Camille Pissarro 1830-1903
N05833 Anse des Pilotes, Le Havre, Matin, Temps gris, brumeux (The Pilots' Jetty, Le Havre, Morning, Cloudy and Misty Weather) 1903
Inscribed 'C. Pissarro. 1903' b.r. and 'Anse des pilotes Havre matin temps gris brumeux' on stretcher
Oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 32 (65 x 81)
Presented by Lucien Pissarro to the National Gallery 1948; transferred 1953
Prov: Mme Pissarro, Eragny; Lucien Pissarro, London
Exh: L'Oeuvre de Camille Pissarro, Durand-Ruel, Paris, April 1904 (131); Pictures by Camille Pissarro, Stafford Gallery, London, October 1911 (6); Post-Impressionist and Futurist Exhibition, Doré Galleries, London, October 1913 (3); Memorial Exhibition of the Works of Camille Pissarro, 1830-1903, Leicester Galleries, London, May 1920 (95); Modern French Paintings, Leicester Galleries, London, September-October 1923 (38); Oil Paintings by Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Tate Gallery, June-October 1931 (10); Birmingham City Art Gallery, October-November 1931 (10); Castle Museum, Nottingham, November-December 1931; War Memorial Art Gallery, Stockport, January 1932 (24); Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, February-March 1932 (23); Bootle Public Museum, April-May 1932 (23); Leeds City Art Gallery, July 1932 (29); Northampton Art Gallery, August-September 1932 (28); Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, September 1932 (28); Rochdale Art Gallery, October-November 1932; Paintings by Sisley, Renoir, Pissarro, Monet, Boudin, Cassatt, Leicester Galleries, London, April-May 1936 (11, repr.); Paintings by Bonnard, Boudin, et al. (second edition), Leicester Galleries, London, May-June 1937 (36); on loan to the National Gallery from 1939 until presented
Lit: Robert de la Villehervé, 'Choses du Havre; les Dernières Semaines du Peintre Camille Pissarro' in Havre-Eclair, 25 September 1904, p.2; Ludovic Rodo Pissarro and Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro: son Art - son Oeuvre (Paris 1939), No.1309, Vol.1, p.262, repr. Vol.2, pl.255; John Rewald (ed.), Camille Pissarro: Letters to his son Lucien (London 1943), pp.357-9
Pissarro had executed in 1902 a series of pictures of the harbour at Dieppe and it was then suggested to him by the collector P. Van de Velde that he should also try Le Havre. He arrived there in June 1903 and at the beginning of July took a first-floor room in the Hôtel Continental overlooking the harbour, as his age and infirmities made it inadvisable for him to work out of doors. The window of his room opened on to a balcony which commanded a fine view of the harbour in three main directions: towards the jetty and the semaphore, towards the pilots' jetty, and in the direction of the outer port. Thus he had three pictures, or rather three series of pictures, before him and could record the changing aspects of these motifs at different times of day and in different weather. He worked on a number of canvases which he took up again as the circumstances, the hour, the state of the sky and light permitted. By the time of his departure at the end of September, he had executed eighteen paintings (Pissarro - Venturi Nos.1298-315), as well as a number of drawings. Nos.1310-13 are close to the present work.
Orovida Pissarro, who watched this picture being painted, told the compiler that her grandfather had great difficulty in making the mast appear upright, and even tried a plumb-line. In the end, however, he got it right by eye.
Lucien Pissarro, the artist's eldest son and the father of Orovida, was granted a Civil List pension early in the Second World War and wrote to Winston Churchill, offering this picture to the nation as a token of gratitude; Churchill replied personally, accepting it. However the National Gallery was not informed at the time and the picture did not formally become part of the National Gallery's collection until 1948, several years after Lucien Pissarro's death.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.614-15, reproduced p.614