Vacher dans un pré à Éragny
(Cowherd in a Meadow at Éragny)
by: Camille Pissarro
Vacher dans un pré à Éragny (Cowherd in a Meadow at Éragny), 1890
Signed and dated lower left
Oil on canvas
15” x 18-1/4” unframed
24” x 27” framed
The painting is housed in a museum-quality, gilt, Barbizon-style reproduction frame.
Arsène Alexandre, Paris
(Sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May, 1903)
Traber collection, Hamburg
Goldschmidt & Co., Frankfurt, ca. 1926
Matthiesen Gallery, London
Werner Feuz collection, Bern, Switzerland
Private collection, Switzerland (acq. from above in 1952)
(Sale, Galerie Koller, Zurich, 2003)
Private collection, France
(Sale, Sotheby’s, New York, 2004)
(Chowiaki & Co. Fine Art, New York)
Private collection, London (acq. from the above in 2015)
Guarisco Gallery, Washington, D.C.
Pissarro and Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro: Critical Catalogue of Paintings (Wildenstein Institute, Paris, 2005), vol. 3, p. 579 (no. 881) (color illus.)
PISSARRO IN ERAGNY, 1884–1903
“Without the slightest risk of monotony and without a moment’s lassitude…he created masterpieces from landscapes and agrarian work with a serene joy, whose enchantment surrounded Éragny and flowed out into the streets and courtyards of the village…The colors, the light, the harmony of each canvas, and the grouping and poses of the characters that populate them, make these works highly distinct from all of the others that Pissarro composed of the same landscapes”
Georges Lecomte, Camille Pissarro (1922)
In 1884, after many years of constant upheaval—Paris, Louveciennes, Auvers, Pontoise, London—Camille Pissarro settled in the village of Éragny-sur-Epte in Normandy, where he remained for the rest of his life. The house Pissarro chose offered a much sought-after home base for the artist’s family, including his eight children, as well as uninterrupted views across the fields and meadows that bewitched him. Constantly seeking new ways by which to depict the outdoor landscape, the artist was known to wait for weeks for the ‘perfect’ combination of seasonal light and atmosphere.
Pissarro’s move to Éragny revealed his continued interest in depicting the rustic country life, both in terms of pure landscape and rural activities, and marked his evolving interest in experimenting with different media, including: gouache, pastel, watercolor, etching, and engraving. At the same time, Pissarro continued to follow the basic tenets of Impressionism, particularly the interest in the effects of light as the result of changing weather, but also began to explore the contrast between complementary colors and the emerging theories of optics and optical mixing being developed by Georges Seurat and the Neo-Impressionists.
Camille Pissarro never tired of depicting the views from the window of his studio or his house. The artist discovered something new with each sitting: the effect of a sunset, a morning frost, or a thick fog enveloping the landscape. Season after season and year after year, the artist was committed to his work, developing and expanding his modes of representation. Éragny was more than just a village for the artist during the last twenty years of his life; it was the place in which he spent the most time in his life, surrounded by his family, without ever exhausting its artistic potential. He thrived in the natural environment of Normandy and Éragny and visually captured all of its subjects with a passion like never before in his career.
 Pissarro bought the much-loved property in 1892 with a loan from Claude Monet, who lived in nearby Giverny.