Pissarro’s Basket of Pears

Camille Pissarro, French Artist, 1830–1903
Still Life: Pears in a Round Basket, 1872, Oil on Canvas, 45.7 x 55.2 cm, The Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation on loan to the Princeton University Art Museum, USA

They are juicy and sweet, can be tart or buttery, soft, or crunchy, they have been around since the 5th millennium BC, they are my favourite winter fruit! We celebrate them on the 5th of December… during World Pear Day! Lamar Cole’s poemIt always made him feel so refreshed and new. / When he tasted pear juice. / On pears he loved to munch. / He loved the sound of their crunch. / He was happy as could be. / Because on his grandma’s farm. / There were many pear trees… sets the tone! Camille Pissarro’s Basket of Pears invites me to contemplate and Enjoy! https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/pears-3/ and https://nationaldaycalendar.com/world-pear-day-first-weekend-in-december/

Camille Pissarro’s Basket of Pears is a rare treat! An exceptional theme for Camille Pissarro, the Princeton Museum painting surprised me… ever so pleasantly, I may add. It dates from the year after his move to Pontoise, a village north of Paris where, in 1872, joined by Cézanne, who regarded Pissarro as a father figure, the artists, often working side by side outdoors, experimented with the Impressionist techniques pioneered by some of their friends. https://artmuseum.princeton.edu/collections/objects/21437

Camille Pissarro, French Artist, 1830–1903
Self-Portrait, 1873, Oil on Canvas, 55.5×46.0 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France

According to the experts at Sotheby’s… Pissarro lived in Pontoise, a village located northwest of Paris, between 1872 and 1882, finding great inspiration in its landscapes. Pontoise played an integral role in Pissarro’s work, establishing his reputation as an innovative painter of rural scenes, as well as contributing to the emergence of Impressionism. For this reason, his works painted between 1872 and 1873 are often considered his masterpieces, works that would have a long-lasting influence on both his contemporaries and subsequent generations of artists. The 1877 Musée d’Orsay painting of Orchard with Flowering Trees, Spring, Pontoise, is a wonderful example of how Pissarro, during his ten years at Pontoise, developed his style influenced by Gustave Corot, Claude Monet, and William Turner. Painted en plain air, with short, visible brushstrokes, and colorful cast shadows, the Orsay painting of Flowering Trees, I would like to think of them as Pear Trees! exhibits all the characteristics of the Impressionist style, Pissarro is so famous about. https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2021/impressionist-modern-art-day-sale-/lallee-des-vignes-a-pontoise

Camille Pissarro, French Artist, 1830–1903
Orchard with Flowering Trees, Spring, Pontoise, 1877, Oil on Canvas, 65.5×81 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France
Camille Pissarro, French Artist, 1830–1903
Still Life with Apples and Pitcher, 1872, Oil on Canvas, 46.4 x 56.5 cm, the MET, NY, USA

During his sojourn at Pontoise, in 1872 to be exact, Pissarro painted two, very similar Still Lives, I particularly like. Identical in size, Pears in a Round Basket (Princeton University Art Museum), and Still Life with Apples and Pitcher (the MET, New York), stun the viewer with the artist’s clarity of vision, and simplicity of composition. Featuring the same floral-patterned wallpaper in the background, I love its vertical orientation, floral design, and pastel colour scheme, both paintings clearly expressed forms and subtle manipulation of light. The viewer can only wonder… How much were Cezanne’s Still Life paintings influenced by Pissarro? https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/437317

For a PowerPoint on Camille Pissarro’s Basket of Pears, please… Click HERE!

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