Episode #6 of the course “Impressionist artists who changed the art world”
A father figure to the Impressionists in Paris, Camille Pissarro had an accomplished style that adapted to the theories tested in 19th-century painting. Pissarro was a supportive friend to many other Impressionists artists and had a heavy influence on the art world during Impressionism and post-Impressionism. Known for his daring use of color and perspective, he often painted landscapes and outdoor scenes that depicted what he saw rather than an idealized version.
Camille Pissarro was a Danish painter born on the isle of St. Thomas in the Caribbean, but he resided for much of his life in Paris. At age 12 he was sent to boarding school in France, where he developed an interest and talent for painting. After completing schooling he traveled South America with artists, developing his technique before his return to Paris in 1855. During his travels, he kept sketchbooks thick with the sights of landscapes, people, and nature that he encountered.
Village at the Foot of a Hill in Saint Thomas, Antilles
Entrée du village de Voisins
Of his early works from before 1871, few survive. When the Franco-Prussian War began, Pissarro and his family moved to England. On his return, he found over 1,000 paintings had been destroyed by soldiers who resided in his house. Of those remaining, the Entrée du village de Voisins is one that shows his bright color palette and simple use of lines. In 1874, the Impressionist group held their first exhibit, and Pissarro’s piece Le grand noyer à l’Hermitage was one that shocked critics for its simplistic, unfinished quality and choppy brushstrokes.
Le grand noyer à l’Hermitage
La Récolte des Foins, Eragny
Later, Pissarro expanded his style to experiment with post-Impressionism and pointillism. His masterpiece La Récolte des Foins, Eragny is an example of the precision and dedication he spent using patterns of color to create a new kind of perspective. After experimenting with these new styles, Pissarro abandoned them for a more realistic approach to painting, which he continued until his death in 1903.
Boulevard Montmartre Morning, Grey Weather
“Work at the same time upon water, sky, branches, ground, keeping everything going on an equal basis and unceasingly rework until you have got it. Paint generously and unhesitatingly, for it is best not to lose the first impression.”
“Everything is beautiful, all that matters is to be able to interpret.”
“Work is a wonderful regulator of mind and body. I forget all sorrow, grief, bitterness, and I even ignore them altogether in the joy of working.”
“It is absurd to look for perfection.”
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