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Camille Pissarro, The Boulevard Montmartre at Night

Key facts
Full title The Boulevard Montmartre at Night
Artist Camille Pissarro
Artist dates 1830 - 1903
Date made 1897
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 53.3 × 64.8 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, Courtauld Fund, 1925
Inventory number NG4119
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Boulevard Montmartre at Night
Camille Pissarro

This is one of 14 views of the Boulevard Montmartre in Paris that Camille Pissarro painted in 1897. These include the boulevard seen in snow, rain, fog, mist and sunlight, and in the morning, afternoon, at sunset and at night. The picture is the only example of a night painting by Pissarro.

Pissarro was especially fascinated by the different types of artificial light, which are reflected on the wet pavements. The cool white of the newly installed electric street lamps along the centre of picture contrasts with the warm yellow gaslight of the shop windows and the oil-burning lamps of the cabs that line the street. The brushstrokes have an almost abstract gestural quality, as Pissarro applied the paint as a patchwork of dashes and daubs to suggest the passing crowds and traffic, and the city’s shimmering lights.

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