National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Fence Camille Pissarro (artist)
French, 1830 - 1903
The Fence, 1872
oil on canvas
overall: 37.8 x 45.7 cm (14 7/8 x 18 in.) framed: 54.3 x 63.2 x 5 cm (21 3/8 x 24 7/8 x 1 15/16 in.)
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
On View
From the Tour: The Beginnings of Impressionist Landscape
Object 7 of 7

Pissarro, who was committed to socialist principles, identified strongly with the land and with the peasant farmers who worked it. He moved with his family from Paris in the 1860s to a number of small villages like Louveciennes. While many of his fellow impressionists chose subjects from modern life and leisure, sophisticated even if their settings were in the countryside, Pissarro preferred scenes of an older, more rural way of life like this garden fence and the small figures who pause in their work. Some contemporaries criticized Pissarro for his unadorned rusticity. About Orchard in Bloom, Louveciennes one wrote, "He has a deplorable predilection for market-gardens and does not hesitate to paint cabbages."

It was in the early 1870s that Pissarro made his most purely impressionist pictures, painted, as this one probably was, in a single session on the spot. The paint here is quickly applied, thick in some areas, much thinner in others. We can see, in the trees, for example, where one brushstroke has been pulled through an earlier one that still lay wet on the canvas.

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