was born in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, and moved to Paris in
1855, where he studied with the French landscape painter Camille
Corot. At first associated with the Barbizon school, Pissarro subsequently
joined the Impressionists and was represented in all their exhibitions.
Pissarro's period of residence in England during the Franco-Prussian
War and the Commune (1870-71) was fruitful. After his return
to France, he was a key instigator of the first Impressionist Exhibition
in 1874, and was the only member of the group to exhibit in all
eight Impressionist Exhibitions.
Pissarro was one of the most innovative of the Impressionists, always
searching for new means of expression. He was among the first
to divide colors, as in his painting
The Garden of Les Mathurins
at Pontoise, 1876 (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art,
Kansas City), where the sunlit path is made up of brushstrokes of
pink, blue, white and yellow ochre. Pissarro also excelled
at drawing; the largest collection of his drawings is in the
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
the 1880s, Pissarro joined a younger generation of artists, including
Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, and his own son Lucien, in adopting
the Neo-Impressionist technique, which used the claims of science
to support a new style of painting. In common with many
artists and writers of his day, he became a fervent anarchist.
He produced a significant attack on French bourgeois society in
his album of anarchist drawings, Turpitudes Socials, 1889.
gradually abandoned Neo-Impressionism in the 1890s, preferring
a style that better enabled him to capture his sensations of nature.
While continuing to depict the landscape and peasants at his rural
home in Eragny, he also embarked on a new adventure: cityscape
painting. In his portrayals of Paris, Rouen, Le Havre and
Dieppe, he explored changing effects of light and weather, while
expressing the dynamism of the modern city.
Pissarro was actively painting up until the end of his life.
He died in Paris in 1903, age 73.
by Camille Pissarro featured on this website: