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Camille Pissarro Biography

    Birth Year : 1830
    Death Year : 1903
    Country : France

Camille Pissarro was born on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and did not live in Paris until he was 25. He studied at the Beaux-Arts and then with Jean- Baptiste Camille Corot , who he greatly admired and whose style influenced Pissarro's earliest works. Pissarro became interested in Courbet , who was more sympathetic to younger artists than was Corot. Some of Courbet's realism may be found in Pissarro's works of around 1863.

Pissarro was happy only in the country, and he settled in Louveciennes with his family in 1866. There he met and worked with Cezanne and remained until 1871. Then, with Monet , he fled to England to escape the Prussian invasion. It was during this visit to England that Daubigny introduced Pissarro to Paul Durand-Ruel, who became his art dealer. Upon Pissarro's return to France, Pissarro found his house sacked and more than a thousand canvases destroyed by soldiers. Undeterred in his desire to paint, Pissarro moved to Pontoise, where Paul Cezanne joined him (1872-1874) and where he later worked with Paul Gauguin. Neither of these two artistic masters ever forgot him and acknowledged their debt to his instruction until the end of their lives.

Pissarro's first completely Impressionist period, between 1870-1880, is characterized by a palette much lighter than his original, by a small comma-shaped brushstroke, and by a shimmering golden or silvery light that bathes the colors of his landscapes. Not satisfied with this own work, Pissarro experimented with Georges Seurat's Pointillism between 1886-1890 but abandoned this technique when he found his work becoming lifeless.

Strengthened by experimentation from 1890 until his death, Pissarro generated perfectly drawn and composed paintings that were rich in color and solid in volume. The most classical and humanistic of the Impressionists, Pissarro was important not only for his own serene art but also for stimulating Paul Cezanne's search for solidity, for contributing to Paul Gauguin's early training, and for his advice and counsel to the other younger members of the Impressionist group.