He who knows how to appreciate colour relationships, the influence of one colour on another, their contrasts and dissonances, is promised an infinitely diverse imagery.
- Sonia Delaunay
Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.
- Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.
 

 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pissarro’s views of the boulevard Montmartre

Posted by Charley Parker at 8:16 am

Camille Pissarro, views of the boulevard Montmartre
After painting in the French countryside for several years in the late 1800′s, French Impressionist Camille Pissarro took up residence at the Grande Hotel de Russie in the Montmartre section of Paris.

Durning his three month stay there from February through April, he produced a number of canvasses of views of the grand boulevards visible from his room, two of the boulevard Italiens, and fourteen of the boulevard Montmartre, of which he evidently had a better vantage point.

He portrayed the boulevard Montmartre in sun, mist and rain, in night and day, quiet and bustling with activity, including a parade.

This was in some ways similar to Monet’s multiple canvasses of subjects like the haystacks and, famously, the Rouen Cathedral — studies of the same subject in different light, seasons and atmospheric conditions. In other ways Pissarro’s paintings of the grand boulevards were more a study of the passage of life in the streets of Paris below him.

You can find most of the views of the Boulevards on this page on The Athenaeum (scroll down) and view the painting at top in detail on the site of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (click “Fullscreen” and zoom or download).

9 comments for Pissarro’s views of the boulevard Montmartre »

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  1. Comment by ceparie
    Sunday, July 8, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

    I long so for a view worth painting…

  2. Comment by Charley Parker
    Sunday, July 8, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

    If you look through a large number of paintings by Monet, Pissarro, Sisley or many others who painted directly from life (the Athenaeum site is good for that), you’ll find that many of their subjects are not dramatic or exceptional in themselves, but in fact quite commonplace. They painted streets, houses, gardens, trees, fields, streams and people. It was how they saw and interpreted the ordinary that was extraordinary.

  3. Comment by Sarah Lynch
    Sunday, July 8, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

    These are wonderful! I have never seen them all lined up like this before. Truly inspiring. I agree that it is frustrating sometimes, trying to find inspiration in apparently mundane surroundings but we can only work with what we are given. Thank you.

  4. Comment by David J. Teter
    Tuesday, July 10, 2012 @ 2:25 am

    I used Google Maps to look up the site. That was a lot of fun. Of course it’s been over a hundred years but it could be parts are still there.
    Note: The hotel is not there (by name) so I looked up the section of Paris and found it by the two streets.
    It helps to have up on the screen the two boulevard Italiens, with one being a morning painting, then use Google north indicator to figure it out by the direction of shadows.

  5. Comment by Charley Parker
    Tuesday, July 10, 2012 @ 7:58 am

    Fun. Here’s the location I came up with: http://goo.gl/maps/23ju

  6. Comment by David J. Teter
    Tuesday, July 10, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

    Yes, that is the view (of boulevard Montmarte) I came up with.
    The trees make it tough to see the buildings of course.

    Based on the oblique view of the boulevard Italiens I think one of these buildings (formerly the Grande Hotel de Russie?) could be where they were painted from.

    http://goo.gl/maps/XIco

  7. Comment by Charley Parker
    Tuesday, July 10, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

    I think it’s this one: http://goo.gl/maps/e4MU My guess is that he had one of the corner rooms. There’s probably historic info on this somewhere, but it’s fun playing art detective.

  8. Comment by David J. Teter
    Wednesday, July 11, 2012 @ 1:18 am

    Yes, one of the two I thought it may be. I think you’re right, he would want corner room for painting.

    Maybe one of your French readers could go there and find out… ?
    Shoot some photos from the upper level room, same views as paintings.

    This could be the seed for the next generation Google Art Project…
    “Google Art Detective”

    Tech Fun.

  9. Comment by suzi marquess long
    Saturday, November 24, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

    I have a great view of Mendocino Bay that I have photographed about 100 times in the past 6.5 years. This series by Pisarro has inspired me to set my view in pastels! stay tuned!!!

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