Camille Pissarro & The Family Legacy
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.” Pissarro was also considered one of the greatest teachers of his time, personally nurturing the artistic careers of his four sons and well as three of the greatest French artists of the generation following him - Cézanne, Gauguin and Seurat.
Of all Camille’s children, Lucien, the eldest son, was perhaps the closest to his father. Nurtured by his father as well as artists like Cézanne, Manet, and Monet in particular, Lucien began to draw and paint with such skill that he was included in the eighth Impressionist exhibition of 1886. He moved to England permanently in 1890, where he played a vital role in securing the acceptance of Impressionism in that country. In addition, he began corresponding with his father almost daily, creating one of the most important sources of information on the history of Impressionism.
Following the tradition of her great-grandfather, Camille Pissarro, her grandfather, Paulémile, and her father, Hugues Claude, this fourth-generation artist has carried on the family legacy. From her infancy until the age of eleven, she was entrusted to the care of her grandparents, Paulémile Pissarro and his wife Yvonne. Her interest in drawing and painting was nurtured during these years while living at Clécy in Normandy. Paulémile taught her the fundamental Impressionist and Post-Impressionist techniques that had been taught to him by his father, Camille Pissarro, and so began her love for figurative art.
Georges 'Manzana' Pissarro
Georges-Henri Pissarro, better known as Manzana, was the third of Camille Pissarro’s seven children. As a young man, he adopted his father’s Impressionist style and during the early 1900‘s he consistently exhibited Impressionist works at the “Salon d’Automne” and the “Salon des Indépendents.” The influence of Gauguin’s exotic scenes from Tahiti, however, contributed to Manzana’s later fascination with Orientalism and his use of gold, silver and copper paint.
The impact of Camille’s art and teaching on his fourth son, Ludovic-Rodo, was considerable. However, he also closely aligned himself with artists like Toulouse-Lautrec, Maurice de Vlaminick and Raoul Dufy as well as Alfred Sisley. In 1905 he even participated in the Fauve exhibition at the Salon des Indépendants. Today, Ludovic-Rodo is perhaps best remembered for undertaking the cataloging of his father’s ouvre. The project took him more than twenty years to complete and resulted in the 1939 two-volume publication that is, to this day, a standard text on Camille Pissarro.
Following his father’s death in 1903, Paulémile Pissarro was taken under the tutelage of Claude Monet, who lived only twenty miles away from the family home at Giverny. Monet became his tutor, guardian and friend and encouraged him to paint as well as gave him lessons in art history and in horticulture. In 1905 Paulémile exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Indépendants, showing an Impressionist landscape.
Hugues Claude Pisarro
Hugues Claude Pissarro, the grandson of Camillle Pissarro, and the son of Paulémile Pissarro, spent much of his youth accompanying his father on painting excursions. His formal training occurred at several prestigious French institutions including the Ecole du Musée du Louvre and the Ecole Normale Supérieure. In 1959, he was commissioned by the White House to paint President Eisenhower’s portrait. His distinctive style involves applying colors with great speed straight from the tube, which results in a thick, robust texture – not unlike the Impressionist paintings created by his grandfather’s generation.