Camille Pissarro, French, 1830-1903
Title: Chrysanthemums in a Chinese Vase
Date: 1873
Medium: Oil on canvas
60 x 50.5 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 1983 (Shaw Fund)
Object Number: NGI.4459
DescriptionOften referred to as the ‘Father of Impressionism’, Pissarro was the only artist to exhibit at all eight of the Impressionist exhibitions held between 1874 and 1886. Primarily a painter of landscapes and rural life, he rarely painted subjects set in interiors.
The artist moved to London in 1870-71 because of the Franco-Prussian War. On his return to Louveciennes he discovered that the Prussians had used his rented house as a stable and billet, and over 1,000 of his paintings and drawings, representing 20 years’ work, had either disappeared or been destroyed. Pissarro left Louveciennes in 1872 and moved to Pontoise. Between 1872 and 1873, he painted a number of still lifes, several of which are set before the distinctive striped wallpaper seen in Chrysanthemums in a Chinese Vase. In this work the organic forms of the flowers are echoed in the decorative patterns of the wallpaper and vase. The reflection of the vase on the polished tabletop demonstrates Pissarro’s interest in the effects of light and colour on varied surfaces.

March 2016

ProvenanceInherited by Julie Pissarro, the Artist's wife, 1904; sold to Leicester Galleries, London, 1920; Charles S. Carstairs, London; purchased by Knoedler and Co., New York, 2 December 1929; Joseph Stransky, New York, April 1930; Wildenstein and Co., New York, c. 1936; Mrs Armsted Houghton, 1939; Miss Jane Olmstead McMillan; purchased, Christie's, New York, 17 May 1983, the property of the estate of Jane Olmstead McMillan, lot 7.
Exhibition HistoryExposition rétrospective d'oeuvres de Camille Pissarro, Galerie Manzi-Joyant, Paris, 26 January - 14 February 1914

Pissarro Commemorative Exhibition, Leicester Galleries, London, May 1920

The Development of Flower Painting from the Seventeenth Century to the Present, City Art Museum, St Louis, Missouri, May 1937

French XIXth Century Paintings, Quest Art Galleries, Chicago, Illinois, 3 - 15 May 1937

The Painters of Still Life, The Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, Connecticut, 25 January - 15 February 1938

Acquisitions 1982-1983, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 22 March - 6 May 1984

French 19th and 20th Century Paintings from the National Gallery of Ireland: Corot to Picasso, Daimaru Museum, Tokyo, 5 September-17 September 1996; Daimaru Museum, Kyoto, 10 October-22 October 1996; Kawaguchiko Museum of Art, Yamanashi, 26 October-2 December 1996; Daimaru Museum, Umeda,Osaka, 22 January-9 February 1997; Aomori Municpal Gallery of Art, Aomori, 2 April-20 April 1997

Impressionist Still Life, The Phillips Collection, Washington, 22 September 2001 - 13 January 2002; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 17 February - 9 June 2002

Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro 1865-1885, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 24 June - 12 September 2005; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 20 October 2005 - 16 January 2006; Musée d'Orsay, Paris, end of February - end of May 2006
Label TextPissarro is often known as the ‘Father of Impressionism’. He mostly painted landscapes and rural scenes. This picture is one of a small number of still-lifes that he made at his home in Pontoise around 1872-73, several of which feature this distinctive floral wallpaper. Pissarro was interested in exploring the effects of light upon colour as is demonstrated by his depiction of reflections on the polished table. Other Impressionists, including Monet, Renoir, and Caillebotte, also painted chrysanthemums. Not only were these flowers hardy and visually attractive but their associations with Japanese art and culture appealed to these artists.