Camille Pissarro

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Pissarro, Camille

(kämē`yə pēsärō`), 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 SeuratSeurat, Georges
, 1859–91, French neoimpressionist painter. He devised the pointillist technique of painting in tiny dots of pure color. His method, called divisionism, was a systematic refinement of the broken color of the impressionists.
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. 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).

Pissarro, Camille


Born July 10, 1831, on the island of St. Thomas, in the West Indies; died Nov. 12, 1903, in Paris. French painter, one of the founders of impressionism.

Pissarro, who studied at the Académie Suisse in Paris from 1855 to 1861, was influenced by J. Constable, C. Corot, and J. F. Millet. Painting such modest subjects as rural landscapes and scenes of suburbs and boulevards, Pissarro revealed the charm and poetry of everyday objects and unveiled the inner aesthetic and spiritual qualities of what at first glance seem to be ordinary events in nature and in the life of man (Diligence à Louvesiennes, 1870; Museum of Impressionism, Paris). With a special subtlety, the artist masterfully rendered the transparency and moistness of air and the impression of rain that has just fallen or is approaching. At the same time, Pissarro preferred a more finished and more structured composition than most impressionists. He also gave more volume and definition to his forms. These features are evident in the works Plowed Earth (1874, A. S. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow) and Boulevard Montmartre (1897, Hermitage, Leningrad).

In the late 1880’s, Pissarro became influenced by neo-impressionism. He produced drawings, watercolors, etchings, and lithographs. Playing a leading role in the impressionist movement, Pissarro exerted a profound moral and artistic influence on his fellow impressionists and on artists of the younger generation. Politically, he was close to the left-wing movement.


Iudenich, I. V. Peizazhi Pissarro v Ermitazhe. Leningrad, 1963.
Kamil’ Pissarro: Pis’ma, kritika, vospominaniia sovremennikov. Moscow, 1974. [Translated from French. Introductory article, compilation and notes by K. G. Bogemskaia.]
Pissarro, L. R., and L. Venturi. Camille Pissarro, son art, son oeuvre, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1940.
Rewald, J. Camille Pissarro. New York, 1963.


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