Grab your scarf and mittens because today on Museum Quick Bites we’re going for a stroll in the winter sun. Lucien Pissarro’s, La Rue Saint-Vincent, Soleil d’Hiver (St. Vincent Street, Winter Sun; 1890) captures a peaceful scene along a quiet street.
St. Vincent Street, Winter Sun (1890) by Lucien Pissarro, Flint Institute of Arts, Photo by cjverb (2018)
Two figures, cast in shadow, walk down the center of an empty lane. Since it’s the late 1800s, there are no pesky cars to deal with. Notice the woman’s bright red scarf and blue apron, and the man’s striped jacket and jaunty hat. Is he clutching a lunch pail in his right hand? Their clothing suggests they are working class, but it is unclear if this is their morning or evening commute.
St. Vincent Street, Winter Sun (close up figures; 1890) by Lucien Pissarro, Flint Institute of Arts, Photo by cjverb (2018)
Despite its simplicity, this painting is filled with delightful details. Moving clockwise, zoom in and check out the contrast of light and shadow on the street wall, bright green shutters, multi-spouted chimneys, a lone skylight nestled among the roof tiles, a gutter snaking down a back wall, and the faded advertisement painted on a stone building.
St. Vincent Street, Winter Sun (close ups; 1890) by Lucien Pissarro, Flint Institute of Arts, Photo by cjverb (2018)
Although there is a chill in the air, Pissarro’s, La Rue has a homey vibe and is a delightful glimpse of everyday life in late 19th century France. I wonder if La Rue is the view from Pissarro’s studio window.
Portrait of Lucien Pissarro (c1875) by Camille Pissarro, Ashmolean Museum, WikiArt
Lucien Pissarro (1863-1944) was born in Paris, the eldest son of Julie Vellay and Camille Pissarro, the Father of Impressionism. At age 7, Lucien and his family fled to London to escape the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). However, when the conflict was over, they returned to France, but Prussian soldiers had destroyed their home along with many of Camille’s paintings.
Left: Interior of the Studio (1887) by Lucien Pissarro, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Photo by Sailko, Wikimedia Commons
Right: At the Café Concert (1888) by Lucien Pissarro, Wikimedia Commons
Camille taught Lucien and his siblings how to paint and they often socialized with their father’s fellow artists, including Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, and Vincent van Gogh, to name a few. At age 21, Lucien took a job illustrating children’s books. He also continued to paint and two years later exhibited his work at the eighth and final Impressionist Exhibition in Paris.
Left: Les Crocus (1891) by Lucien Pissarro, Wikimedia Commons
Upper Right: Pastoral Scene (colored wood engraving; 1901) by Lucien Pissarro, Wikimedia Commons
Lower Right: Lucien Pissarro’s House Stamford Brook by Chiswick Chap, Wikimedia Commons
In 1890, the same year he painted La Rue, Lucien moved to England. He married artist Esther Bensusan (1870-1951) and the couple opened Eragny Press. This exclusive book publishing company produced limited editions and Pissarro’s woodcut illustrations. Lucien and Esther had to carve by hand, the wood blocks used to print their artwork. After 10 years, the Pissarro’s decided to close up shop.
Fun Arty Fact: Eragny Press was named after the village, Éragny-sur-Epte, Camille Pissarro moved to in 1884. Located in Normandy, many scenes from this idyllic town are featured in Camille Pissarro’s paintings.
View from My Window, Éragny-sur-Epte (1888) by Camille Pissarro, Ashmolean Museum, Wikimedia Commons
Throughout his career Lucien championed Impressionism, especially during his time in the United Kingdom. He corresponded regularly with his father and their letters provide a rich history of their lives and the Impressionist movement. In addition to his illustrations, Lucien is known for his landscape paintings, as well as a few family portraits. If you’d like to see more of his work, click on this Lucien Pissarro link, courtesy of ArtNet. If you’d like to see a demonstration of woodcut printmaking, click on this Woodcut Printmaking link, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And finally…if you’d like to learn more about the Impressionist movement, click on this Museum Bites: Coloring Outside the Lines link.
That concludes our walk in the winter sun. I’ll be back next week with more Museum Quick Bites. Until then, be safe, be kind and take care 🙂
Cover photo by edmondlafoto, courtesy of Pixabay.