Steamboats in the Port of Rouen

Camille Pissarro (French, Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas 1830–1903 Paris)

Oil on canvas
18 x 21 1/2 in. (45.7 x 54.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Arthur J. Neumark, 1958
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    On January 20, 1896, when Pissarro arrived for his second extended stay in Rouen, he was already enraptured by "the beautiful motifs of the quays, which will make famous paintings." This is one of several views of the busy port that he painted from the window of his room at the Hôtel de Paris. Across the river in the background may be seen the wharves and warehouses of the working-class Saint-Sever district.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): C.Pissarro. 96

  • Provenance

    [Georges Petit, Paris, until 1933; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, December 15, 1933, no. 103, as "Les fumées dans le port de Rouen," for Fr. 16,000, to Deville]; Deville (in 1933); Alphonse Bellier, Paris (by 1939–51; sold January 1951 to Salz); [Sam Salz, New York, 1951; sold February 1951 to Neumark]; Arthur J. Neumark, New York (1951–58; life interest, 1958–d. 1966)

  • Exhibition History

    Paris. Galerie de l'Élysée. "C. Pissarro: Tableaux, pastels, dessins," April 24–May 8, 1936, no. 14 [see Snollaerts 2005].

    Bellingham, Wash. Whatcom Museum of History and Art. "5000 Years of Art: An Exhibition from the Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," December 4, 1976–October 2, 1977, no. 67.

    Yokohama Museum of Art. "Treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: French Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century," March 25–June 4, 1989, no. 86.

    Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen. "A City for Impressionism: Monet, Pissarro, and Gauguin in Rouen," June 4–September 26, 2010, no. 80 (as "The Seine at Rouen, Saint-Sever, Smoke").

  • References

    Ludovic Rodo Pissarro and Lionello Venturi. Camille Pissarro, son art—son œuvre. reprint ed. 1989. Paris, 1939, vol. 1, p. 214, no. 958; vol. 2, pl. 194, no. 958.

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX–XX Centuries." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 3, New York, 1967, p. 20, ill., note that it belongs to a series made in the fall of 1896 in Rouen when Pissarro was interested in studying one subject under changing conditions of weather and light, and that many were painted from his room at the Hôtel d'Angleterre on the Cours Boïeldieu.

    Christopher Lloyd in Retrospective Camille Pissarro. Exh. cat., Isetan Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 1984, p. 137, under no. 54, identifies the scene as a view of the warehouses along the Quai de Salle, looking upriver away from the Pont Boieldieu, and lists other paintings from 1896 with the same view (PV 946, 957, 959–60, 965, 967–69).

    Richard R. Brettell and Joachim Pissarro. The Impressionist and the City: Pissarro's Series Paintings. Exh. cat., Dallas Museum of Art. New Haven, 1992, pp. 4, 27, 209, no. 18, ill. (color), state that it was painted between January 21 and March 30, 1896; describe the work as depicting the Quai du Havre in the foreground, overlooking the left bank and the Quartier Saint-Sever, with the cropped building on the left being the docks; note that smoke and steam partly conceal the activity and that it is overcast.

    Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts in Joachim Pissarro and Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts. Pissarro: Critical Catalogue of Paintings. Milan, 2005, vol. 1, pp. 380, 403, 412; vol. 3, pp. 708–9, 955, 958, no. 1123, ill. (color), calls it "The Seine at Rouen, Saint-Sever, Smoke;" dates it to Pissarro's second stay in Rouen, from January 20 to March 30, 1896.

    Marie-Claude Coudert in A City for Impressionism: Monet, Pissarro, and Gauguin in Rouen. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen. Paris, 2010, pp. 292, 302–3, no. 80, ill. (color).

  • Notes

    This work belongs to a series of paintings that Pissarro made during his second sojourn in Rouen, from January 20 to March 30. All of them are thought to have been painted from the window of his room in the Hôtel de Paris, located at 51 quai de Paris, between the Boieldieu and Corneille bridges. One of the canvases, now in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, shows a quite similar view looking diagonally across the river towards the Saint-Sever district, with the quai de la Bourse in the foreground (Pissarro and Venturi 1939 and 1989, no. 957; Pissarro and Snollaerts 2005, no. 1122).

  • See also