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Friday, June 27, 2008

Impressionist Fact of the Day

posted by on June 27 at 11:04 AM

We’ve left the unfortunate Bazille, lying dead in the mud, as the Franco-Prussian War rages on.

Pissarro, having fled for London, gets word that his home has been seized and occupied by the Prussians:

By March [1872], the Pissarros’ house had been turned into a slaughterhouse. … They used Pissarro’s canvases, ripped out of their frames, as butchers’ aprons and as floor coverings to catch the blood. After the soldiers left, the neighbour managed to save forty paintings and (a much greater triumph, in her estimation) the Pissarro family clock. But there had been about 1,500 paintings in the house (including some of Monet’s). The best part of fifteen years’ output was lost. …

In late June, the Pissarros returned to Louveciennes. … In some ways, the future looked promising. But the return to Louveciennes meant going home to a scene of horror. The house was filthy with excrement and scraps of bloodied canvas. The Prussians had used Pissarro’s paintings, the neighbours now revealed, not only for butchering animals but for other ‘low and dirty tasks.’ Village women washing clothes at the local laundry had also been seen wearing painted canvases as aprons.

*From Sue Roe’s The Private Lives of the Impressionists, which I’m reading in honor of the SAM exhibition

Pissarro’s The Road to Louveciennes from 1872, the year he and his wife Julie returned.

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Now you've got me curious: what are these "low and dirty tasks"? I can't imagine that I'd want to wipe my ass with a painting.

Posted by Fnarf | June 27, 2008 12:48 PM

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