Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro (July 10 1830 – November 13 1903) was a French Impressionist painter. His importance resides not only in his visual contributions to Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, but also in his patriarchal standing among his colleagues, particularly Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin.

Early life and work

Jacob-Abraham-Camille Pissarro [Wold Eiermann, "Camille Pissarro 1830 – 1903," in Christoph Becker, "Camille Picasso" (Hatje Cantz: Ostfildern-Ruit, 1999), 1.] was born in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, to Abraham Gabriel Pissarro, a Portuguese Sephardic Jew, and Rachel Manzana-Pomié, from the Dominican Republic. Pissarro lived in St. Thomas until age 12, when he went to a boarding school in Paris. He returned to St. Thomas where he drew in his free time. Pissarro was attracted to political anarchy, an attraction that may have originated during his years in St. Thomas. In 1852, he traveled to Venezuela with the Danish artist Fritz Melbye. In 1855, Pissarro left for Paris, where he studied at various academic institutions (including the École des Beaux-Arts and Académie Suisse) and under a succession of masters, such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, and Charles-François Daubigny. Corot is sometimes considered Pissarro's most important early influence; Pissarro listed himself as Corot’s pupil in the catalogues to the 1864 and 1865 Paris Salons. [ [ Pissarro Exhibition PowerPoint with sound] ]

His finest early works (See Jalais Hill, Pontoise, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) [ ] are characterized by a broadly painted (sometimes with palette knife) naturalism derived from Courbet, but with an incipient Impressionist palette.

Pissarro married Julie Vellay, a maid in his mother's household. Of their eight children, one died at birth and one daughter died aged nine. The surviving children all painted, and Lucien, the oldest son, became a follower of William Morris.

The London years

The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 compelled Pissarro to flee his home in Louveciennes in September 1870; he returned in June 1871 to find that the house, and along with it many of his early paintings, had been destroyed by Prussian soldiers. [Pissarro, Joachim, "Cézanne & Pissarro 1865–1885", page 233. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2005.] Initially his family was taken in by a fellow artist in Montfoucault, but by December 1870 they had taken refuge in London and settled at Westow Hill in Upper Norwood (today better known as Crystal Palace, near Sydenham). A Blue Plaque currently marks the site of the house on the building at 77a Westow Hill.

Through the paintings Pissarro completed at this time, we can glimpse back to the days when Sydenham was a small satellite town recently connected to the capital by the arrival of the railway. One of the most appreciated of these paintings is a view of "St Bartholomew’s Church" at the end of Lawrie Park Avenue, commonly known as [ "The Avenue, Sydenham,"] in the collection of the London National Gallery. Twelve oil paintings date from his stay in Upper Norwood and are listed and illustrated in the catalogue raisonné prepared jointly by his fifth child Ludovic-Rodolphe Pissarro and Lionello Venturi and published in 1939. These paintings include "Norwood Under the Snow," and "Lordship Lane Station", [ [] entry for Pissarro Lordship Lane] views of The Crystal Palace relocated from Hyde Park, "Dulwich College", "Sydenham Hill", "All Saints Church", and a lost painting of St. Stephen’s Church.

Whilst in Upper Norwood, Pissarro was introduced to the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, who bought two of his 'London' paintings. Durand-Ruel subsequently became the most important art dealer of the new school of French Impressionism.

In 1890 Pissarro returned to England and painted some ten scenes of central London. He came back again in 1892, painting in Kew Gardens and Kew Green, and also in 1897, when he produced several oils of Bedford Park, Chiswick. For more details of his British visits, see Nicholas Reed, "Camille Pissarro at Crystal Palace" and "Pissarro in West London"," published by Lilburne Press.

Art and legacy

Known as the "Father of Impressionism", [ [ "The Radical Eye of Impressionism's Patriarch", New York Times.] ] Pissarro painted rural and urban French life, particularly landscapes in and around Pontoise, as well as scenes from Montmartre. His mature work displays an empathy for peasants and laborers, and sometimes evidences his radical political leanings. He was a mentor to Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin and his example inspired many younger artists, including Californian Impressionist Lucy Bacon.

Pissarro's influence on his fellow Impressionists is probably still underestimated; not only did he offer substantial contributions to Impressionist theory, but he also managed to remain on friendly, mutually respectful terms with such difficult personalities as Edgar Degas, Cézanne and Gauguin. Pissarro exhibited at all eight of the Impressionist exhibitions. Moreover, whereas Monet was the most prolific and emblematic practitioner of the Impressionist style, Pissarro was nonetheless a primary developer of Impressionist technique.

