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Autumn morning at Eragny

Painting, 1897, 54×65 cm
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Description of the artwork «Autumn morning at Eragny»

Camille Pissarro was a Jew and a convinced anarchist, who read revolutionary and philosophical treatises and taught the children inner freedom. He stood up for emancipation and social equality. One day his life and political views took a distinct form, which remained his indestructible inner basis for the rest of his life. He considered capitalism and “the horrors of absurd civilization” – bank speculations and commerce – to be the ultimate evil. Strong, solid, indestructible Pissarro was affected neither by fame nor by money. He bought a house in the village of Eragny and grew there apple trees and vegetables in the garden… and a few flowers in a small flower bed under the window of the house.

One of the critics remarked, “Monsieur Pissarro’s brush is like a spade painfully turning the earth”. Such a derogatory peasant metaphor directed against Pissarro, did the critic great credit, as he was able to find the image, closest to the artist. Having settled in France, Pissarro, this wild, tanned native of the Antilles, became not a metropolitan inhabitant of a bohemian Montmartre, but a peasant, fed by the earth literally – it didn’t let him die of hunger and helped raising children, and at the level of images and motifs – every day generously endowing the artist with summer sun-spots at dawn, a crisp frost, the regular furrows after plowing, autumn leaves and transparent dry herbs in winter. He literally painted everything that was under his feet.

Still, Pissarro was neither simple nor naive, he was referred to as a teacher by Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne, the artists who defined modern art. A self-taught Pissarro, who didn't receive any academic education, willingly taught young artists and often was the only one believing in them. He shared his ideas and experiences, and formulated ideas of impressionism in conversations and letters in a way that it really started to turn into an ideological artistic movement with understandable goals.

“Paint the essential character of things, try to convey it by any means whatsoever, without bothering about technique” – noted Pissarro`s words one of his students, Louis Le Bail. Cézanne, who went to live as a hermit and grasp the essence of the Provencal pine trees, mountains and peasants, learned these lessons best of all.
And Pissarro remained in Eragny until the end of his life, without changing his habits and lifestyle, even in the days, when his paintings were sold to private collections during his personal exhibitions. Pissarro rooted in rural land of Eragny and did not have doubts about the reliability and inexhaustible power of his habitat. The writer Octave Mirbeau once said about the quiet genius of the artist:
“The eye of the artist, like the mind of the thinker, discovers the larger aspects of things, their wholeness and unity. Even when he paints figures in scenes of rustic life, man is always seen in perspective in the vast terrestrial harmony, like a human plant. To describe the drama of the earth and to move our hearts, M. Pissarro does not need violent gestures, complicated arabesques and sinister branches against livid skies.”

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Landscape

Style of art: Impressionism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1897

Size: 54×65 cm

Artwork in selections: 12 selections

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