After spending six years in rural Eragny, Pissarro returned to Paris, where he painted several series of the grands boulevards. Surveying the view from his lodgings at the Grand Hôtel de Russie in early 1897, Pissarro marveled that he could "see down the whole length of the boulevards" with "almost a bird's-eye view of carriages, omnibuses, people, between big trees, big houses that have to be set straight." From February through April, he recorded—in two scenes of the boulevard des Italiens to the right, and fourteen of the boulevard Montmartre to the left—the spectacle of urban life as it unfolded below his window.
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Title:The Boulevard Montmartre on a Winter Morning
Artist:Camille Pissarro (French, Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas 1830–1903 Paris)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:25 1/2 x 32 in. (64.8 x 81.3 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of Katrin S. Vietor, in loving memory of Ernest G. Vietor, 1960
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): C.Pissarro.97
[Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1897–1944; bought from the artist on May 11, 1897 for Fr 2,000; stock no. 4237; consigned to Durand-Ruel, New York in 1933, consignment no. 8928; sold on April 28, 1944 for $14,000 to Carstairs]; [Carroll Carstairs, New York, from 1944]; Stanley Newbold Barbee, Beverly Hills (until 1951; sold in December for $16,500 to Knoedler); [Knoedler, New York, 1951–52; stock no. A4742; sold on January 15, 1952 for $25,000 to Vietor]; Mr. and Mrs. Ernest G. Vietor, New York and Greenwich, Conn. (1952–his d. 1959); Katrin S. (Mrs. Ernest G.) Vietor, New York and Greenwich, Conn. (1959–60; life interest, 1960–65)
Paris. Durand-Ruel. "Œuvres récentes de Camille Pissarro," June 1–18, 1898, no. 14 [see Snollaerts 2005].
Dresden. Kunst Salon Ernst Arnold. "Frühjahrs-Ausstellung," March 1899, no. 23 [see Snollaerts 2005].
London. Palace of Fine Arts. "Franco-British Exhibition," May 14–December ?, 1908, no. 379 (as "Le Boulevard Montmartre," lent by Durand-Ruel).
Paris. Galeries Durand-Ruel. "Tableaux, pastels, et gouaches par Camille Pissarro (1830–1903)," January 27–February 19, 1921, no. 5 (as "Le boulevard Montmartre").
Paris. Musée des Arts Décoratifs. "Cinquante ans de peinture française, 1875–1925," May 28–July 12, 1925, no. 59 (as "Le boulevard Montmartre," lent by Durand-Ruel).
New York. Durand-Ruel Galleries. "Exhibition of Paintings by Camille Pissarro in Retrospect," January 3–24, 1933, no. 7.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Independent Painters of Nineteenth Century Paris," March 15–April 28, 1935, no. 34 (as "Boulevard Montmartre, matin d'hiver," lent by Durand-Ruel, New York).
Baltimore Museum of Art. "C. Pissarro," November 1–30, 1936, no. 13 (possibly this painting) [see Snollaerts 2005].
Toledo Museum of Art. "Paintings by French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists," November 7–December 12, 1937, no. 22 (as "Boulevard Montmartre," lent by Durand-Ruel, Inc., New York).
San Francisco Museum of Art. "Impressionism: Paintings by Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Seurat, Sisley," Summer 1938, no. 22 (as "Boulevard Montmartre in Winter," lent by Durand-Ruel, New York).
Boston. Institute of Modern Art. "The Sources of Modern Painting," March 2–April 9, 1939, no. 69 (as "Boulevard Montmartre," lent by Durand-Ruel, New York).
New York. Durand-Ruel. "Paintings of London–Paris," October 29–November 16, 1940, no. 4 (as "Boulevard Montmartre," lent anonymously).
New York. Durand-Ruel. "The Art of Camille Pissarro in Retrospect," March 24–April 15, 1941, no. 23 (lent anonymously).
