Louis Leroy on "Gelée Blanche"
Gelée Blanche was one of the paintings Pissarro exhibited at the first Impressionist show, in 1874.
"Oh, it was indeed a strenuous day, when I ventured into the first exhibition on the boulevard des Capucines in the company of M. Joseph Vincent, landscape painter, pupil of [the academic master] Bertin, recipient of medals and decorations under several governments! The rash man had come there without suspecting anything; he thought that he would see the kind of painting one sees everywhere, good and bad, rather bad than good, but not hostile to good artistic manners, to devotion to form, and respect for the masters. Oh, form! Oh, the masters! We don't want them any more, my poor fellow! We've changed all that... Bertin's pupil, believing that I was being ironical, contented himself with shrugging his shoulders, not taking the trouble to answer. Then, very quietly, with my most naive air, I led him before the Ploughed Field [Gelée blanche] of M. Pissarro. At the sight of this astounding landscape, the good man thought that the lenses of his spectacles were dirty. He wiped them carefully and replaced them on his nose."
"By Michalon!' he cried. 'What on earth is that?"
"You see ... a hoar-frost on deeply ploughed furrows."
"Those furrows ? That frost ? But they are palette-scrapings placed uniformly on a dirty canvas. It has neither head nor tail, top nor bottom, front nor back."
"Perhaps ... but the impression is there."
"Well, it's a funny impression!"
Louis Leroy "Exhibition of the Impressionists," Charivari, April 25, quoted in Rewald, The History of Impressionism
The First Impressionist Show