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Prints and Authors in the Time of Manet

Camille Pissarro
French, 1830–1903

The Market at Pontoise (Marché à Pontoise)

Lithograph, 1895
Museum purchase, 1943.46

The outdoor market was Pissarro’s rural equivalent for the crowed urban gatherings depicted by other Impressionists. For him, the market was an image of an independent, self-sufficient agrarian economy consistent with his anarchist philosophy. He emphasized the lively bustle and the mingling of a wide range of rural types, dominated here by a strong peasant woman towering over her cluttered baskets—a grand and monumental figure at the center of the commotion. As he worked on this lithograph, Pissarro “messed it up with wash, scratched it, rubbed it with sandpaper” to soften the forms, as he wrote, enhancing the grandeur and poetry of this aspect of peasant life.