top of page
  • Writer's pictureAnn Saul

PISSARRO: Summer Vacation by the Sea

Road to Berneval-le-Petit, the Thiévain House, 1900,

Private collection [PDRS 1337]

In 1900, Pissarro was finally able to take his family to the seaside for a summer vacation at Berneval, a small town just north of Dieppe. While his children swam in the ocean, he painted eight views of the village and surrounding area, capturing the sunny meadows and lush greens of the woods. Though he painted one view of the distant ocean, he stayed away from the beach, probably worried that the sand and wind might irritate his eye problem.[1] This painting was made on a path near the Grand Hotel in Berneval.

Road to Berneval-le-Petit, The Thiévain House evokes summertime memories of hot afternoons, low sunlight creating long shadows on the dusty pathway. It’s hard to tell how many people are in the little group on the road, but they are probably tired after a long afternoon by the sea.

The colors are those of deep summer—lush, dark green foliage, lightened only by streaks of the afternoon sun. The tall trees fill the cloudy sky, allowing only a small peek of blue, which only deepens the darkness of the shadows. In the distance on the left, a vast meadow reflects the golden sunlight. It is on the path, curving its way into the distance, that the sun shines pale yellow complementing the spidery fingers of the violet shadows. It is a scene of contentment, of a long summer day’s end.

When he made this painting, Pissarro had just celebrated his 70th birthday. There was no retirement for this artist who continued to innovate and astonish other artists with his visionary composition, brushstrokes, and materiality. But this painting is almost a sigh of relief and relaxation, a sense of enjoyment of what he loved to do.

[1] From Pissarro: Critical Catalogue of Paintings (2005) Online at:

I am honored that my latest book, Abstract Pissarro, was included in a review by David Carrier for Hyperallergic

Abstract Pissarro is available online at Bookshop, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Visit my website for more information on Pissarro and my books:

7 views0 comments


bottom of page