Pissarro, Camille (jacob-Abraham-Camille)
French, 19th century, male.
Born 10 July 1830, in St Thomas (Danish Island in the Antilles); died 12 November 1903, in Paris.
Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, pastellist, draughtsman, printmaker (etchings, aquatints, lithographs, monotypes). Figures, landscapes, landscapes with figures.
Impressionist group, Neo-impressionism.
Camille Pissarro was born to a Creole mother and French father. At the age of 12, he crossed the Atlantic when his family sent him to France to complete his education. At a boarding school in Passy, he was given free rein to his emerging passion for drawing by the head of the school, Monsieur Savary. Savary, who prided himself on being an artist, encouraged the young Pissarro to draw from nature and taught him ‘the best principles of direct observation’. In 1847, when Pissarro was almost 17 years old, his father summoned him back to St Thomas to introduce him to a career in business. However, in his leisure time, the young artist continued to sketch sailors unloading ships in the port. After a chance meeting with the Danish painter Fritz Melbye (1826–1896), Pissarro abandoned his father’s hardware business and followed Melbye to Caracas, where he devoted himself entirely to painting. In 1855, he visited the Exposition Universelle in Paris, where he saw the work of Eugène Delacroix, Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, Charles-François Daubigny, and Jean-François Millet. Although he received encouragement from Corot, Pissarro at first frequented the studios of Salon painters but soon began to associate with the ...