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The Boulevard Montmartre at Night by Camille Pissarro

    The Boulevard Montmartre at Night by Camille Pissarro

    The Boulevard Montmartre at Night by Camille Pissarro was created in 1897. The painting is in National Gallery London. The size of the work is 53,3 x 64,8 cm and is made of oil on canvas.

    This painting is one of 14 views of the Boulevard Montmartre in Paris that Camille Pissarro painted in 1897. It is the only example of a night painting by him. In February 1897 Pissarro, then in his late sixties, took a room in the Grand Hôtel de Russie on Rue Drouot, which at the time joined the Boulevard des Italiens. The hotel was on the corner of the two streets. East of the hotel was the Boulevard Montmartre, which, despite its name, is not in Montmartre, an area in north-west Paris that was particularly favoured by artists; it is instead the most easterly of Paris’s grand boulevards. To the hotel’s west was the Boulevard Haussmann, named after Baron Haussmann.

    A civic planner and Prefect of the Seine during the Second Empire (1852–1870), Haussmann had radically reshaped much of Paris. He tore down the cramped medieval quarters and replaced them with the wide boulevards and landscaped parks that have come to define the city. The new urban spaces he created, and the commercial and leisure activities they fostered, had fascinated artists such as Manet, Monet and Renoir, especially in the 1860s and 1870s. But by the end of the century, most of the Impressionists, and the avant-garde artists who came after them, had largely stopped painting urban subjects. The decision by Pissarro, who was best known for his paintings of rural and peasant life, to return to Paris specifically to paint city views may have been influenced by his health, particularly the condition of his eyes, which made painting outdoors increasingly difficult… Read more in National Gallery London

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