Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Guillaumin, Armand

oil on canvas
size unknown
private collection

Armand Guillaumin (1841-1927), was a French impressionist painter and lithographer. Born in Paris in a working-class family, he worked at his uncle's lingerie shop while attending evening drawing lessons. In 1860 he was engaged as employee on the Paris-Orleans French government railway line. From 1868 on, he worked as a night working employee in order to be able to paint during day time.

At the beginning of the 1870s, he worked with Pissarro in Pontoise, a village of farmers hardly affected by industrialization where Pissarro had settled, sharing with him his love for landscapes and making his Pissarro's style and carefully constructed pictorial composition. Cezanne settled in Pontoise in 1872 to better follow the instructions of his mentor, Pissarro. Cezanne made a portrait of Guillaumin entitled "Guillaumin at the Hanged man".

Guillaumin maintained lifelong friendships with Pissarro and Cezanne. While he never achieved the stature of these two, his influence on their work was significant. Cezanne attempted his first etching based on Guillaumin paintings of barges on the River Seine. In 1886 he became a friend of Vincent van Gogh whose brother, Theo sold some of his works. He was finally able to quit his government job and concentrate on painting full-time in 1891, when he won 100,000 francs in the state lottery.

Noted for their intense colours, Guillamin's paintings are represented in major museums around the world. He was called the leader of the Ecole de Crozant, a diverse group of painters who came to depict the landscape in the region of the Creuse around the village of Crozant.