Pontoise in the Snow as Pissarro Saw It
Rue de Gisors, Effect of Snow, Pontoise, 1873
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA PDR* 284
The overnight snowfall was still evident as Pissarro set up his easel on the side of the road. Just to the right of the two-wheeled cart, we can easily see the corner of the street where Pissarro lived.
The people of the village are busy with their daily errands as a woman sweeps snow off the sidewalk. Pissarro gives us an accurate sense of the gentle downward slope of the road with the decreasing levels of the rooftops. Even though the dominant colors of the painting are warm pinks and mauves, the cold crispness of the air suggested by the white snow on the roofs is intense.
This scene has hardly changed at all since Pissarro painted it. The pink building now has three stories, but the smaller buildings on that side are still the same and the tall angled roof is still there although it does not seem nearly as high as he portrayed it.
This painting is one of 30 featured in the upcoming book,
*PDR refers to the number assigned to this painting in Pissarro:Critical Catalogue by Joachim Pissarro and Claire Durand-Ruel Shollaerts (2005).