Camille Pissarro
Hillside of the Hermitage, Pontoise

Hillside of the Hermitage, Pontoise
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)
Hillside of the Hermitage, Pontoise
Oil on canvas
H. 61; W. 73 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Coteau de l'Hermitage, Pontoise [Hillside of the Hermitage, Pontoise]

The very uneven topography around Pontoise, built on a steep bank of the Oise, lent itself to unusual compositions and provided an almost inexhaustible subject for Pissarro. He particularly liked the permanent blend of countryside and town found there.
In this composition, with its fragmented brushwork and colours shot with blue, green, grey and beige tones, the artist is playing on the contrast between the sinuous lines of the hillside and the trees on the one hand, and the rectilinear outlines of the buildings on the other.
The astonishing treatment of the cultivated plots further highlights the bizarre nature of the space represented in this way. As he often did, Pissarro painted the same motif but in the snow. This detail brings him closer to Monet who also liked to pursue the varied effects of light on familiar landscapes. However, when referring to this period in Pontoise, it is important to remember that Paul Cézanne often came to work alongside his friend and that these contacts often resulted in reciprocal influence.

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