Friday, August 16, 2013

Camille Pissarro - Artist and Father Figure

In 1855, a young artist who would influence Impressionism and Post-Impressionism moved to France from Venezuela. Pissarro, part French (his father) and Creole (his mother), was born in 1830 on the island of St. Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands.

Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro and wife, Julie, 1877, PD*WC,

Camille Pissarro was a father role model to many of his fellow Impressionist painters, especially the younger artists. He wanted to 'paint without artifice and grandeur', to show real people in everyday settings. A few of the artists he influenced were: Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, Paul Cezanne, Paul Gaugin, and Vincent van Gogh. Pierre-Auguste Renoir called him 'revolutionary' for portraying the common man.

The Paris Salon, the historical arbiter of tasteful art, disliked the new style movement and refused some of the Impressionist painters in 1863. Pissarro had previously shown his work in the Salon, but now formed part of the Salon des Refuses (exhibition of rejects).

Impressionists preferred painting outdoors and highlighting the beauty in nature. This style of painting studied the effects of varying light levels, different seasons, and time of day on various subjects. The paintings were often completed in one sitting, with subsequent variations following. Pissarro's painting, Landscape at Pontoise, is shown below.

Landscape at Pontoise, 1874, Camille Pissarro *PD-WC

In 1859, Pissarro met Claude Monet, Armand Guillaumin and Paul Cezanne. All of these younger artists were also painting in the new realistic style. The commonality between these artists was their dissatisfaction with the Paris Salon. An art movement was gathering speed.

In 1871, Pissarro married his mother's maid, a vineyard grower's daughter, who became mother to their seven children. They lived in Pontoise and Louveciennes, both of which furnished him with ideas for his paintings.

Pissarro and fifteen aspiring artists established a collective society of painters in 1873. Called the Société Anonyme des Artistes, Peintres, Sculpteurs et Graveurs, it existed because Pissarro kept the group together. His gentle guidance and his encouragement of his fellow artists drew new artists to the group.


The Depths of Glory, by Irving Stone.

A fictional biography of Camille Pissarro, artist and father to the Impressionist movement. The Depths of Glory explores the artist's relationship with other great painters of the time. It's a great 'background' novel for learning about the art collective that Pissarro fostered. This title is one of three great books on artists by Irving Stone.


Did you know about the artist, Camille Pissarro? Do you like paintings or prefer a certain style? Have you heard of the book, Depths of Glory?

Please share in the comments. Let me know if you've seen Pissarro paintings or other Impressionist work in art galleries in your area. Thanks for visiting!


For more on the Artist - Camille Pissarro, wiki - Salon des Refuses

Image Credits
*PD = Public domain, WC= Wikipedia Commons

Photograph of Camille Pissarro and Wife

This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to Australia, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years

Painting, oil on canvas

The work of art depicted in this image and the reproduction thereof are in the public domain worldwide. The reproduction is part of a collection of reproductions compiled by The Yorck Project. The compilation copyright is held by Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH and licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.