Camille Pissarro was one of the most influential members of the French Impressionist movement, and was the only artist to participate in all eight of the Impressionist exhibitions. Emile Zola, the great nineteenth century writer, described Pissarro and his work as follows; “A quick glance at his work is enough to make you understand that the man who created this was a straight, strong person, incapable of dishonesty, and a man who turns art into a pure eternal truth…A fine picture by this artist is an act of an honest man.”
Born on July 10, 1830, in Saint Thomas in the Danish West Indies, Camille was sent to school in Paris, where very early on he displayed an extraordinary talent for drawing. He eventually returned to Paris in 1855, having convinced his parents of his determination to pursue a career as an artist. He studied at the Academia Suisse with Monet, where he also met Cézanne, Manet and Renoir.
In 1872 Pissarro moved to Pontoise and remained there for ten years. Gauguin was among the many artists to visit Camille there, and Cézanne, who lived nearby, came for long periods to work and learn. In his last years Camille divided his time between the cities of Paris, Rouen and Le Havre and his home in Eragny.
Camille Pissarro was the most prolific printmaker among the Impressionists, however, only five etchings were ever published in his lifetime. Most of his etchings were made for his own satisfaction, as he was indifferent to the commercial value of printmaking. Being difficult to please, he often scraped his plates to start his work afresh, thus producing proofs in numerous states to see how the work was progressing. Pisarro’s art is universal, and he always gives a forcible rendering of humanity in close intimacy with its environment.