Camille Pissarro - La Coiffeuse (The Hairdresser)

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Original drawing in charcoal, on laid MICHALLET watermarked paper, signed with initials C.P (recto, lower right), Academic study on verso

Literature: John Rewald, "L'Oeuvre de Jeunesse de Camille Pissarro," L'Amour de l'Art, March 1936, illus. p. 142.  


  1. Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro (The artists son)
  2. Christies, London, 1 December 1970, Lot 38

2) Estate of Paul & Carole Cramer, Bel Air

3) Abell Fine Art Auctions: February 2018 - Lot 0471

Literature: John Rewald, Camille Pissarro, (The Library of Great Painters), Harry N Abrahmas Inc, New York, 1963, Ill.p.50

Authenticity: We have a letter from Ms Alma Egger on behalf of Joachim Pissarro, Ph. D. dated 27th September 2018. This confirms the authenticity of the drawing and states that its will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raissone off the artists works.

Note: Camille Pissarro was born on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas in 1830 and spent his childhood on the island until leaving to be educated in France from 1842-1847. Pissarro returned to St Thomas in 1847 and remained on the island until November of 1852 when he left for a trip to Venezuela with his friend the Danish painter Fritz Melbye. In 1854, Pissarro returned to St Thomas and remained there until he departed the Caribbean for good in 1855 to study art in Paris.

La Coiffeuse appears to be most closely related to a drawing by Pissarro, titled Study of a negress, and illustrated as no. 42 (recto) in Brettell & Lloyd’s Catalogue of Drawings by Camille Pissarro in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford,. Due to the subject matter of the drawing in question, John Rewald annotated the drawing (illustrated on p. 50 in his 1963 biography of Camille Pissarro) with a date around 1854 and titled it Woman and Child. For the drawing Study of a negress however, Brettell and Lloyd write, “while the subject matter of both the recto and verso of No. 42 is highly suggestive of St. Thomas, or Venezuela, the style is not compatible with the figure drawings of that period.” As the present drawing, La Coiffeuse, was executed in a similar style, with clean outlines and soft modeling, it is more likely that it was executed after Pissarro’s arrival in France. In addition to a number of studies of subject matters from St. Thomas, or Venezuela that Pissarro made after 1855, he also executed an early print titled La Négresse illustrated as no. 6, in the Delteil Prints Catalogue Raisonné. After his permanent move to France, Pissarro was greatly influenced by Corot and the Barbizon school during the period of about 1855-1869. Camille Pissarro’s father agreed to support his son’s decision on an artistic career on the condition he enroll at the École des Beaux-Arts. Unhappy with the academic teaching of the École des Beaux-Arts, Camille Pissarro enrolled at the Académie Suisse, an easy-going, free academy where pupils could draw from life, no lectures were given, no regular attendance was required and there were no exams. At the Académie Suisse is where Pissarro met Claude Monet in 1860. The verso of the drawing in question, La Coiffeuse is most closely related to another academic study of a female nude by Pissarro titled Study of a female nude carrying a pitcher on her left shoulder, no. 36 (verso) in Brettell & Lloyd’s Catalogue of Drawings by Camille Pissarro in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, (image of the work is reproduced here for your reference). Both drawings share a similar size and are somewhat in the manner of Corot’s figure studies. These drawings were probably drawn at the École des Beaux-Arts, even though it is not entirely impossible that such studies could have been made at the Académie Suisse. Pissarro’s studies of the nude are all characterised by clear outlines with areas of soft evenly modulated shading. Pissarro would often use details of a fragment that could be found elsewhere in a composition, as here the female head and torso (at the right edge of the verso of the drawing in question), possibly the upper half of the figure depicted in the academic study. Due to the style of the drawing and the academic study on the verso, La Coiffeuse, was likely executed between 1855-60.

Note on the paper: We have researched this paper online and it seems that Michallet paper was made in France in the second half of the 19th century and was used by some of the Impressionist artists.

Condition: Mount staining around the edges of the wok. Minor creases throughout.

Size: 305 x 453 mms (Paper size)