St Thomas, West Indies * 1830-1903
Camille Pissarro was born on 10 July 1830 in St Thomas in the West Indies. One of the key impressionists, his early painting career saw him travel with Danish painter Fritz Melbye to Venezuela and after an odyssey, he settled in Paris. There, he studied at the École des Beaux Arts and at the Académie Suisse, where he became acquainted with Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne. In 1855 he attended the Paris World Exhibition where he saw the work of Camille Corot, who would go on to have a great influence on Pissarro’s work.
Like many successful artists of the day, Camille Pissarro exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1859, but two years later his work was rejected. As a result he made his entry in the alternative Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Rejected) in 1863.
During the 1866-69 he lived in Pontoise with his family and from this time date a number of important landscape paintings, including the “Gardens of the Hermitage, Pontoise” (1867-69). He continued this type of painting when he moved to Louveciennes in 1869.
In 1870-71 he stayed in England where he painted “Near Sydenham Hill, Looking towards Lower Norwood” (1871) and became increasingly influenced by impressionism, a movement in which he would come to play a key role in his life.
Pissarro continued to develop his work by including new subjects. Encouraged by Cézanne, he started to paint still-life in 1972-73 and possibly his “Self-portrait” of 1873 came about in this way.
Figures continue to feature in his work but are increasingly pushed to the foreground and take a more prominent role in the overall composition of his painting, as can be seen in works such a “Woman hanging the washing” (1887), “The market in Gisons” (1889) and “Picking Peas” (1893).
As can be seen, his last works bring in the new theme of cities in his landscape painting, particularly of Paris, including “The Louvre and the Seine from Pont Neuf ” (1902).
Camille Pissarro died on 13 November 1903 in Paris.