Piette, Ludovic



Impressionism, the partakers of the expositions:

Ludovic Piette


an impressionist painter of markets and more

a close friend of Pissarro and more

Was Ludovic Piette an Impressionist?
If Piette is mentioned at all in books on Impressionism, he mostly is just mentioned as a friend of Camille Pissarro. On the internet there also is not much information on him. The English Wikipedia site is very brief (iR3). The number of pictures are limited. Often his year of death is (wrongly) rendered as 1877.
Ludovic Piette was a close friend of Camille Pissarro and often painted in the surroundings of Pontoise. It is unknown if Piette was acquainted with other members of the school of Pontoise like Béliard, Cézanne, Gauguin, Guillaumin and Vignon. Piette had contacts with related painters like Manet and Chintreuil. Did Piette also take part at the meetings in Café Guerbois? Were there other painters that stayed at his residence in Monfoucault except Pissarro and Manet? Much is unknown, but probably Piette was a side-figure of the ‘impressionist’ art-movement.
Sure is that Piette didn’t join the Société anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc, nor the first two ‘impressionist’ expositions. At the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877 Piette was a sort of guest of honour, exhibiting 31 works. After his death in 1878, Pissarro (and others) honoured him by exhibiting posthumous with at least 5 and maybe 12 aquarelles of Piette at the 4th ‘impressionist’ exhibition in 1879. In this sense Piette was more a side-figure, but a well respected one, at least by Pissarro.
In his titles Piette mostly renders a (specific) indication of place. Regularly he also gives an indication of season, weather conditions and time of day. In his earlier works Piette used many greys and browns. Later on, stimulated by Pissarro, he left out black. In his later works Piette used very bright colours. In some of his later works he used colourful shades, but mostly they are quite grey. He rendered the influence of sunlight on the colours. Though his brushstroke is quite visibel, Piette didn’t use juxtaposed brushstrokes and he rendered many details. So you can say that his painting style developed from a more realist style to a mainly impressionist style. Piette died in 1878, a year when the most famous Impressionists were still developing their style to a full impressionist one. So maybe when he lived longer his works would have been equally admired like those of Monet, Pissarro and Sisley.

Ludovic Piette(-Montfoucault) at the Salon:
Piette made his debut at the Salon in 1857 (aR2;iR3;R9; note: Monneret probably made a writing error by mentioning 1875; R88). After that Piette almost yearly exhibited at the Salon: 1859 /61 /64/ 65/ 66/ 67/ 68/ 69/ 70/72 and 76. (iR1;R9) He only didn’t exhibit in 1863 /73 / 74 / 75. Some sources suggest that he stopped to submit to the Salon from 1873-75, because of lack of recognition and because he started to sell his works at Hôtel Drouot (aR27=R202). Piette was often mentioned Piette-Montfoucault or Piette-Monfoucault (iR1). See link for his exhibited works at the Salon. See link for an account.

Ludovic Piette only joined the 3rd  and 4th ‘impressionist’ exposition:
At the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877 Ludovic Piette showed as a sort of guest of honour 31 works (catalogue numbers 132 – 162) (R2,p205/6; note: not 30 works as some sources indicate; R88). Piette was invited by Pissarro (R1,p391;aR2;R116;iR3;aR4;R89). Paul Sébillot (1877/04/07) reviewed ‘There is a great deal of light in the painting by Piette, even … rather dazzling. (…) Piette … would do well not to exaggerate his Impressionism.’ Roger Ballu (1877/04/14) reviewed ‘There are, however, many weaknesses and mistakes among the numerous works he is showing.’ Louis de Fourcaud (alias Léon de Lora; 1877/04/10) reviewed: ‘Ludovic Piette is an artist who has captured the feeling of the swarming movement of a crowd. He has a predilection for markets; I count up to ten in his exhibition. (…) Perhaps they are to be blamed for an excessive flickering of colours.’ Jacques (1877/04/11) remarks ’the unusual accuracy of the sites.’ and ‘He draws from his palette a thousand shades of light that intertwine, dazzle – and charm.’ (R2,p230;R90I,p125+156+162+190;R89,p66).
At the 4th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1879 there was a memorial show of Piette (R2,p260). The name ‘Feu Piette’ was on the title page of the catalogue (R2,p263), but the works were not mentioned in the catalogue. Probably they were all aquarelles (R2,p252+271), at least 5 or 7 different titles were mentioned in 6 different reviews (R90I;R2,p263); perhaps there was a dozen or so exhibited (R2,p260), at least several (R116); I suggest there were 8 watercolours exhibited. Pissarro took initiative for the exhibition of his works (R116;R9) and maybe also Duranty (R2,p263).
Piette stood reserved to an association of painters, being afraid that narrow-minded, incompetent artists without moral and political convictions. He expressed so in a letter to Pissarro summer 1873 (R8,p206). He didn’t join the Société anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc, nor the first two ‘impressionist’ exhibitions (R2). The relationship with Monet and Renoir was reserved (iR4). They hadn’t attended the one-man show in Paris (in 1877), which gave Piette some resentment: ‘The gentlemen of our association have not appeared (except for Cézanne and Guillaumin).’ (R89,p66).
See link for his exhibited works in 1877 and in 1879. See link for an account.


