Pissarro masterpiece from the years that defined Impressionism
on offer at Bonhams New York

NEW YORK — Bonhams November 5 Impressionist and Modern Art auction will feature a masterpiece by Camille Pissarro, the pivotal Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist master. Le Jardin de Maubuisson, Pontoise, la Mère Bellette is estimated to fetch $1,500,000 to 2,000,000.

The picture dates from 1882, at the end of a 10 year period during which the Impressionists changed the rules of 19th century art. By painting in the open air rather than the studio, they focused on the essentials of light and colour, breaking the stranglehold of the conservative establishment and showing the way for artists into the 20th century. The sparkling light and vivid colours of Le Jardin de Maubuisson, Pontoise, la Mère Bellette show Pissarro at the height of his powers. The subject is the market gardens behind Pissarro's house in Pontoise, with his neighbour Madame Bellette working her plot. The painting's candid and natural imagery is characteristic of the Impressionist's emphasis on scenes from real-life.

Pissarro was regarded as the dean of the Impressionist movement, the only artist to exhibit at all eight Impressionist exhibitions between 1874 and 1886 and a guiding figure for the younger artists. Cézanne called him "a man worth consulting, and something like God Himself," while Monet compared him to Moses. Both artists, almost ten years Pissarro's junior, considered him a mentor. They sought his advice more than ever during the 10 years he lived in the small town of Pontoise, north-west of Paris, between 1872 and 1882. Cézanne lived in the town regularly during this period, working side by side with Pissarro, and was probably staying there when the Le Jardin de Maubuisson, Pontoise, la Mère Bellette was painted. Gauguin was also a regular visitor, while Dr Gachet, van Gogh's great patron, lived nearby.

The picture was formerly in the collections of noted connoisseur Alfred Bergaud and French Prime Minister Fernand Bouisson before being exhibited by the Wildenstein Gallery in New York in 1947 where it was purchased by the family of the current owner.

Tanya Wells, Bonhams Impressionist & Modern Art Specialist, commented, "Pissarro was the leading Impressionist, and this picture hails from the movement's most heralded years. It's an important opportunity for collectors."

Pissarro's Le Jardin de Maubuisson, Pontoise, la Mère Bellette will be offered in Bonhams Impressionist and Modern Art auction on November 5 in New York. The auction will preview at Bonhams November 1-5.

A fully illustrated catalogue will be available at www.bonhams.com/auctions/21019


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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