About This Artwork

Camille Pissarro
French, 1830-1903

The Crystal Palace, 1871

Oil on canvas
47.2 x 73.5 cm (19 x 29 in.)
Inscribed lower left: C. Pissarro 1871.

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. B. E. Bensinger, 1972.1164

This work is featured in the online catalogue Pissarro Paintings and Works on Paper at the Art Institute of Chicago. This is the museum’s fourth volume in its scholarly digital series on the Impressionist circle. The catalogue offers in-depth curatorial and technical entries on 17 paintings and drawings by Camille Pissarro as well as a checklist of the artist’s prints in the museum’s collection. The entries feature interactive and layered high-resolution imaging, videos, and previously unpublished technical photographs in addition to archival materials and documentation relating to each artwork.

Camille Pissarro and his family left France in 1870–71 to escape the Prussian invasion and subsequent civil uprising (known as the Commune). They spent these years in Lower Norwood, outside London. In the neighboring town of Sydenham, Pissarro painted the glass-and-iron Crystal Palace, which was originally designed by Joseph Paxton in 1851 for London’s Hyde Park. Although it was immediately acclaimed for its modern architecture, only two years later the building was dismantled and reassembled in Sydenham. (It was destroyed by fire in 1936.) In this small oil painting, Pissarro relegated what was considered the world’s largest building to the left side of the canvas, as if to give equal space to the “modern-life” scene of families and carriages parading by Sydenham’s more recently constructed middle-class homes.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Paris, Durand-Ruel Galerie, Exposition Camille Pissarro, March 1894, no. 6.

Glasgow, International Exhibition, 1901, cat. 1371.

London, New Gallery, Sixth Exhibition of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, January-February 1906, cat. 208.

Manchester City Art Gallery, Modern French Paintings, 1907–1908, cat. 167.

Mannheim, Kunsthalle, Werken der Malerei des 19. Jahrhunderts, December 1909, cat. 64.

City Art Museum of St. Louis, Loan Exhibition of French Painting, January 1931, cat. 24.

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Paintings by Degas, Renoir, Monet, Pissarro and Sisley prior to 1880, October 12–November 2, 1931, cat. 3.

New York, The Union League Club, Paintings by the Master Impressionists, November 8–20, 1932, cat. 13.

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Paintings by Camille Pissarro in Retrospect, January 3–24, 1933, cat. 2.

City Art Museum of St. Louis, Painting by French Impressionists, April 1934, no cat.

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Paintings by the Master Impressionists, October 15–November 10, 1934, cat. 19.

Kansas City, The William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art, The Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, One Hundred Years: French Painting, 1820-1920, March 31–April 28, 1935, cat. 44.

Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, Master Impressionists, October 12–31, 1937, cat. 7.

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, French Paintings from 1870 to 1880, January 3–22, 1938, cat. 4.

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Monet, Pissarro, Sisley before 1890, November 14–December 3, 1938, cat. 11.

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum, The Development of Impressionism, January 12–February 28, 1940, cat. 50.

New York, Durand-Ruel and Knoedler Galleries, Loan Exhibitions – Paintings of London and Paris for the Benefit of the British War Relief Society, October 29–November 16, 1940, cat. 21.

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, The Art of Camille Pissarro in Retrospect, March 24–April 15, 1941, cat. 7.

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition Celebrating the One Hundred Fortieth Anniversary, November 15–December 4, 1943, cat. 15.

New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery, Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture Collected by Yale Alumni, May 19–June 26, 1960, cat. 57.

Andover, Phillips Academy, Alumni Treasures, May 19–June 18, 1967, cat. 255.

New York, Acquavella Galleries, Four Masters of Impressionism, October 24–November 30, 1968, cat. 3.

London, Hayward Gallery, The Impressionists in London, January 3–March 11, 1973, cat. 33.

New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Retrospective of a Gallery – Twenty Years, November 8–December 1, 1973, cat. 74.

Art Institute of Chicago, Art at the Time of the Centennial, June 19–August 8, 1976, no cat.

Detroit Institute of Arts, Arts and Crafts in Detroit 1906–1976: The Movement, the Society, the School, November 26, 1976–January 19, 1977, cat. 276.

London, Hayward Gallery, Pissarro, October 30, 1980–January 11, 1981, cat. 15; traveled to Paris, Grand Palais, January 30–April 27, 1981 and Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, May 19–August 9, 1981.

Tokyo, The Seibu Museum of Art, The Impressionist Tradition: Masterpieces from the Art Institute of Chicago, October 18–December 17, 1985, cat. 20; traveled to Fukuoka, Fukuoka Art Museum, January 5–February 2, 1986 and Kyoto, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, March 4–April 13, 1986.

Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, Camille Pissarro, December 11, 1999–May 1, 2000, cat. 11.

Art Institute of Chicago, William Merritt Chase: Modern American Landscapes, 1886–1809, September 6–November 26, 2000, no cat. no.