New York. Coordinating Council of French Relief Societies. "Paris: A Loan Exhibition," December 9, 1943–January 9, 1944, unnumbered cat. (as "Les Grands Boulevards," lent by Durand-Ruel, possibly this picture) [see Snollaerts 2005].
New York. Center for Inter-American Relations. "Pissarro in Venezuela," February 1–March 6, 1968, not in catalogue.
Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh. "Franse meesters uit het Metropolitan Museum of Art: Realisten en Impressionisten," March 15–May 31, 1987, no. 17.
Dallas Museum of Art. "The Impressionist and the City: Pissarro's Series Paintings," November 15, 1992–January 31, 1993, no. 44 (as "Boulevard Montmartre: Winter Morning").
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "The Impressionist and the City: Pissarro's Series Paintings," March 7–June 6, 1993, no. 44.
Brooklyn Museum of Art. "Impressionists in Winter: Effets de neige," May 27–August 29, 1999, not in catalogue.
Fort Lauderdale. Museum of Art. "Impressionism to the Present: Camille Pissarro and His Descendants," January 29–April 30, 2000, no. 64 (as "Boulevard Montmartre: Winter Morning").
Portland Museum of Art. "Paris and the Countryside: Modern Life in Late-19th-Century France," June 23–October 15, 2006, unnumbered cat. (fig. 42).
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 52.
Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.
Madrid. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. "Pissarro," June 4–September 15, 2013, no. 64.
CaixaForum Barcelona. "Pissarro," October 16, 2013–January 26, 2014, no. 64.
Berlin. Alte Nationalgalerie. "Impressionismus-Expressionismus: Kunstwende," May 22–September 20, 2015, no. 21.
Paris. Musée d'Orsay. "Enfin le Cinema! Arts, images et spectacles en France (1833–1907)," September 27, 2021–January 16, 2022, no. 294.
Camille Pissarro. Letter to Lucien Pissarro. February 8, 1897 [published and translated in John Rewald, ed., "Camille Pissarro: Letters to His Son Lucien," London, 1980, p. 307], writes that he will be beginning a series of paintings of the boulevards and has rented a large room at the Grand Hôtel de Russie, 1 rue Douot, from which he "can see the whole sweep of boulevards almost as far as the Porte Saint-Denis, anyway as far as the boulevard Bonne Nouvelle".
Camille Pissarro. Letter to Lucien Pissarro. April 29, 1897 [published and translated in John Rewald, ed., "Camille Pissarro: Letters to His Son Lucien," London, 1980, p. 313], remarks that the series of paintings of boulevards, including this one, are on exhibit at Durand-Ruel.
Wynford Dewhurst. "Impressionist Painting: Its Genesis and Development." Studio 24 (July 15, 1903), p. 96, ill.
James S. Plaut. The Sources of Modern Painting. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston, 1939, p. 78, ill., suggests that Pissarro derives some inspiration for his Parisian views of boulevards and squares from Hiroshige street scenes, which were very popular during this time.
Ludovic Rodo Pissarro and Lionello Venturi. Camille Pissarro, son art—son œuvre. reprint ed. 1989. Paris, 1939, vol. 1, p. 217, no. 987; vol. 2, pl. 199, no. 987.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 3, XIX–XX Centuries. New York, 1967, pp. 20–21, ill., remark that this is one of twelve scenes of the Boulevard Montmartre painted from his window at the Grand Hôtel de Russie (PV nos. 986–95, 997–98).
J. Kirk T. Varnedoe inGustave Caillebotte: A Retrospective Exhibition. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Houston, 1976, p. 132, fig. 2.
Christopher Lloyd. Camille Pissarro. New York, 1981, pp. 122–23, 127, 146, ill., comments that the most important aspect of the composition is that the "viewer is forced to 'read' the picture from the lower edge upwards"; notes that Pissarro increases the effect of "telescoping" by exaggerating the size of the lampposts and trees on the Boulevard Montmartre.
Anne Schirrmeister. Camille Pissarro. New York, 1982, p. 17, colorpl. 13.
Christopher Lloyd inRetrospective Camille Pissarro. Exh. cat., Isetan Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 1984, p. 138, under no. 56, identifies it as one in a series of thirteen paintings made in the early months of 1897, which show the Boulevard Montmartre as seen from a room in the Grand Hôtel de Russie (PV 986–98).
Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 98–99, ill. (color), notes that stylistically this painting recalls the classic phase of Impressionism in the 1870s.
Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, p. 45, ill. (color).
Kirk Varnedoe. Gustave Caillebotte. New Haven, 1987, p. 114, pl. 28b [rev. ed. of Varnedoe 1976].
Richard R. Brettell and Joachim Pissarro. The Impressionist and the City: Pissarro's Series Paintings. Ed. Mary Anne Stevens. Exh. cat., Dallas Museum of Art. New Haven, 1992, pp. 59–60, 62, 212, no. 44, ill. (color).
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 441, ill.
Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts in Joachim Pissarro and Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts. Pissarro: Critical Catalogue of Paintings. Milan, 2005, vol. 1, pp. 364, 366, 368, 372–73, 378–81, 383–84, 398, 411, 415, 422; vol. 3, pp. 728–29, 955, 958, no. 1160, ill. (color).
Alexia de Buffévent in Joachim Pissarro and Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts. Pissarro: Critical Catalogue of Paintings. Milan, 2005, vol. 1, pp. 273, 288.
Gabriel P. Weisberg inParis and the Countryside: Modern Life in Late-19th-Century France. Ed. Fronia W. Simpson. Exh. cat., Portland Museum of Art. Portland, Maine, 2006, pp. 53, 126, ill. p. xvi and fig. 42 (color, overall and detail).
Gary Tinterow inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, fig. 11 (installation photo).
Susan Alyson Stein inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 76, 246–47, no. 52, ill. (color and black and white, and color detail on cover).
Susan Alyson Stein inMasterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 90, 291–92, ill. (color and black and white).
Laure-Caroline Semmer. "Au coeur de l'impressionnisme." Monet: Ses sources, ses thèmes, ses héritiers. Issy Les Moulineaux, 2010, p. 48, ill. (color).
Guillermo Solana inPissarro. Exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, 2013, p. 31, no. 64, colorpl. 64.
Angelika Wesenberg inImpressionismus-Expressionismus: Kunstwende. Ed. Angelika Wesenberg. Exh. cat., Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Berlin, 2015, pp. 51, 103, no. 21, colorpl. 21, ill. pp. 98–99 (color detail).
Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 452, no. 416, ill. pp. 416–17, 452 (color).
Enfin le Cinema! Arts, images et spectacles en France (1833–1907). Ed. Dominique Païni et al. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay. Paris, 2021, p. 312, no. 294, ill. p. 275 (color).
Jacquelyn N. Coutré inVan Gogh and the Avant-Garde. Ed. Bregje Gerritse and Jacquelyn N. Coutré. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Amsterdam, 2023, p. 34, fig. 12 (color).
Early in 1897, Pissarro wrote to his son, Lucien, that he had rented a room at the Grand Hôtel de Russie, "from which I can see the whole sweep of boulevards almost as far as the Porte Saint-Denis, anyway as far as the boulevard Bonne Nouvelle". From there he painted a series of views of the boulevard Montmartre in different weather conditions and at varying times of the day (private collection, Switzerland, Pissarro and Venturi no. 986; this work, PV987; private collection, PV988–91; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, PV992; National Gallery, London, PV993; Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, Los Angeles, PV995; Kunstmuseum, Winterthur, PV997; Stiftung "Langmatt" Sidney and Jenny Brown, Baden, PV998). Brettell and Pissarro (1992) also include Boulevard Montmartre: Spring Rain (private collection) in this series, but it was not mentioned in the catalogue raisonné.
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