Monday, January 26, 2015

Artist of the Week: Camille Pissarro

 Camille Pissarro 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. Born July 10, 1830 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. to Abraham Gabriel Pissarro, and Rachel Manzano-Pomié, who was from the Dominican Republic. Camille Pissarro lived in St. Thomas until age 12, when he was sent to Paris to study. As a boy, Camille Pissarro earned acclaim for his budding talent as an artist. Pissarro returned to St. Thomas where he drew in his free time.

In 1852, Camille Pissarro traveled to Venezuela with the Danish artist Fritz Melbye, but was obligated to return to St. Thomas in 1847 to help his father run his general store. In 1855, Camille Pissarro had convinced his parents to allow him to pursue his dream of becoming a painter settling in France. He arrived in time to see the great World's Fair which included a large art section. Following the advice of Corot, whose landscapes he had admired at the fair, Pissarro was soon painting and sketching in small towns and villages near Paris, along the Seine, Oise and Marne rivers. Camille Pissarro studied at the Académie Suisse and formed friendships with Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, and other future members of the Impressionist group. By the late 1860s, his powerful realist landscapes, like "View from Louveciennes" (shown) were praised by the prominent critic Emile Zola. This landscape is one of the finest extant examples of Pissarro's earlier work. It was probably painted in the spring of 1870. The previous year Pissarro had moved from Pontoise to Louveciennes, a village a few miles west of Paris, where fellow Impressionists Renoir, Monet and Sisley were then active. Louveciennes overlooks the Seine and is close to the Forest and Park of Marly-le-Roi.

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