Publication History

Charles J. Galloway, Catalogue of Paintings and Drawings at Thorneyholme, Cheshire, Collected by Charles J. Galloway (Manchester: Privately Printed, 1892), p. 20, no. 49, (ill.).

Adolphe Tabarant, Pissarro (Paris: F. Rieder, 1924), pl. 10; trans. (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1925).

“Loan Exhibition of French Painting, 1800–1880,” Bulletin of the City Art Museum of St. Louis 16, 1 (1931), pp. 14, 16, no. 24.

Ludovic-Rodolphe Pissarro and Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro: son art - son oeuvre (Paris: P. Rosenberg, 1939), vol. 1, p. 94, no. 109; vol. 2, pl. 22.

George Slocombe, Rebels of Art: Manet to Matisse (New York: R. M. McBride and Co., 1939), p. 85, pl. 6.

Thomas C. Linn, “Benefit Art Show Will Assist Allies: Laymen’s League to Stage an Exhibit, Reception, and Auction on July 17,” New York Times (June 30, 1940), p. 38.

Edward Alden Jewell, “London and Paris: Paintings of Two Cities Offered in Shows at Knoedler’s and Durand-Ruel’s,” New York Times (October 29, 1940), p. 30.

Edward Alden Jewell, “The WPA Advisory Group: A New and Larger Committee is to Pass upon Caliber of Project Work,” New York Times (November 3, 1940), p. 145.

John S. Newberry, “The Age of Impressionism and Objective Realism,” Art News 38, 31 (1940), p. 11 (ill.).

John Rewald, Pissarro (Paris: Les Éditions Braun et Cie, 1940), fig. 18.

Edward Alden Jewell, “Other Shows,” New York Times (January 26, 1941), p. X9.

John Rewald “140 Years, One Man’s Faith,” Art News 42, 2 (1943), pp. 23–24 (ill.), 50.

John Rewald, The History of Impressionism (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1946), p. 216 (ill.); reprinted (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1955); (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1961); (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1973).

Germain Bazin, “Éphémérides Impressionistes,” L’Amour de l’Art, 27, 3–4 (1947), p. 125 (ill.).

John Rewald, Pissarro, (Paris: Braun & Cie, [1960]), no. 18 (ill.).

Phoebe Pool, Impressionism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), pp. 102, 104, fig. 75.

Dénes Pataky, Pissarro (Budapest: Corbina kiadó, 1972), p. 13, pl. 16.

John House, “The Impressionists in London,” Burlington Magazine 115, 840 (1973), pp. 194–95, fig. 34.

Martin Reid, “Camille Pissarro: Three Paintings of London of 1871. What do they represent?,” Burlington Magazine 119, 889 (1977), p. 254.

John House, “New Material on Monet and Pissarro in London in 1870–71,” Burlington Magazine 120, 907 (1978), p. 638.

Art Institute of Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago: 100 Masterpieces (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1978), p. 98, no. 54 (ill.).

Ralph E. Shikes and Paula Harper, Pissarro: His Life and Work (New York: Horizon Press, 1980), p. 82.

Christopher Lloyd, Camille Pissarro (New York: Rizzoli, 1981), p. 48 (ill.).

John Rewald, Studies in Impressionism (London: Thames & Hudson, 1985), p. 198, fig. 95.

Richard R. Brettell, French Impressionists (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago and New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1987), pp. 14 (ill.), 15, 118.

Nicholas Reed, Camile Pissarro at the Crystal Palace (London: Lilburne Press, 1987), pp. 2, 4, ill. cover and fig. 4; reprinted (London: Lilburne Press, 1993); (London: Lilburne Press, 1995).

Art Institute of Chicago, Master Paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1988), p. 55 (ill.).

David Bomford, et. al. Art in the Making: Impressionism (London and New Haven: National Gallery and Yale University Press, 1990), p. 141, pl. 119, under no. 5.

Jean-Jacques Lévêque, Les années impressionistes: 1870–1889 (Courbevoie, Paris: ACR Édition, 1990), p. 199 (ill.).

Christopher Lloyd, Pissarro, 2nd ed. (London: Phaidon Press, 1992), pp. 9, 30, no. 4, fig. 4.

MaryAnne Stevens, in Alfred Sisley, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts and New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), p. 130, under no. 24.

Joachim Pissarro, Camille Pissarro (New York: Harry N. Abram, 1993), p. 86–87, fig. 88.

Martin Reid, Pissarro (London: Studio Editions, 1993), pp. 62–63 (ill.), 143, no. 63.

Linda Doeser, The Life and Works of Pissarro (New York: Shooting Star Press, 1994), p. 14 (ill.).

Andrew Miller, “Epistemological Claustrophobia and the Possibilities of Critical Transcendence,” Yale Journal of Criticism 7, 2 (1994), pp. 139–40, fig. 2, p. 148 n. 49.

Eric Shanes, Impressionist London (New York: Abbeville Press, 1994), pp. 16 (detail ill.), 34, fig. 23.

