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  • Writer's pictureAnn Saul

PISSARRO AND SPRINGTIME IN PONTOISE


Factor on the Banks of the Oise 1873 Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown (MA) PDR 300

Factory on the Banks of the Oise 1873 Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown (MA) PDR 300


This painting is one of Pissarro’s most famous and well-loved paintings. Fortunately, it lives at the wonderful Clark Art Institute and can be seen by the public. If you go to Paris, take the train to Pontoise and visit the Musée Pissarro. The following blog is taken from my book PISSARRO’S PLACES (pissarrosplaces.com).

One warm spring day, Pissarro took his easel to the banks of the Oise river and made a painting that is archetypical of the Impressionist style: the lavish portrayal of sunlight, the consciousness of the changing weather as gray clouds fill the intense blue sky, the presence of modernity in the new factories lining the banks of the Oise River; and the immediacy of the scene that bespeaks en plein air painting.

The painting itself has a classic composition divided almost equally between the sky and the earth, with the river dwindling away on the right side. The water, still as a mirror, reflects the smokestacks and buildings on the other side and connects them with the freshness of the spring flowers in the right foreground. The factory, a distillery, had just been completed in 1872.


One of the old factories still standing on the banks of the Oise.

One of the old factories still standing on the banks of the Oise.


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