There is a special relationship between Camille Pissarro and Le Havre. The city was his first contact with France, when he arrived from the West Indies at the age of 11 and then, in 1885, when he moved to France to live and become an artist. Pissarro also spent his last summer in Le Havre, when he was 73 year old.
Entrance to Le Havre Harbour with West Breakwater in Morning Sunlight (1903) – Oil painting by Camille Pissarro
Le Havre City Council was the first and only French local authority to purchase his work. The city also had some private collectors who bought the artist’s works. In 1903, Van der Velde owned 10 works, Olivier Senn 3 paintings and Dusseuil one work.
In September 22, 1903, Camille Pissarro wrote to his son Lucien:
“I intend to leave towards the 26th of this month. I sold two pictures to the Museum and two to collectors. I am waiting for other collectors, but I am hardly besieged by demands!
I see that we are far from being understood—quite far—even by our friends.”
The Anse des Pilotes, Le Havre on a Sunny Morning with the Tide Coming in - Oil painting by Camille Pissarro
In 1903, Pissarro thought about going back to Dieppe, but Peter Van der Velde, a private collector, conveiced him to come to Le Havre instead. Pissarro stayed at the Hotel Continental, which had a view on the harbour from three windows.
“Since things were so bad I was compelled to do a series which I thought would please my collectors: the Jetty at Le Havre, of which the people of the town are proud of and really it has character.” Letter from Camille to Lucien Pissarro (Le Havre, July 10, 1903)
The Anse des Pilotes and the East Breakwater, Le Havre - Oil painting by Camille Pissarro
The East Breakwater and the Fort de la Floride, Le Havre, Afternoon, Rainny Weather - Oil painting by Camille Pissarro
Study of Figures on Quayside – Pencil drawing by Camille Pissarro
Pissarro produced 24 works in Le Havre. He returned from Le Havre to Paris in September 1903. He fell ill and passed away piecefully on November 13, 1903.
The exhibition at the MuMa – Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux – Le Havre
“Pissarro in the ports” exhibition
From 27 April to 29 September 2013
2 boulevard Clemenceau
76600 Le Havre
Letters to his son Lucien by Camille Pissarro – Free eBook that you can read Read Online, as PDF, on ePub readers or on the Kindle
If you prefer to read the correspondance on paper: