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  • Writer's pictureAnn Saul



The Fish Market, Dieppe, Overcast Sky, Morning, 1902 Dallas Museum of Art, PDRS 1441

This extraordinary painting was made on Pissarro’s final trip to Dieppe in 1902. He rented an upstairs room by the harbor where he made twenty-one paintings during his late summer stay of almost seven weeks. His son Georges noted, “. . . the port with the hustle and bustle of the crowd and the boats departing and arriving, the trails of smoke, and so forth and so on.”[1] Pissarro must have been working at the crack of dawn to capture the fishing boats unloading their catch directly to the street market below his window.

crop detail

Many of Pissarro’s paintings have no dominant focal point, but this one does—just a little left of center. It is a mélange of dark sails, masts, steamboat stacks, and gray smoke that blends in with the clouds overhead. A road curves around from the left and beneath it, separating it from the crowded fish market below. To the right, the glistening green harbor and the prow of a steamship complete a frame around the boats. His quick brushstrokes depict the smoke and the crowds of people.

This painting was part of the personal collection of Margaret and Eugene McDermott of Dallas. Eugene McDermott, who died in 1973, was a co-founder of Texas Instruments, a philanthropist and Board Member of the Dallas Museum of Art. Mrs. McDermott, who died in May of this year at the age of 106, was a trustee of the museum and donated more than 3,100 works of art from different cultures, disciplines, and eras. Now their personal collection has been donated to the Dallas Museum of Art.[2]

The museum’s wall label reveals the importance of this painting to the McDermott’s. “This painting was one of Eugene McDermott’s favorites. It was moved into the bedroom to lift his spirits during his illness, and remained there throughout Margaret’s lifetime.”

[1] Pissarro: Critical Catalogue of Paintings, Pissarro and Durand-Ruel Snollaerts (2005), 880.

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