Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries & Historical Sites

“Boulevard Montmartre at Night” by Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro
“Boulevard Montmartre at Night” by Camille Pissarro

“Boulevard Montmartre at Night” by Camille Pissarro shows the busy Parisian boulevard at night, wet after a downpour. This work gave Pissarro the opportunity to study the effect of the new electric street lamps, aligned in the middle of the street, and the orange glow of the gas lights in the windows. Pissarro tried to represent the different effects of the artificial lights in different colours, both pale and bluish and warm and intense.

Abstract vertical shapes represent the crowds flowing under the trees and past the shops. A series of carriages lined one side of the road, with the lights on, as they wait for the exit of the show’s guests at the Moulin Rouge, located around the corner. The dark sky is misty, and the clouds hang in the air. However, stars in the upper part of the sky, shown as small sketches of white, indicating that the clouds will pass soon.

Pissarro produced a series of this same scene and view in different climatic conditions and at different times of the day. He was staying at the Grand Hôtel de Russie, and he painted this perspective from his window resulting in a series of pictures from the top of Boulevard Montmartre. This painting is the only one in the series depicting a night view.

Camille Pissarro made significant contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Pissarro friendships included many Impressionist artists including Cézanne, Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Degas. He is the only artist to have shown his work at all eight Paris Impressionist exhibitions, from 1874 to 1886. He acted as a father figure not only to the Impressionists but also to the significant Post-Impressionists, including Georges Seurat, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.

Reflections

  • Pissarro painted the Boulevard Montmartre 14 times. Why did many Impressionism artist paint the same scene multiple times?

Exploring Impressionism

Boulevard Montmartre at Night

  • Title:             Boulevard Montmartre at Night
  • Artist:           Camille Pissarro
  • Year:             1898
  • Medium:      Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 55 × 65 cm (21.6 × 25.5 in)
  • Museum:      The National Gallery, London

Camille Pissarro

  • Name:         Jacob Abraham Camille Pissarro
  • Born:           1830 – Saint Thomas, Danish West Indies (now US Virgin Islands)
  • Died:           1903 (aged 73) – Paris, France
  • Nationality: Danish-French
  • Movement: Impressionism, Post-Impressionism
  • Notable works:

~~~

“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand,
as if it were necessary to understand,
when it is simply necessary to love.”

– Claude Monet

~~~


Photo Credit: 1) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons