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.
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.
At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, Camille moved temporarily to England. Upon his return to France, he made the horrific discovery that all but 40 of the 1500 paintings he had left there – almost twenty years’ work – had been vandalized. It was one of the greatest tragedies of his life; however, he had no choice but to begin again. He moved in 1872 to Pontoise, where Gauguin and many other artists would come to visit him. 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.
Pissarro not only painted, but was also the most prolific printmaker among the Impressionists. Most of his etchings were made for his own enjoyment, as he was indifferent to the commercial value of printmaking. In fact, only five etchings were ever published during his lifetime.
At the time of Pissarro’s death in 1903, he had finally begun to receive public recognition. His contribution to the development of Impressionism is inestimable, and today his work is featured in leading museums and private collections worldwide.
Camille Pissarro Artwork