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Camille Pissarro - French Impressionist Artist

Updated on August 23, 2009

Impressionist artist Camille Pissarro was born on July 10, 1830 in Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands to Portuguese and Dominican parents. At the age of 12 he was sent to boarding school in France. In 1852, Pissarro was studying art in Venezuela with artist Fritz Melby. He returned to France, Paris to be exact, in 1855. He studied art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Academie Suisse. In 1860, Pissarro began a relationship with Julie Vellay whom he eventually married; the couple had 8 children, two died in childhood. All of their surviving children became artists.

Pissarro had several of his paintings accepted by the Salon de Paris in 1864 and 1865. He is one of the painters known as a “father of Impressionism”, along with Monet. He mentored artists such as Cezanne and Gauguin. Pissarro showed his paintings at all of the Impressionist exhibitions; there were 8 in all. His paintings included landscapes and portraits of the French life he saw around him. Among his influences, Pissarro considered Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot to be the most important one.

During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), Pissarro and his family fled to London. Some of his better known paintings were executed while he was living in England. In later years, Pissarro experimented with Pointillism and other ideas about Impressionism, but always came back to “traditional” Impressionism.

Camille Pissarro died on November 13, 1903 of a prostate abscess.

Pissarro remains one of the lesser-known French Impressionists even though as stated, he was one of the pioneers of the movement.

Camille Pissarro Quotes

Everything is beautiful, all that matters is to be able to interpret.

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.

Work at the same time on sky, water, branches, ground, keeping everything going on an equal basis... Don't be afraid of putting on colour... Paint generously and unhesitatingly, for it is best not to lose the first impression.

The garden of Pontoise 1875

View of Rouen 1898

Morning, Winter Sunshine, Frost, the Pont-Neuf, the Seine, the Louvre, Soleil D'hiver Gella Blanc1901

Self-portrait 1903


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  • Uninvited Writer profile image

    Susan Keeping 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks for commenting everyone. Hard to believe my first hub challenge was already 3 months ago!

  • Princessa profile image

    Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

    Lovely pictures, full of life.

    I like his quote: "Everything is beautiful, all that matters is to be able to interpret". I also like this other one: "It is absurd to look for perfection."

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    Iphigenia 8 years ago

    Lovely hub - what makes such a great artist a 'lesser' artist - isn't his self portrait poignant ?

  • Rochelle Frank profile image

    Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

    I don't think Pissarro gets as much attention as he deserves. I would love to sit in that garden.