Unlike Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, and other artists in his circle, Pissarro painted few still lifes, most late in his career. This work of 1872 is, therefore, exceptional for its subject, as well as for its clearly expressed forms and subtle manipulation of light. There is only one other comparable painting by the artist, Apples and Pears in a Round Basket of the same year (private collection), which is identical in size and setting to the present canvas, featuring the same floral-patterned wallpaper in the background.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): C. Pissarro
[Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1872–73; bought from the artist on November 26, 1872 for Fr 200, stock no. 2174, as "Nature morte (pommes de chataîgners) [sic]"; sold on April 28, 1873, for Fr 500 to Hoschedé]; Ernest Hoschedé, Paris (1873–74; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, January 13, 1874, no. 59, as "Nature morte," for Fr 270 to Hagerman for Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1874–88; ?stock no. 3523, 3524 or 3526; sold on May 2, 1888 to Davis]; Erwin Davis, New York (1888–99; on deposit by Howard B. Davis on March 2, 1898, at Durand-Ruel, New York, stock no. 5677; sold January 7, 1899 to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, New York, 1899–1971; stock no. 2082 as "Still-life, pommes, cruche, verre" or "Pommes de chataîgners et faîence sur une table"; sold in August 1971 to Sam Salz]; [Sam Salz, New York, in 1971]; [?Acquavella, New York; possibly sold to Mellon]; Mrs. Constance Mellon, New York (about 1971–83); [Acquavella, New York, 1983; sold to MMA]
New York. Durand-Ruel Galleries. "Paintings Representing Still Life and Flowers," December 20, 1913–January 8, 1914, no. 10 [see Snollaerts 2005].
New York. Durand-Ruel Galleries. "Exhibition of Still Life and Flower Pieces," February 7–24, 1923, no. 19 (as "Pommes, cruche, verre").
New York. Acquavella Galleries. "XIX & XX Century Master Paintings," May 17–June 18, 1983, no. 2 (as "Still Life").
Washington. Phillips Collection. "Impressionist Still Life," September 22, 2001–January 13, 2002, unnumbered cat. (pl. 30).
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Impressionist Still Life," February 17–June 9, 2002, unnumbered cat. (pl. 30).
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne & Pissarro 1865–1885," June 26–September 12, 2005, no. 26.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne & Pissarro 1865–1885," October 20, 2005–January 16, 2006, no. 26.
Paris. Musée d'Orsay. "Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne & Pissarro 1865–1885," February 27–May 28, 2006, no. 26.
A. Tabarant. Pissarro. London, 1925, pp. 27–28, calls it "Chestnuts and Pottery on a Table" and notes that it sold for Fr 270 at an anonymous sale in January 1874 [see Ref. Bodelsen 1968].
Ludovic Rodo Pissarro and Lionello Venturi. Camille Pissarro, son art—son œuvre. reprint ed. 1989. Paris, 1939, vol. 1, p. 106, no. 195; vol. 2, pl. 39, no. 195, date it about 1872.
French Still Life from Chardin to Cezanne. Exh. cat., Arnold Seligmann-Helft Galleries. New York, 1947, no. 27, dates it 1880.
Merete Bodelsen. "Early Impressionist Sales 1874–94 in the Light of some Unpublished 'procès verbaux'." Burlington Magazine 110 (June 1968), pp. 332–33, notes that it was sold for Fr 270 to Hagerman in the 1874 Hoschedé sale.
Christopher Lloyd and Anne Distel inPissarro. Exh. cat., Hayward Gallery. London, 1980, p. 88, relate it to "Still Life: Pears in a Round Basket" (PV194; Marge Scheuer collection, New York), dated 1872, and comment that the "Self-Portrait" (PV200; Musée d'Orsay, Paris) depicts a similar wallpaper to that found in the two still lifes.
Anne Schirrmeister. Camille Pissarro. New York, 1982, p. 10, colorpl. 6.
Gary Tinterow inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1983–1984. New York, 1984, p. 66, ill. (color), dates it 1872.
Anne Distel. "Some Pissarro Collectors in 1874." Studies on Camille Pissarro. Ed. Christopher Lloyd. 1986, pp. 66, 71 n. 4, p. 72 n. 6, notes that although Hagerman purchased it at the Hoschedé sale, it was bought back by Durand-Ruel.
Joachim Pissarro. Camille Pissarro. New York, 1993, p. 271, fig. 320.
Alexandra Ames Lawrence in Eliza E. Rathbone and George T. M. Shackelford. Impressionist Still Life. Exh. cat., Phillips Collection, Washington. New York, 2001, pp. 24, 90–91, 215, colorpl. 30.
Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts in Joachim Pissarro and Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts. Pissarro: Critical Catalogue of Paintings. Milan, 2005, vol. 1, pp. 16, 54 n. 39, pp. 370, 372–74, 379, 383, 385, 390–91, 394, 407, 423, 425, 427; vol. 2, pp. 216–17, no. 270, ill. (color); vol. 3, pp. 953, 956, calls it "'Châtaignier' Apples and Glazed Earthenware on a Table" and dates it about 1872; notes that the "Châtaignier" apple is characteristic of the Gâtinais area south of Paris.
Joachim Pissarro. Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne & Pissarro 1865–1885. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 2005, p. 109, ill. p. 110 (color detail) and colorpl. 26.
Audrey Gay-Mazuel inWorking among Flowers: Floral Still-Life Painting in Nineteenth-Century France. Ed. Heather MacDonald and Mitchell Merling. Exh. cat., Dallas Museum of Art. Dallas, 2014, p. 47, describes the tall ceramic vessel as a "mid-to-late eighteenth-century water pot in Rouen faience decorated in high-fired polychrome".
Cora Michael inCézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection. Exh. cat., Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford. Princeton, N.J., 2014, pp. 95, 97–99 nn. 3, 11, 12, fig. 59 (color), states that Pissarro painted it and "Still Life: Apples and Pears in a Round Basket" (1872, private collection, New York) shortly after settling in Pontoise, most likely in late summer or early fall, when apples and pears are in season; notes that Durand-Ruel purchased the two pictures as a pair on the same day.
Pissarro very rarely painted still lifes during his early career. A similar work to The Met's picture, Still Life: Apples and Pears in a Round Basket (The Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation, on long-term loan to the Princeton University Art Museum; Pissarro and Venturi no. 194), is identical in size and setting, and may have been conceived as a pendant to it.
The wallpaper depicted in this painting is similar to that found in Pissarro's self-portrait dating from 1873 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris; PV200; see Lloyd and Distel 1980).