Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)
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Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)

Lisière de bois

Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)
Lisière de bois
signed and dated 'C. Pissarro 1878' (lower right)
oil on canvas
24¾ x 32¾ in. (63 x 83.2 cm.)
Painted in 1878
Gustave Caillebotte, Paris, by 1879, by whom bequeathed to the French State in 1894; bequest refused in 1896.
By descent from the above to the present owner.
L.-R. Pissarro & L. Venturi, Camille Pissarro: son art - son oeuvre, vol. I, Paris, 1939, no. 455, p. 145 (illustrated vol. II, pl. 90, titled 'Lisière d'un bois').
L.-R. Pissarro & L. Venturi, Camille Pissarro: son art - son oeuvre, vol. I, San Francisco, 1989, no. 455, p. 145 (illustrated vol. II, pl. 90, titled 'Lisière d'un bois').
Exh. cat., Gustave Caillebotte: Urban Impressionist, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, September 1994 - January 1995 (illustrated p. 333, in the artist's estate inventory).
R. Berson, The New Painting: Impressionism (1874-1886), vol. II, San Francisco, 1996, no. IV-168 or IV-173.
J. Pissarro & C. Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro: catalogue critique des peintures, vol. II, Paris, 2005, no. 564 (illustrated p. 384).
Paris, 28, Avenue de l'Opéra, Quatrième Exposition de peintures impressionnistes, April - May 1879, no. 184.
Böblingen, Städtische Galerie, Entre ciel et terre: Camille Pissarro et les peintres de la vallée de l'Oise, September - November 2003, no. 14; this exhibition later travelled to Pontoise, Musée Tavet-Delacour, November 2003 - January 2004; Tokyo, Mitsukoshi Gallery, February 2004, no. 4; Hiroshima, Onomichi Municipal Museum, March - April 2004, no. 4 and Shizuoka, Hamamatsu Municipal Museum of Art, April - June 2004, no. 4.
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Painted in 1878, Lisière de bois is an historic landscape by Camille Pissarro that was owned by his friend and fellow Impressionist, Gustave Caillebotte, and was lent by him to the seminal Fourth Impressionist Exhibition. The landscape is filled with all the characteristics of a great Impressionist painting. Pissarro has perfectly captured the effects of light, the clouds and the greenery, making it more than evident why he considered this work suitable for the exhibition whose organisation he and Caillebotte largely oversaw. This was one of seven paintings by Pissarro that Caillebotte loaned to the exhibition; Pissarro in fact showed more paintings than any of his colleagues, and likewise received much of the acclaim.

In publicising the exhibition, the Impressionists (not including Cézanne, Renoir and Sisley, all of whom refused to participate) decided not to use that term in their advertisements, but instead referred to it simply as the Quatrième Exposition de peinture. It was held in a large apartment at 28, Avenue de l'Opéra, and was visited by an astounding number of visitors-- over 15,000-- receiving widespread recognition and acclaim in a way that had never been granted to the movement previously. Lisière de bois, then, was a witness to the historic dawn of public acceptance of the Impressionists both on that occasion and, on the death of Caillebotte, through his legendary bequest. The pictures that he had owned, he left to the State, resulting in prolonged and difficult negotiations before a mere 38 of the 67 submitted pictures were accepted; when they were initially shown to the public, according to Caillebotte's wishes, they provoked outrage, yet now form the core of the celebrated collection at the Musée d'Orsay. It was Caillebotte's bequest, and indeed the debate that led to its acceptance, that truly marked the acceptance of the Impressionists by at least a part of the establishment. Following its rejection by the State, Lisière de bois was returned to Caillebotte's family, remaining in their hands to this day.