Maison des paysans depicts a scene of everyday life in the village of Eragny, where Pissarro moved with his family in 1884, and which was to remain their principal residence for the rest of his life. On arrival in Eragny, the artist wrote in a letter to his dealer Paul Durand-Ruel in Paris, dated 9th April 1884: 'I haven't been able to restrain myself from painting, so beautiful are the motifs that surround my garden' (quoted in Camille Pissarro (exhibition catalogue), Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2006, p. 161). During these years Pissarro liked to alternate between urban and rural scenes, and after his visits to cities like Rouen, Le Havre and Paris the artist would return to the peace of Eragny, where he took joy in painting the garden and the meadow in front of his house, as well as the everyday activities of the villagers.
In his discussion of Pissarro's Eragny paintings, Joachim Pissarro wrote: 'Unlike Pontoise, whose tensions were those of a suburban town, semi-rural and semi-urban, in Eragny, no signs of industry could be observed for miles. Varied expanses of pasture and cultivated land complete the visual field. However, Eragny's earthly space is not banal. For twenty years Pissarro concentrated on this very confined area, on the visual material offered by the stretch of meadows lying in front of him, informed by poplars, gates, the river [...] His representations of these fields and gardens constitute the most spectacularly intense pictorial effort to 'cover' a particular given space in his career' (J. Pissarro, Camille Pissarro, London, 1993, p. 225).
Oil on canvas
59.5 by 73cm. 23 3/8 by 28 3/4 in.
Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro & Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro. Son art - son oeuvre, Paris, 1939, vol. I, no. 811, catalogued p. 195
Old Matsukata Collection, 1990, no. 1196, illustrated p. 321
Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro. Catalogue critique des peintures, Paris, 2005, vol. III, no. 957, illustrated in colour p. 627
Tadamasa Hayashi, Paris & Tokyo (sale: American Art Association, New York, 8th & 9th January 1913, lot 145)
D.J.R. Ushikubo, Japan (purchased at the above sale)
Baron Kojiro Matsukata, Kobe
The 15th Bank, Japan (acquired circa 1927)
Private Collection, Japan (acquired from the above circa 1930)
Acquired from the family of the above by the present owner