Armand Guillaumin (1841-1927)
the most colourful Impressionist
Was Guillaumin an Impressionist?
Guillaumin is shortly mentioned in several books on Impressionism. Mostly as a side-figure, being related to Cézanne and Pissarro and as partaker of the ‘impressionist’ expositions. This is curious. Guillaumin was member of the initial group of the ‘Société Anonyme…‘. Castagnary included him in 1874 as 1 of the just 7 of the ‘new school’. Duret included him in his second edition of ‘les peintres impressionnistes’ as 1 of the just 7 impressionists. Guillaumin participated in 6 of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions which is more than Cézanne, Gauguin, Monet, Renoir and Sisley. At least in the last exposition he also had an active role (see). Studying at Académie Suisse, he met Cézanne and Pissarro who became close friends. Later on he also got connected with other members of the ‘school of Pontoise’ like Béliard, Gauguin, Piette and Vignon. This makes him a member of an important circle of friends. He also joined meeting at Café Guerbois and dinners at the restaurant of Murer. He also had connections with Caillebotte, Cordey, Degas, Franc-Lamy, Monet, Renoir and Sisley. Later on he was connected with Redon, Schuffenecker, Seurat, Signac and related artists like Dubois-Pillet, Hayez and Van Gogh. It was Guillaumin who connected several people to each other. Guillaumin participated in the large exhibition of French Impressionists organized by Durand-Ruel in New York in 1886 and in 1888 of Impressionists in Copenhagen. All this makes him a key figure within the ‘impressionist’ art-movement.
When we look at his painting style Guillaumin only wanted to paint en-plein-air. He often gives an indication of place and regularly an indication of time of day / season / weather. He rendered moments of daily live. Already in his earlier works around 1870 Guillaumin used blues and violets for rendering shadows and used juxtaposed brush strokes. Maybe his ‘soleil couchant à Ivry’ was the most vibrant painting exhibited at the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874. Most particular is his use of bright, slightly unnatural colours. Guillaumin was one of the first who used an impressionist painting style and he continued using it all through his life.
I think it is just when Guillaumin is rehabilitated as one of the most important Impressionists. I hope the upcoming publication of the second volume of his catalogue raisonné (iR15;iR85) will attribute to this rehabilitation. As far as I know the last exhibition dedicated to Armand Guillaumin was in 2009 in a Paris gallery, exhibiting 17 works (aR1) and the last publication is of 1996 (iR24). I’m looking forward to new exhibitions and publications of this great Impressionist as part of his well earned rehabilitation.
Guillaumin at the Salon:
Guillaumin never exhibited at the Salon. In 1861 Guillaumin was rejected at the Salon (aR4). Guillaumin also was rejected in 1863 and exhibited at the Salon des Refuses of 1863, but he was not in the catalogue (R8,p82;R9;R3;iR1;aR4). In 1873 he was rejected and exhibited 2 works at the Salon des Refuses. (iR1). Krämer states that Guillaumin never admitted to the Salon (R21). Was it possible to join the Salon des Refuses without having admitted to the Salon?
Guillaumin joined the ‘impressionist’ expositions in 1874, 1877, 1880, 1881, 1882 and 1886:
In December 1873 Guillaumin was part of the initial group of the ‘Société Anonyme…‘, but there seems to have been some opposition to his admission (R17,p331;R1,p313;R8,p9). Paul Alexis (1873/05/12) already had mentioned him as 1 of 7(?) artists having ideas for an independent exhibition (R1,p309;R8,p205;R22,p104).
At the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874 Guillaumin showed 3 works (catalogue numbers 64-66) (R2,p120). Jules Castagnary (1874/04/29) included Guillaumin in ‘the new school’ together with Degas, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir and Sisley (R87,p264;R17,p332).
In 1876 he did not participate while his job had prevented him from doing much painting (R1,p366).
At the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877 Guillaumin showed 12 works (catalogue numbers 62-73) (R2,p205).
At the 5th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1880 Guillaumin showed 22 works (catalogue numbers 63-84) (R2,p311/2). One critic reviewed that Guillaumin used ‘not understandable barrages of colour’ (R5,p119).
At the 6th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1881 Guillaumin showed 16 works (catalogue numbers 40-55) (R2,p354). Gustave Geffroy (1881/04/19) cals him ‘an overexcited colorist… he accumulates little spots of green, blue, pink, orange, lilac, violet, red, yellow… But these spots come together wo confuse and erase everything. (…) In these landscapes it is always noon in July.’ Henry Trianon (1881/04/24) cals him ‘infatuated with the rough sketch. His touch is biting, and his palette seems tinted wit a prismatic sickness.’ (R2,p365).
At the 7th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1882 Guillaumin showed 26 works (catalogue numbers 31-56) (R2,p394). Monet was opposed against the participation of Guillaumin, Gauguin and Vignon (R22,p175). Armand Sallanches (1882/03/03 cals his colours ‘upsetting’. Henri Rivière (1882/04/08) reviews: ‘He works with little multicolored dots, all very close to each other. The color is very disagreeable and the effect is absolutely false.’ (R2,p400).
At the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1886 Guillaumin showed 21 works (catalogue numbers 61-81) (R2,p444/5). In the preparations Guillaumin was active in including Redon, Schuffenecker, Seurat and Signac (see). Emile Hennequin (1886/06/19) reviews: Of the colorists of rue Laffitte, Guillaumin is one of the most intense…’. La République Française (1886/05/17) reviews: ‘in the last room, Guillaumin makes violet colors reappear triumphantly in brilliant landscapes.’ (R2,p459). Fénéon (1886/06/13-20) calls him together with Gauguin and Morisot represents of Impressionism as exhibited at the previous exhibitions (R8,p331).
