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Pissarro, French Impressionist artist, was born in St. Thomas, in the West
Indies in 1830 into the family of a merchant. His father was of French-Jewish
origin, his mother was a Creole. First Camille started his career as a
businessman, like his father, but his obsession with painting changed the
direction of his life. In 1852 he got acquainted with the Danish painter
F. Melbye and spent about two years with him in Caracas.
In 1855, he came to Paris, where he was impressed by the landscapes of
Corot. He painted in Paris and in its suburbs; in 1859, he was admitted
to the Salon. In 1859-1861, he attended the Académie Suisse and
formed friendships with Monet
at the same time his liaison with Julie Vellay started; they would marry
ten years later, in 1871; they had eight children; their two sons, Lucien
(1863-1944), and Georges Pissarro (1871-1961) would both become
Rejected by the Salon in 1861 and 1863, Pissarro showed at the “Salon des
Refusés” in 1863. Though in 1864-68 he exhibited at the Salon, his
pictures were not popular with public, nobody bought them, and financial
In 1866-68, Pissarro lived and worked in Pontoise, painted landscapes
in which he changed from Barbizon Realism of Corot to Impressionism; in
1869/70 he moved to Louveciennes, where many of his paintings were destroyed
by German troops during the occupation of Louveciennes in the Franco-Prussian
War of 1870/71. The artist at the time stayed with his family in London.
Pissarro’s friend, the painter Daubigny, recommended him to the art dealer
Durand-Ruel, who did much for promotion of the Impressionists’ works; he
would organize Pissarro’s exhibitions in Paris (1883) and New York (1886).
In 1872-78, Pissarro stayed in Pontoise, working with Cézanne,
on whom he exercised considerable influence. At this time his independent
Impressionist style fully developed. Pissarro was the leader of the original
Impressionists, and the only one to exhibit at all eight of the Group exhibitions
in Paris from 1874 to 1886.
In 1885, he met Signac
and for the next five years adopted their Divisionist/ Pointillist style.
Pissarro’s interest in Socialism brought him some trouble: in 1894 he had
to flee to Belgium from the French persecution of Anarchists, he had become
an Anarchist in 1885. In 1896 and 1898, he painted views of the town and
harbor of Rouen, remaining faithful to the early Impressionist style. In
1897-1903, he mainly painted views of Paris, also Dieppe and Le Havre.
He died in Paris in 1903.
Pissaro’s Landscapes in the Hermitage. by I. Yudenich. Leningrad.
Camille Pissarro. Correspondence. Memoirs of Contemporaries.
K. Bogemskaya, editor.. Moscow. 1974.
French Paintings from the Hermitage, Leningrad. Aurora. Leningrad.
Painting of Europe. XIII-XX centuries. Encyclopedic Dictionary.
Moscow. Iskusstvo. 1999.
Pissarro: by Camille Pissarro, Christoph Becker (Editor), Wolf
Eiermann, Barbara Stern Shapiro. Hatje Cantz Publishers, 2000.
and Pontoise: The Painter in a Landscape by Richard R. Brettell.
Yale Univ Pr, 1990.
Pissarro : Impressionism, Landscape and Rural Labour by Richard
Thomson. New Amsterdam Books, 2000.
Neo-Impressionism, and the Spaces of the Avant-Garde by Martha
Ward. University Of Chicago Press, 1996.
Impressionist and the City : Pissarro`s Series by Richard Brettell,
Joachim Pissarro. Yale University Press, 1992.
in West London by Nicholas Reed. Lilburne Press, 1999.