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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pissarro, Camille


La route de Versailles a Louveciennes, effet de neige
1870
oil on canvas
38.4 x 46.4 cm
The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

In 1869, Pissarro settled in Louveciennes, a suburban village northwest of Paris frequented by the Impressionists. Pissarro often painted his own house and studio, which were situated on the north side of the village on the road to Versailles, in varying seasons and climatic conditions. When Paris was under siege during the Franco-Prussian War (1870 - 71), the Prussians garrisoned their troops in Pissarro's house, destroying most of his early paintings. This painting, one of his few surviving early works, reflects Pissarro's affinities with Claude Monet, a frequent houseguest, who was also attracted to this site.

"Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing." (Pissarro)

Camille Pissarro (1830 - 1903) was a French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter born on the island of St Thomas (now in the US Virgin Islands, but then in the Danish West Indies). His father was of French-Jewish origin, his mother was a Creole. Pissarro painted rural and urban French life, particularly landscapes in and around Pontoise, as well as scenes from Montmartre. His mature work displays an empathy for peasants and laborers, and sometimes evidences his radical political leanings.

His importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. As a stylistic forerunner of Impressionism, he is today considered a father figure not only to the Impressionists but to all four of the major Post-Impressionists, including Georges Seurat, Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. His influence on his fellow Impressionists is probably still underestimated; not only did he offer substantial contributions to Impressionist theory, but he also managed to remain on friendly, mutually respectful terms with such difficult personalities as Edgar Degas, Cezanne and Gauguin.

Pissarro married Julie Vellay, a maid in his mother's household. Of their eight children, one died at birth and one daughter died aged nine. The surviving children all painted. He died in Paris on 13 November 1903. During his lifetime, he sold few of his oil paintings.
"He was a father for me. A man to consult and a little like the good Lord." (Cezanne)
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard