rabin, Fine Arts Photography, New York); and nos. 1 16 
and 118 (courtesy Eric E. Mitchell). 


Harry N. Abrams, Inc., takes great pleasure in present- 
ing reprints of backlist favorites designed to sell at pop- 
ular prices. Published under the Abradale imprint, 
these books are produced to the same high standards of 
quality for which Abrams is celebrated. Abradale edi- 
tions, though priced to reach a wide audience, contain 
all of the text and illustrations of the original works, as 
well as many of the special features that distinguish 
Abrams books. 

Some Other Abradale Books 


A Biography 

By John Rewald 

170 illustrations, including 118 in full color 


By Robert Gordon and Andrew Forge 

365 illustrations, including 125 in full color 


By John Russell; Foreword by Rosamond Bernier 
310 illustrations, including 85 in full color 


His Life, Art, and Letters 

By Barbara Ehrlich White 

391 illustrations, including 125 in full color 

Vincent van Gogh 
Genius and Disaster 

By A. M. Hammacher 

135 illustrations, including 50 in full color 

NEW YORK, N.Y. 10011 

Printed in japan 

"[A Day in the Country] has two strong points. The first, of course, is 
the well-known and well-loved beauty of the paintings themselves. The 

second and less familiar aspect of this book comes from the text 

Going beyond the sun-drenched vistas captured on canvas, the book 

shows the aesthetic principles that inspired the Impressionists This 

well-produced study transcends visual satisfaction to lend a strong in- 
tellectual backbone to Impressionism." —Booklist 

"Impressionism was a healing art which accepted the modern world 
easily and gracefully Familiar paintings take on a new mean- 
ing when viewed in this context, and along with works by Pissarro, 
Gauguin, and Manet there are paintings here by Morisot, Boudin, and 
Caillebotte. The superb color plates and wonderful choice of work 
make this stunning volume both delightful and rewarding." 

—Publishers Weekly 

ISBN D-flim-fiDT7-S 

9 78081 0"980976