Recollection from the Journey

Discovering One of Pissarro's Places

Posted by annsaul on April 12, 2013

For nearly twenty years, I roamed over Normandy searching for all the places Pissarro painted.  There were some that I thought would be impossible to find because the clues to the location were just not there.

During one trip, I was on a very tight budget and booked the cheapest hotel room I could find in Rouen. It had been a very long day, and I was tired as I stumbled into the room.  I looked out the window and to my very great surprise, I saw the exact site of Pissarro’s masterpiece, “Roofs of Old Rouen.”  (Check it out for yourself on the website of the Toledo Museum of Art: http://classes.toledomuseum.org:8080/emuseum/media/view/Objects/54781/3028?t:state:flow=18467c42-250d-4a84-b8c0-551c8e12022c)

This was one site that I never thought I’d see because Pissarro had painted it from a back room in a hotel near the river. All of those buildings were destroyed during World War II bombings, and the Old Rouen he painted was now gone.  But the cathedral was still there, and I knew at once that my hotel room was very near the place Pissarro was as he painted that picture. The next day after a brief thunderstorm, I captured a photo of that site. I still get chill bumps when I remember the site.

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