Friday, 15 July 2016

Camille Pissarro part - 1

1852c Camille Pissarro in Caracas

Jacob Abraham Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) was born on the island of St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies. His father was of Portuguese Jewish descent and held French Nationality. At the age of 12, Pissarro was sent to a boarding school in France, where he developed an early appreciation of the French masters. After completing his education Pissarro returned to St. Thomas where he was initially involved on the family mercantile business.

In 1849 Pissarro made the acquaintance of Danish artist Fritz Melbye, who encouraged him in his artistic endeavors. In 1852 Pissarro and Melbye left St. Thomas for Venezuela, where they lived and worked for the next few years.

1852-54 Market Scene on the Plaza Mayor,
Caracas Presidential Residence, La Casona, Caracas

In 1855 Pissarro returned to Paris, studying at the École des Beaux-Arts and Académie Suisse and working closely with painters Camille Corot and Gustave Courbet, honing his skills and experimenting with new approaches to art. Pissarro eventually fell in with a group of young artists, including Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne, who shared his interests and questions. The work of these artists was not accepted by the French artistic establishment, which excluded non-traditional painting from the official Salon exhibitions.

Though Pissarro kept a studio in Paris, he spent much of his time in the outskirts. He preferred to work in the open air rather than the studio, painting scenes of village life and the natural world.

1860-67 Route de Port-Marly
oil on panel 22.9 x 33.7 cm
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK

During this period he became involved with his mother’s maid, Julie Vellay, with whom he would have eight children and eventually marry in 1871. Their family life was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, which forced them to flee to London.

1870-71  No.77a Westow Hill, Crystal Palace

1871 The Avenue, Sydenham
oil on canvas 48 x 73 cm
The National Gallery, London


Returning to his home in France at the end of the conflict, Pissarro discovered that the majority of his existing body of work had been destroyed. He quickly rebounded from this setback and reconnected with his artists friends, including Cézanne,  Renoir and Degas.


In 1873 Pissarro established a collective of 15 artists with the goal of offering an alternative to the Salon. The following year, the group held their first exhibition. The unconventional content and style shocked critics and helped to define Impressionism as an artistic movement. For his part, Pissarro exhibited five paintings, including “Hoar Frost.” They would hold several more exhibitions over the coming years, though the group slowly began to drift apart.

1873 Hoarfrost
oil on canvas 65 x 93 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

By the 1880s Pissarro had moved into the Post-Impressionist period, returning to some of his earlier themes and exploring new techniques such as Pointillism.

1886 Railway to Dieppe
oil on canvas
Private Collection

He also forged new friendships with artists including Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, and was an early admirer of Vincent Van Gogh. While in keeping with his life-long interest in innovation, Pissarro’s turning away from Impressionism contributed to the general decline of the movement, which he had influenced greatly.

In his later years, Pissarro suffered from a recurring eye infection that prevented him from working outdoors for much of the year. As a result of this disability, he often painted while looking out of the window of a hotel room. He painting many series of views of Paris by this method.

Pissarro died in Paris in November 1903, and is buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

I hope the story of Pissarro’s life and work will be of interest because it will be a major series running over the next few weeks. Though I haven’t included absolutely every piece of Pissarro’s work, I will however be featuring well over a thousand examples, the better to understand his legacy.


This is part 1 of a 21-part series on the works of Camille Pissarro:

1850-59 Laundress on the Banks of the River
oil on paper mounted on panel 23.5 x 16 cm
Private Collection

1853-54c Landscape with Figures by a River
watercolour over graphite 37.1 x 54.1 cm
Landscape with Figures by a River

1854 Bridge at Caracas
watercolour over graphite 24 x 30.5 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

1854-55 Landscape with House in the Woods in Saint Thomas, Antilles
oil on canvas 24.2 x 31.5 cm
Private Collection

1854-55 Mountain Landscape at Saint Thomas, Antilles (unfinished)
oil on canvas 27.2 x 34.9 cm
Private Collection

1854-55c Village at the Foot of a Hill in Saint Thomas, Antilles
oil on canvas 24 x 30.7 cm
Private Collection

1854-55c Woman Carrying a Pitcher on Her Head
oil on canvas
E. G. Bührle Collection, Zurich, Switzerland