Piette as an artist:
Piette was a pupil of Faustin Besson (iR1;R259;aR27). Piette was a pupil of Thomas Couture; here he met Manet (iR23;aR2;iR3;R3;R88;aR27), who attended this atelier from 1850-56 (R71,p12). Piette (later on) also was a pupil of Isidore Pils (iR23;aR2;iR3;R88). Piette also attended atelier Suisse (aR2;iR3;R5,p19;R88;aR27). Some sources mention that it was there that Piette met Manet (and Chintreuil) (iR69;iR4;R16); but Manet never attended atelier Suisse (R71,p12). Piette was befriended with Chintreuil (R88;iR4).
Piette was a close friend of  Pissarro (iR23;aR2;iR4;R1,p50). They met around 1860; probably at atelier Suisse (R116;iR3;aR2;R3;aR4;R89;aR27) or maybe through Antoine Chintreuil (R116;aR2;aR27); anyway Pissarro portrayed Piette in 1861 (R116,CCP51;R88;aR27).

Pissarro stayed 6x at his residence in Monfoucault (often written as Montfoucault) from 1864-1876 (R116,Vol.2,p89;aR4;iR23;aR2;aR27). Montfoucault was a farm (R17,p243;R8,p172;R1,p109). Pissarro stayed there 1864/10 – 1864/11 (R116;R88), Rewald claims this was in the summer (R1,109); 1870/09 – 1870/12: during this stay a daughter of Pissarro was born and died (R116;aR2;R5,p64;R1,p251;R88;aR27); 1874/10 – 1875/02 (R116;R5,p85;R1,p336;R88); 1875/Autumn (R116;R1,p363); 1875/Winter (R116); 1876/Autumn (R116;R5,p95). It is only 1874 onwards that Piette also payed visits at Pissarro’s home in Pontoise (iR23;aR2;aR27). Before that Piette also visited Pissarro in Louveciennes (R88), who lived there from 1869-72 (R116I,p125); though other sources suggests Piette only visited Pissarro in Pontoise (R89). Piette also supported Pissarro financially (iR23). They also corresponded from 1863-1877; there are 48 letters known (iR4;aR3;iR3;aR2;R89;R202). Manet would also stay and paint at Piette his residence in Monfoucault (R9).
Duranty wrote about Piette in a preface of an auction catalogue in 1879: ‘Piette had from the beginning the precious quality of a rigorous drawing, which he has not lost any more, but which he has softened; and it is the best testimony of the strength of observation possessed by an attentive mind, which digs and feels deeply. (…) From the purely painterly point of view, the vivacity, the freshness, the delicacy of the shadows he likes to cast is a feature of his work. The lightness, the charm of the reflections, which an illuminated ground sends on all that it carries, is another. A sort of soft, fine, sparkling intoxication makes all his landscapes vibrate, (…) Piette was instinctively an impressionist, (…) (the objects are) very exactly expressed (…) the harmonious modulations, the bold lightness, the precision and the finesse that Piette has spread in his landscapes (…) Yes, this was a rare artist, a man of clear and naive feeling, whose spirit had the ingenuity and the high consciousness of the primitives, a painter of exquisite feeling.’ (aR13,p3-6=iR40).

His pictures are very lively and colourful (iR23). Piette is especially appreciated for his gouaches (iR23;R9;iR4). Piette painted landscapes, market places, flower pieces and scenes from literature (aR2). His paintings are hardly to be distinguished from those of Pissarro (R9,p172). Piette (stimulated by Pissarro) painted en-plein-air (iR69;aR2;iR4). He used fresh colours (iR4). Stimulated by Pissarro Piette abandoned black (iR69;iR4). Some works resemble those of Pissarro in subject matter, colour and handling (R89). But his painting was more precise and he often didn’t use loose touches (aR2). Piette didn’t really accept the impressionist technique nor all the innovations (aR27=R202). He lacked the talent, creativity and daring of his friend Pissarro, which Piette himself acknowledged: ‘you will go much further than me, for I will remain a watercolourist’ (R116). His style was more realistic (Diego Martelli) (R9). Duret wrote in 1878 that he is one of the artists closely linked to the 5 key Impressionists (R142,p131/2), but in a later edition he left him out (R7). Monneret calls him a ‘great amature of impressionist works’ (R88I,p652).
Piette almost yearly sold his gouaches at Hôtel Drouot from 1872-77 (aR8-12;aR2;iR23). Père Martin was his dealer (aR2;aR27). He probably didn’t sell many works (aR2). Financially he didn’t need to (R9;R116). Diego Martelli described him in 1880 as ’the clearest soul and the clearest brush that I have seen’ (R88I,p652;aR27). Le comte Doria, dr. Gachet and Hoschedé collected his works (R88). Around 1863 Piette was the teacher of Louise Darru (iR24;R88). Piette painted much in Monfoucault, in Pontoise when he visited Pissarro, in Dinan, Saint-Malo, Vitré, Lassay, Le Mans (aR27).


Piette, a short biography:

  • 1826/05/11: Ludovic Piette was born in Niort (Deux-Sèvres) (iR4;aR2;iR3;R3;iR1;iR23;iR24;R259;aR27;R202), about 420km south-west of Paris. Schurr & Cabanne mention (wrongly) Piette was born in 1825 (R9).
  • His parents were rather rich (R9); he came from a noble family from Lassay (Mayenne) (aR27=R202).
  • 1854: After the death of his parents / father Piette inherited the family estate of Monfoucault (often written as Montfoucault) in Melleray-la-Vallée  (R116), about 260km west-south of Paris (iR9); others sources mention this was in 1862 (aR2;iR4) or in 1864 (iR3). Some render his name as Piette-Montfoucault (R259).
  • 1857-59: Piette dwelled at 96, Rue Blanche, Paris (iR1;aR27)
  • 1859: Piette bought a house at 31, Rue Véron, 18e arrondissement, Paris, the number later changed into 35 (aR2;R116;aR27); maybe it was just a studio (R89). It is confirmed he still lived there in 1861 (iR1) and also from 1870-77 (iR1;R2,p205). In 1910 his wife would die there (aR2).
  • 1862/03/31 (or: 1862/04/17): married Adèle Lévy (aR2;R116;aR27).
  • 1862: Piette settled permanently at the family estate of Monfoucault at Melleray-la-Vallée (R116;aR2;iR4;iR3;aR27).
  • 1864-69: Piette rendered for the Salon an address at M. Drouelle, 44, Rue de Constantine (la Chapelle), Paris (iR1); La Gazette also renders this address in 1870/04 (R259)
  • 1870/08/06: Piette was appointed as city councillor of Melleray; he would withdraw 1874/05/03, but was elected again in 1876/09/17 and 1878/01/06 (aR2;R116;aR27).
  • 1872/03/11: sale at Hôtel Drouot of 80 watercolours and gouaches (aR8;iR40;aR4;R116).
  • 1873/04/05: sale at Hôtel Drouot of  77 watercolours (aR9;iR19;aR4;R116)
  • 1874/01: first sale of the Hoschedé collection, including works of Piette (R88)
  • 1874/02/21: sale at Hôtel Drouot of  85 watercolours (aR10;iR19;iR40;aR4;R116)
  • 1875/03/75: sale at Hôtel Drouot of  78 watercolours (aR11;iR19;iR40;aR4;R116)
  • 1877/03/24: sale at Hôtel Drouot of  50 watercolours (aR12;aR4;R116)
  • 1878/04/14: Piette died in Monfoucault (aR2;iR3;iR24;R116;R9;R88;aR27;R202) or in Paris (iR3;iR24); he died of cancer of which he suffered for years (R116,vol2,p89;aR4).
    Several sources (also) mention that Piette died in 1877 (iR23;iR11;iR69;R3;R8,p172;R16;R89)
  • 1879/02/20: a posthumous sale in Hôtel Drouot, with a preface by Duranty; 122 watercolours + 29 studies (aR13;iR19;iR70;aR2)
  • 1882/02/17: posthumous sale in Hôtel Drouot; 31 paintings + 29 watercolours + 7 heightened drawings (aR14;iR19;iR40;aR2)
  • 1882/04/14: sale in Hôtel Drouot; 67 paintings + 40 watercolours + 23 drawings (aR15;iR19;aR2)
  • 1910: his wife Adèle Lévy died at 35 (former 31), Rue Véron, Paris (aR2;aR27).
  • 1929: posthumous solo exhibition at the Dru gallery in Paris; introduction to the catalogue by A. Tabarant (iR70;R116;aR27=R202).
  • 1979: the Musée Pissarro (or: Tavet-Delacour) in Pontoise showed an exhibition with works of Piette (and Pissarro and Daubigny) (iR70;iR23).
  • in Pontoise there is a Rue Ludovic Piette (iR3)

