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Pont Boieldieu, Rouen, Sunset, Misty Weather

Camille Pissarro

(1830 - 1903) | D.2000.1.1

Date : 1896 | Medium : Oil on canvas

After his first stay in Rouen in 1883, Pissarro returned in 1896, staying at the Hôtel de Paris and then the Hôtel d’Angleterre, which both overlook the Seine. His eye problems meant he could no longer work outdoors and his hotel rooms gave him a great vantage point from which to paint the river and its bridges.

The artist described this painting in a letter to his son dated February 26th: ‘The subject is an iron bridge in wet weather with large numbers of carriages, pedestrians, dockers on the quays, boats, smoke, mist in the distance, very lively and animated.’

The painter's Pointillist experiments in the years from 1885 to 1890 and his technique of juxtaposed brushstrokes enabled him to fully exploit the limited palette he chose for this work.

Although microscopically small, the brushstrokes are still interconnected – a far cry from Divisionism. Take, for instance, his rendering of the cloud mass: this area of almost flat colour is enlivened only by long strokes unfurling in different directions around the edges. Despite his interest in the new techniques, Pissarro remained a pure Impressionist at heart.