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The Poultry Market at Pontoise, 1882

Camille Pissarro

French, 1830-1903
Oil on canvas
31-7/8 x 25-5/8 in. (81 x 65.1 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Although Pissarro was primarily a landscape painter, he produced an important group of market scenes portraying peasants in dramatic close-up. Here, a woman selling eggs at the artist’s local poultry market stands with her back to us, on the lookout for her next customer. Painted with the bright colors and palpitating brushwork of Pissarro’s late Impressionist style, the picture is insistently modern and insists on the modernity of the people it represents. Whereas earlier painters had depicted French peasants as figures outside of time, mystically united with the land, Pissarro painted them as his neighbors, working to feed their families as he did to feed his own.

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