Martha Ward, Pissarro, Neo-Impressionism and the Spaces of the Avant-Garde (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1996), pp. 258–59, fig. 11.10.

Jean Leymarie, Camille Pissarro, exh. cat. (Ferrara: Palazzo dei Diamanti, 1998), pp. 28–29, fig. 18.

Jeffrey A. Auerbach, The Great Exhibition of 1851: A Nation on Display (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), p. 203 (ill.).

Christoph Becker, “Camille Pissarro, Impressionist Artist,” in Christoph Becker, Camille Pissarro, exh. cat. (Stuttgart: Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Hatje Cantz Publishers, 1999), pp. 49, 53, no. 11, 141 n. 14.

Terry W. Strieter, Nineteenth-Century European Art: A Topical Dictionary (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1999), pp. 50, 234.

Art Institute of Chicago, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2000), p. 36 (ill.).

Art Institute of Chicago, Treasures from the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2000), p. 199 (ill.).

Belinda Thomson, Impressionism: Origins, Practice, Reception (New York: Thames & Hudson, 2000), p. 46–47, fig. 35.

Richard Brettell, From Monet to van Gogh: A History of Impressionism, pt. 2 (Chantilly, Virginia: The Teaching Company, 2002), pp. 104, 111.

Sylvie Patin, L'Impressionisme (Laussane: Bibliothèque des Arts, 2002), pp. 53, 54, 295, no. 36, fig. 36.

Andreas Blühm and Louise Lippincott, Light! The Industrial Age 1750–1900: Art & Science, Technology & Society (Van Gogh Museum/Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Thames & Hudson, 2000), p. 240 (ill.).

Jan Piggott, Palace of the People: The Crystal Palace at Sydenham, 1854–1936 (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004), p. 168 (ill.).

Christopher Lloyd, “Camille Pissarro and the Essence of Place,” in Pissarro: Creating the Impressionist Landscape, exh. cat. (Baltimore Museum of Art, London: Philip Wilson, 2006), p. 33, fig. 12.

Jean-Jacques Lévêque, Camille Pissarro, 1830–1903: Le Bonheur de peindre (Courbevoie: ACR Édition, 2006), pp. 62–63 (ill.).

Joachim Pissarro, Pissarro: Critical Catalogue of Paintings, trans. Mark Hutchinson and Michael Taylor (Milan: Skira and Wildenstein Institute Publications, 2005), vol. 1, pp. 365, 367, 368, 376, 377, 378, 379, 381, 382, 383, 384, 393, 398, 401, 403, 406, 409, 422; vol. 2, p. 157, no. 183 (ill.).

Richard Dennis, Cities in Modernity: Representations and Productions of Metropolitan Space, 1840–1930 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 170–1, fig. 6.4.

Frances Fowle, Impressionism & Scotland, exh. cat. (National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburg, 2008), p. 70, fig. 89.

James H. Rubin, Impressionism and the Modern Landscape: Productivity, Technology, and Urbanization from Manet to van Gogh (University of California Press, 2008), p. 123, fig. 83.

Jane E. Boyd, The Mapping of Modernity: Impressionist Landscapes, Engineering, and Transportation Imagery in 19th–Century France (Ph.D diss., University of Delaware, 2009), pp. x, 33, 297, fig. 2.10.

Gloria Groom and Douglas Druick, with the assistance of Dorota Chudzicka and Jill Shaw, The Age of French Impressionism at the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), pp. 61, no. 23 (ill.); reprinted (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2013).

Kathleen Adler, A Time and A Place: Near Sydenham Hill by Camille Pissarro (Fort Worth: Kimbell Art Museum and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011), pp. 39–41.

Ownership History

Possibly purchased from the artist by Paul Durand-Ruel, 1871 [according to Rewald 1943]. Charles J. Galloway (died 1904), Thorneyholme, Kunstford, Cheshire, by 1892 [see Galloway 1892]; sold his estate sale, Christie’s, London, June 24, 1905, lot 279 to Bernheim for 68.5 shillings [price and buyer according to an annotated copy of the sale catalogue in the Ryerson Library, Art Institute]; Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, by 1905; sold to Paul Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York, July 4, 1905 [according to a letter from Caroline Durand-Ruel Godfroy to the Art Institute dated March 20, 2000, in curatorial file]; his private collection, Paris [according to the letter cited above]; transferred to stock of Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York, March 1936 [according to the letter cited above]; sold on June 19, 1941 to Henry J. Fisher [according to the letter cited above]; Henry J. Fisher (died 1965), Greenwich, Connecticut, until at least 1960 [lent by him to New Haven 1960]; by descent to his family [lent by them to Andover, Massachusetts 1967]. Mr. and Mrs. B. E. Bensinger, Chicago, by 1968 [according to a phone conversation between Tiffany Johnson and Jean Edmonson of Acquavella Galleries, it was lent by them to New York 1968]; given to the Art Institute, 1972.

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