Peasant Women at the Market
monotype with touches of grey wash, circa 1894-95, on laid paper, watermark fragment Fleur-de-Lys, signed with the artist's initials ink stamp (Lugt 613c)
Plate 178 x 126 mm.
Sheet 209 x 162 mm.
Private collection, Los Angeles.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
See M. Melot, B. Shapiro, Catalogue sommaire des monotypes de Camille Pissarro, in Nouvelles de l 'estampe, Jan.-Feb. 1975, no. 19, pp. 16-23.
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Lot Essay

Pissarro referred to his monotypes as 'dessins imprimés', or printed drawings. He likely learned the technique from Edgar Degas around 1879, when the two were working together for journal of prints Le Jour et la Nuit; Degas similarly revelled in the experimentation and freedom the monotype technique allows. With monotypes, the artist inks directly onto the matrix and then presses it down on paper for as long as the ink remains wet, each plate typically yields one monotype.
The present impression can be added to the rare and small corpus of monotypes made by Pissarro between 1879 and 1895, of about 25-30 examples.
In 1975, Melot and Shapiro made a census of twenty works. Seven additional monotypes appeared on the market since then, including the present one. Of all Pissarro’s monotypes only one is dated 1894 (M. & S. 1).
The present composition relates in style to another monotype in the catalogue (M. & S. 15), Marché, of the same subject and dimensions but in landscape format. Probably, it belongs to a group of works made at the markets in Gisors, in Normandy, and in Pontoise, around 1894 and 1895. Pissarro captured the essence of one of his favourite subjects: he isolated a fragment of the activity, yet forcing the viewer to look around the back of the peasant woman at the left. Only a few touches, such as the dots on the kerchief, the lines on the dress and the hats, distinguish the various figures.
These works are proofs of Pissarro’s profound interest in experimenting with a multiplicity of media to depict the same motif.

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