Camille Pissarro (1830–1903) was the only painter to exhibit in all eight Impressionist exhibitions organized between 1874 and 1886. After he had moved to the village of Eragny-sur-Epte in northern France in 1884, however, Pissarro began to feel that his experiments in Impressionism were exhausted. Two years later, he started enthusiastically to paint in the new manner, variously described as Divisionism, Pointillism or Neo-Impressionism. This view from the window of his house at Eragny was first shown at the twelfth and last Impressionist exhibition in 1886, but clearly Pissarro was dissatisfied, and he reworked the picture and dated it two years later, in 1888. The high viewpoint affords a certain detachment, appropriate to the new technique, as do the strong geometrical shapes in the foreground, and the rigid lines of the boundaries of fields and the horizon beyond. To the left is the poultry yard, with the maid feeding the chickens; on the right is the kitchen garden, where Mme Pissaro grew vegetables and flowers. On the extreme left is the edge of the barn, which was later converted into a studio.
The technique is not strictly Pointillist, for Pissarro used a much broader brush stroke. He used this modified form of Pointillism for only a few years, partly because it was so time-consuming – and therefore expensive – and partly because he was not convinced that it was truly compatible with the sensation, the true feeling of Impressionism. By 1890 he had resumed the more freely painted Impressionist style that was to remain his norm for the rest of his career.
Oil on canvas
65 x 81 cm