Une Rue a Rouen (Rue des Arpents)

Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Une Rue a Rouen (Rue des Arpents), etching and drypoint, 1883, signed in pencil and annotated “3e Etat”, also titled and dated in pencil by the artist. Reference: Delteil 68, third state (of 3). Delteil indicates that only one impression of the first state (before some lines and before the sky) was printed, only one impression of the second state (with some lines added but still before the sky), and only five (lifetime) impressions pulled before steel facing.

A fine impression of this great rarity, printed in a dark brown/black ink on an antique laid Dutch paper with a (partial) figure of Fortune on a Globe watermark.

Delteil dates this as 1887; Pissarro himself dated this 1883 (Pissarro’s annotation’s are often incorrect; he may have made them well after the print was made).

This lush city scene exemplifies Pissarro’s attitude toward printmaking: the superb quality of his prints are a testament to the fact that he loved printmaking. He typically printed these impressions personally (sometimes with the assistance of his colleague Degas), making on tiny “editions”, each impression varying in appearance – variations on a theme. Although he evidently did not expect to profit from these prints, he did try to sell them, usually to no avail; he remarked to his son “What a pity there is no demand for my prints, I find this work as interesting as painting, which everybody does, and there are so few who achieve something in printmaking.”

Like many of Pissarro’s prints Rue des Arpents was also printed posthumously (with the stamped initials); of course these posthumous restrikes are only pale reflections of the lifetime impressions.