Pissarro experimented with Neo-Impressionist ideas between 1885 and 1890. Discontented with what he referred to as "romantic Impressionism," he investigated Pointillism which he called "scientific Impressionism" before returning to a purer Impressionism in the last decade of his life.

In March 1893, in Paris, Gallery Durand-Ruel organized a major exhibition of 46 of Pissarro's works along with 55 others by Antonio de La Gandara. But while the critics acclaimed Gandara, their appraisal of Pissarro's art was less enthusiastic.

Pissarro died in Éragny-sur-Epte on either November 12 or November 13, 1903 and was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. On his tomb it reads 12 November 1903.

During his lifetime, Camille Pissarro sold few of his paintings. By 2005, however, some of his works were selling in the range of U.S. $2 to 4 million. [cite web |url= |title =Artnet Auction Report|author= Waltzer, Stewart]

Descendants and family

Camille's great-grandson, Joachim Pissarro, is currently the Head Curator of Drawing and Painting at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. His great-granddaughter, Lélia, is a successful painter and resides in London. [cite web | url=|title=MOMA names two curators - Artworld - Ann Temkin and Joachim Pissarro - Brief Article|publisher=Art in America, Nov, 2003] From the only daughter of Camille, - Jeanne Pissarro, other painters include Henri Bonin-Pissarro also known as BOPI (1918-2003) and Claude Bonin-Pissarro (born 1921), who is the father of Frédéric Bonin-Pissarro (born 1964).



Primary sources

* Rewald, John, ed., with the assistance of Lucien Pissarro: "Camille Pissarro, Lettres à son fils Lucien", Editions Albin Michel, Paris 1950; previously published, translated to English: "Camille Pissarro, Letters to his son Lucien", New York 1943 & London 1944; 3rd revised edition, Paul P Appel Publishers, 1972 ISBN 0-911-85822-9
* Bailly-Herzberg, Janine, ed.: " _fr. Correspondance de Camille Pissarro", 5 volumes, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1980 & Editions du Valhermeil, Paris, 1986–1991 ISBN 2-13-036694-5 - ISBN 2-905-684-05-4 - ISBN 2-905-684-09-7 - ISBN 2-905684-17-8 - ISBN 2-905684-35-6
* Thorold, Anne, ed.: "The letters of Lucien to Camille Pissarro 1883–1903", Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York & Oakleigh, 1993 ISBN 0-521-39034-6

Further reading

* Clement, Russell T. and Houze, Annick, " Neo-Impressionist Painters: A Sourcebook on Georges Seurat, Camille Pissarro, Paul Signac, Theo Van Rysselberghe, Henri Edmond Cross, Charles Angrand, Maximilien Luce, and Albert Dubois-Pillet" (1999), Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-30382-7
* Eitner, Lorenz, "An Outline of 19th Century European Painting: From David through Cézanne" (1992), HarperCollins Publishers, ISBN 0-064-30223-7
* Nochlin, Linda, "The Politics of Vision: Essays on Nineteenth-Century Art and Society" (1991) Westview Press, ISBN 0-064-30187-7
* Rewald, John, " The History of Impressionism" (1961), Museum of Modern Art, ISBN 0-810-96035-4
* Stone, Irving, "Depths of Glory" (1987), Signet, ISBN 0-451-14602-6

Critical Catalogue of Paintings

In June 2006 publishers Skira/Wildenstein released a new definitive resource for Camille Pissarro's life and works in hardback, titled "Pissarro: Critical Catalogue of Paintings". Authors Joachim Pissarro (descendant of the painter) and Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts (descendant of the French art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel) helped to catalogue the richest and most comprehensive collection of Pissarro paintings to date. The 1,500-page, three-volume collection features never before seen photographs of Pissarro and his family, as well as an impressive assemblage of well-known and newly discovered works by the great impressionist master. The volumes are arranged chronologically and analyze various aspects of Pissarro's works with some accompanying images of preparatory drawings and studies on paper. ISBN 8-876-24525-1

See also

* "Hay Harvest at Éragny"
* Western painting
* History of painting

External links

* [ Profiles of Outstanding Virgin Islanders: Camille Pissarro] (includes link to photograph of Pissarro)
* [ of Pissarro's Mausoleum at Cimitiere Pere Lachaise, Paris] (JPG)
* [ Pissarro paintings, media & interactive timeline]

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