1855-57 Young Black Woman Sitting
charcoal and white chalk on beige-blue paper 30.2 x 43.2 cm
Private Collection

1856 A Creek in St. Thomas
oil on academy board 24.5 x 32.2 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

1856 Antilian Landscape, St. Thomas
oil on canvas 32.7 x 45.7
Private Collection

1856 House by a Country Road with Figures
oil on canvas 32.7 x 40.7 cm
Private Collection

1856 Landscape with Farmhouse and Palm Trees
oil on cardboard 24.8 x 32.7 cm
National Gallery of Art, Caracas, Venezuela

1856 Two Women Chatting by the Sea
oil on canvas 41 x 27.7 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

1856c Antilles Landscape, Donkey and Rider on a Path
oil on board 21.8 x 16 cm
Private Collection

1857-58c Three Riders and Horses Galloping on a Plain
oil on canvas 30.3 x 59.1 cm
Private Collection

1857c The Harvest
oil on panel
Private Collection

1858 Picnic at Montmorency
oil on canvas 37 x 47 cm
Private Collection

1859 Grove of Trees
pen with brown and black ink, grey wash and graphite
on grey paper 24 x 31.3 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

1859 Houses by a Road
pen and brown ink with graphite on grey laid paper 24 x 31.5 cm
 National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

1859c A Lane in the Woods
oil on canvas 41 x 33 cm
Private Collection

1859c Horseman in the Forest
oil on canvas 39.5 x 32 cm
Private Collection


1861 La Butte, Montmartre
oil on canvas 27.5 x 22.2 cm
Private Collection

1862 A Rose Garden
oil on canvas 34.9 x 27.9 cm
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

1862 Donkeys in Pasture
oil on canvas mounted on board 37.1 x 75.8 cm
Private Collection

1862 La roulette des Bohemiens
oil on canvas
Private Collection

1862 White Horse and Hauler
oil on panel 24.3 x 33 cm
Private Collection

1863 By the Waterside
etching 28.2 x 21.4 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

1863 Farmyard
oil on canvas 38.1 x 47 cm
Private Collection

1863 The Telegraph Tower at Montmartre
oil on canvas 40.3 x 32.4 cm
Private Collection

1863 The Wood Cart
oil on canvas
Private Collection

1863 Village Corner
oil on panel 16 x 29.5 cm
Private Collection

1863-64c Figures at the Banks of the Marne, near Chennevières
charcoal heightened with white chalk 31 x 49 cm
National Galleries Scotland, Edinburgh

1863-65 The Marne River at Varenne-Saint-Hilaire
charcoal on wove paper 50.8 x 69.8 cm
Dallas Museum of Art, Texas

1863c Entering a Village
oil on canvas 33 x 41 cm
Private Collection

1863c La Varenne-Saint-Hilaire, View from Champigny
oil on canvas 49.6 x 74 cm
Szépmüvészeti Múzeum, Budapest, Hungary

1863c Landscape with Flock of Sheep and Haystacks
oil on panel 9.9. x 18.5 cm
Private Collection


1864 Landscape in Montfoucault
graphite on paper 31.1 x 46.2 cm
Art Institute of Chicago, IL

1864 Les bords de la Seine à Bougival
oil on canvas 24.4 x 32.4 cm
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge University, UK

1864 The Banks of the Marne
oil on canvas 82 x 108 cm
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, UK

1864-65 The Donkey Ride at Le Roche Guyon
oil on canvas 37 x 53 cm
Private Collection

1864-65c Landscape, Varenne-Saint-Hilaire
oil on canvas
Private Collection

1864-65c The Banks of the Marne at Cennevieres
watercolour, graphite and pen and brown ink on paper
Private Collection

1864-65c The Marne at Chennevières
oil on canvas 91.5 x 145.5 cm
National Galleries Scotland, Edinburgh

1864c Banks of a River with Barge
oil on canvas 10.2 x 18.7 cm
Private Collection

1864c The Road
oil on canvas 35.5 x 27 cm
Private Collection

1865 Barges at la Roche Guyon
oil on canvas
Musée Camille Pissarro, Pontoise, France

1865c Landscape at La Varenne-Saint-Hilaire
oil on canvas
Private Collection
1864 In the Woods
oil on canvas
Private Collection

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