In many sources on Impressionism and important impressionist artitsts Ludovic Piette is not mentioned at all (R4;R6;R7;R19;R21;R22;R86;R94;R95;R102;R166;R181). My main sources are Rewald (1973=R1), Moffett (1986=R2), Walther (2013=R3,p687), Denvir (1993=R5;1992=R8), Schurr&Cabanne (2008=p590/1), Spiess (1996=R16,p256), Monneret (1978-81=R88I,p651/2), Pissarro & Durand-Ruel (2005,vol.II,p68=R116), the Salon database (iR1), Wikipedia (iR3;iR4), Joconde (iR23), RKD (iR24), Bénézit (iR69), Grove (iR70) and the additional sources (aR). For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are the-athenaeum (iR2,7x), Wikimedia (iR6,9x), Mutualart (iR11), Artnet (iR13), Joconde, (iR23,12x,with additional info) and the additional references (aRx). For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.

For further reading:
Bénézit (1976,vol.8,p328=R75), Bénézit (1999,vol.10,p919=R76), Busse (1977,p977=R77), Witt(1978,p245=R78), Thieme/Becker (1907-50,vol.27,p30=R79), Allgemeines Künstlerlexicon (1999-2000,vol.7,p776=R81) (iR24).
Maillet, Edda, Catherine Lobstein & André Watteau: Camille Pissarro, Charles-François Daubigny, Ludovic Piette, exhibition catalogue. Musée Tavet-Delacour, Pontoise, 1978 (iR69;R116). Including 83 works of Piette (aR4).
Bailly-Herzberg, Janine (ed.): Mon cher Pissarro; Lettres de Ludovic Piette à Camille Pissarro. Valhermeil, Paris, 1985. (In French, 143p.) (=R202;iR24;iR70;iR3;aR3;iR23;R3;aR27)
xx: Ludovic Piette 1826-1878. Exhibition catalogue in French; 32p. Musée Tavet-Delacour, Pontoise, 1997. (iR24;R116)

Additional references:

  1. Musée Tavet-Delacour, Pontoise (the museum owns at least 10 works of Piette, they are on display in the dependance Musée Camille Pissarro; iR23)
  2. www.van-gogh.fr (info on Piette; not secured=iR77)
  3. www.inlibroveritas.net (extracts of the correspondance between Piette and Pissarro).
  4. www.ludovic-piette.com (info + beautiful pictures on Piette; secured, some advertisements)
  5. www.ville-pontoise.fr (short biography on Piette with self-portrait)
  6. www.ville-pontoise.fr (a school named after Ludovic Piette)
  7. www.YouTube.com (short video on Piette)
  8. gallica.bnf.fr//bpt6k1243393c (PDF catalogue of the Hôtel Drouot sale 1872/03/11 of 80 Aquarelles de Ludovic Piette; =iR40)
  9. archive.org//31072002497792 (PDF catalogue of the Hôtel Drouot sale 1873/04/05 of 77 Aquarelles de Ludovic Piette; =iR19)
  10. archive.org//31072002496331 (PDF catalogue of the Hôtel Drouot sale 1874/02/21 of 85 Aquarelles de Ludovic Piette; =iR19; link to gallica.bnf.fr)
  11. archive.org//31072002503821 (PDF catalogue of the Hôtel Drouot sale 1875/03/23 of 78 Aquarelles de Ludovic Piette; =iR19; see link to gallica.bnf.fr)
  12. gallica.bnf.fr//bpt6k1241746g (catalogue of the Hôtel Drouot sale 1877/03/24 of 50 Aquarelles de Ludovic Piette; =iR40)
  13. archive.org//31072001539032 (PDF catalogue of the Hôtel Drouot sale 1879/02/20 of Aquarelles (1-122) et études (123-151) de Ludovic Piette + a preface by Duranty; =iR19)
  14. archive.org//31072002495861 (PDF catalogue of the posthumous Hôtel Drouot sale 1882/02/17 of Tableaux (1-31), Aquarelles (32-60) et dessins rehaussés (61-67) de Ludovic Piette; =iR19; see link to gallica.bnf.fr)
  15. archive.org//31072002495614 (PDF catalogue of the Hôtel Drouot sale 1882/04/14 of Tableaux (1-67), Aquarelles (68-107) et dessins (108-130) de Ludovic Piette; =iR19)
  16. gallica.bnf.fr//Piette_L. (Gallica doesn’t have an exclusive catagory for Ludovic Piette; this search also renders many documents not related to Ludovic Piette; =iR40)
  17. gallica.bnf.fr//bpt6k1242053h (1883/03/11 Hôtel Drouot sale with 1 work by Piette: no.48, Vue prise à Boulay (Mayenne), aquarelle; =iR40)
  18. gallica.bnf.fr//bpt6k1244795w (1876/11/13 Hôtel Drouot sale with 2 works by Piette: no.52+53, Paysage, aquarelle; =iR40)
  19. gallica.bnf.fr//bpt6k1244403m (1888/01/23 Hôtel Drouot sale with 1 work of Piette: no. 79, Paysage, printemps, gouache; =iR40)
  20. gallica.bnf.fr//bpt6k12477522 (1914/04/01  Hôtel Drouot sale with 2 works of Piette: no. 54, La Batteuse, gouache, 23×32 (voir reproduction) + 55, Petites études de têtes, plumes et lavis; =iR40)
  21. gallica.bnf.fr//bpt6k12440282 (1891/03/26, Hôtel Drouot sale with 3 works of Piette: no. 213, Une rue de village, aquarelle gouachée; 214, Intérieur d’une cour de ferme, aquarelle gouachée; 215, Vue des bords de la Seine, aquarelle gouachée; =iR40)
  22. gallica.bnf.fr//bpt6k12418670 (1877/01/27, Hôtel Drouot sale with 1 work of Piette, no.89, Effet d’hiver à Juvigny, gouache; =iR40)
  23. gallica.bnf.fr//bpt6k12446660 (1887/05/11, Hôtel Drouot sale with 1 work of Piette (L.), no. 70, Paysage; =iR40)
  24. gallica.bnf.fr//bpt6k1244341z (1891/12/11, Hôtel Drouot sale with 1 work of Piette (L.), no. 28, Fleurs des champs; =iR40)
  25. gallica.bnf.fr//bpt6k12444130 (1890/01/27, Hôtel Drouot sale; Piette (L.), no. 32, Fleurs dans un vase; =iR40)
  26. gallica.bnf.fr//bpt6k1244294r (1892/03/03, Hôtel Drouot sale with 1 work of Piette, no.96, Pâturages coupés par un cours d’eau, aquarelle; =iR40)
  27. ludovic-piette.com (website with info and pictures on Ludovic Piette; the biography is derived from R202)x


Recommanded citation: “Ludovic Piette, an impressionist painter of markets and more / a close friend of Pissarro and more. Last modified 2024/01/29.  https://www.impressionism.nl/piette-ludovic/.”

Note: in the future I will render a thematical overview of the titles of his exhibited works, including the works auctioned at Hôtel Drouot.