Definitions

Pissarro

Pissarro

[pi-sahr-oh; Fr. pee-sa-roh]
Pissarro, Camille, 1830-1903, French impressionist painter, b. St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. In Paris from 1855, he came under the influence of Corot and the Barbizon school. Later he allied himself with the impressionists, and was represented in all of the eight impressionist exhibitions (1874-1886). In 1884 he experimented with the theories of color devised by Seurat. Abandoning divisionism in the 1890s, he reverted to a freer, more vital interpretation of nature. It was not until then that his works began to be popular. Pissarro's warmth and generosity made him an endearing figure to many French painters. He was especially beloved as teacher and friend to Gauguin, Cézanne, and Cassatt. His son Lucien was also his pupil. Pissarro's paintings are in many leading American collections, including Le Fond de l'Hermitage (Cleveland Mus. of Art) and Bather in the Woods (Metropolitan Mus.).

See his works ed. by J. Rewald (1963); his Letters to his Son Lucien ed. by J. Rewald (1943); W. S. Meadmore, Lucien Pissarro (1963).

Self-portrait by Camille Pissarro, oil on canvas, 1903; in the Tate Gallery, London.

(born July 10, 1830, St. Thomas, Danish West Indies—died Nov. 13, 1903, Paris, France) West Indian-born French painter. The son of a prosperous Jewish merchant, he moved to Paris in 1855. His earliest canvases are broadly painted figure paintings and landscapes; these show the careful observation of nature that was to remain a characteristic of his art. In 1871 he took a house in Pontoise, in the countryside outside Paris. These surroundings formed the theme of his art for some 30 years. Pissarro's leading motifs during the 1870s and 1880s were houses, factories, trees, haystacks, fields, labouring peasants, and river scenes. In these works, forms do not dissolve but remain firm, and colours are strong; during the latter part of the 1870s his comma-like brushstrokes frequently recorded the sparkling scintillation of light. These works were admired by the Impressionist artists; Pissarro was the only Impressionist painter who participated in all eight of the group's exhibitions. Despite acute eye trouble, his later years were his most prolific.

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