Bienvenu Lecture: 2016

Impressionist Gardens Beyond Giverny: Pissarro’s House and Garden in Eragny

By Richard Brettell 

In 1884, both Pissarro and Monet moved to the small farms which were to become their homes until their deaths in 1903 and 1926 respectively. Each were on the small Creuse River in Normandy-- in fact, Pissarro could have taken a canoe down the river directly to Monet's home and garden. Since their deaths, Monet's garden has become globally famous and attracts millions of tourists to the village of Giverny. By contrast, Pissarro's equally beautiful home and studio remain in private hands all but unknown except to zealous fans of the painter, who make the trek to the "Rue Camille Pissarro" in the village of Eragny.

Richard Brettell, a respected scholar of Impressionism, will give full pictorial, moral, and political due to Pissarro's farm in Eragny, contrasting it with Monet's garden in Giverny.


Brettell is the first director of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History at The University of Texas at Dallas. Brettell also helped create FRAME (French/Regional/American Museum Exchange), a formal collaboration of museums in the United States and France that serves as a catalyst for cultural exchange. As a result of his work with FRAME, he received a commandeur certificate from the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters). The award is the most prestigious of its type in France. Fellow commandeurs include T.S. Eliot, Clint Eastwood, Marcel Marceau, Bob Dylan and Ray Bradbury.

In 2010, Brettell curated the exhibition Pissarro’s People at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. The Impressionist exhibit displayed 92 works, including portraits of artist Camille Pissarro’s family members alongside pictures of artists, neighbors, domestic help and rural workers. The exhibition was reviewed in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe.

Brettell also serves as a vice provost of UT Dallas. He earned his undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees from Yale University. He has taught at The University of Texas at Austin, Northwestern University, The University of Chicago, Yale University and Harvard University.


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