Monet and Degas rejected his participation at the ‘impressionist’ expositions, Pissarro defended him (R3). Renoir also was not enthousiast about him (R6,p45).
See link for his -/-art-works 1873-77. See link for an -/-account.
Guillaumin at other exhibitions:
In August 1875 Guillaumin joined the new artistic society ‘L’Union’ formed by Meyer and Pissarro, but like others he didn’t join the exhibition starting 1877/02/15 (R1,p363+390;aR2). In 1884 he first joins the ‘Groupe des Artistes Indépendants’ and later the Salon des Indépendants (R1,p503+510;R3). In 1886 he is part of the Durand-Ruel exhibition of French impressionists in the USA with 7 landscapes (R1,p544;R4,p261;R3;aR3). 1888/05/01: first solo-exhibition in the building of La Revue Indépendante (R5,p162;R3;R21;aR3). 1888 exhibits with Pissarro and Van Gogh (aR3). 1888/10/30 joins an exhibition of Impressionists in Copenhagen (R5,p170). In 1891 he exhibits with ‘les XX’ in Brussels (R3;aR3). 1891 joins again the Salon des Indépendants (aR4). 1894 + 1898 exhibition at Durand-Ruel (R21;aR4).
In 1897 Guillaumin exhibited just one time with the Société National des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He exhibited one litho. In 1898 he exhibited 2 litho’s in London. In 1904 he exhibited 12 works at the Salon d’Automne, including 5 depicting Zaandam. In 1906 and 1907 he exhibited at the Salon de l’Union artistique in Toulouse. Both times he exhibited 2 works; 3 works were offered at a price of 1000 francs and 1 for 800. (iR1)
Later exhibitions were in Paris (1911+26+72), New York (1922 + 28 + 38), Geneva (1974 + 92); Clermont-Ferrand (1995); Lausanne (1996); Cologne (1996) (iR24).
Guillaumin as an artist:
From 1857-59 Guillaumin follows drawing lessons in the evenings with the sculptor Louis Denis Caillouette at the École Communales in the rue des Petits-Carreaux (R7,p250;iR4;R21;R3). He studies at the Académie Suisse. It is unclear when. Some say he started in 1860, others in 1864, most in 1861. All agree that he met Pissarro, Cézanne and Guillemet (and maybe also Piette). He does so besides a job at the railways with which he started in 1860 (R13,p303;R87,p238;R7,p250;R8,p52;aR4;R3;R9;R5,p19;R1,p62;R19,p37;R21;iR69). Guillaumin was influenced by Courbet (R8,p92). From 1867-9 he paints together with Pissarro in the open and together they earn money by painting Sun blinds (R5,p49;R4,p144;R3;R6,p45;R1,p190). In the 1860’s he visits Café de Bade and and from the mid-1860s Café Guerbois (R3;R21;R33,p39;R17,p113) He would experiment with new artistic instruments and procédures (R8,p14). 1868/9 onwards Guillaumin would work nightshifts, so he could paint during the day; he was extremely poor (R4,p144;R1,p173;R21;aR2). (Still Rewald writes that in 1880 Guillaumin, among others, was not depended on sales (R1,p434). In 1869 Cézanne meets Hortense Fiquet, who become his lover and then was a model of Guillaumin (R4,p61). During the war in 1870/1 he stays in Paris, together with his friend Béliard (R3;R1,p258). The majority of his early works have been destroyed in the Commune in 1871 (aR4;R21).
1872 onwards he often stays with Dr. Gachet in Auvers-sur-Oise and visits Cézanne in Auvers and Pissarro in Pontoise (R87,p238;R5,p78;R17,p204;R9;R3;R21). At Gachets’ house they also did experiment with etching (R5,p78;R8,p219;R9). Still there are not many works known that were made in the surroundings of Pontoise. Gachet would collect works of Guillaumin (R17,p336). Guillaumin was part of the school of Pontoise, together with Béliard, Cézanne, Gauguin, Pissarro and Vignon (R17,p178/9;R1,p292). Sometimes it is hard to discern who painted a work because of the similarities (R17,p190). In 1875 and 1876 Guillaumin and Cézanne live as neighbours on the Quai d’Anjou; they work closely together and paint the same motives; Cézanne copies a work of Guillaumin (R1,p356+410;R8,260/1;R5,p91;R4,p144;R3;iR70). Cézanne and Guillaumin were friends (R6,p46+180; R4,p61;R1,p296). Guillaumin maintained a particularly close friendship with Pissarro (R17,p204). Through Pissarro Gauguin made acquaintance with Guillaumin and bought some of his works (R1,p410;R8,p331;iR69). Guillaumin introduced his old schoolfriend and now art-collector Murer to Pissarro and Renoir. Murer also owned a restaurant and around 1877/8 on Wednesdays artists came together for diner, notably Guillaumin, Renoir and Sisley and occasionally Cézanne, Cordey, Franc-Lamy, Monet and Pissarro (R1,p413/4;R8,p219). In the 1870s Guillaumin had no time to visit Café Nouvelle-Athènes (R1,p399).
Rewald includes Guillaumin with Gauguin, Morisot, Pissarro and Vignon opposing Degas and his associates in the ‘impressionist’ expositions of 1880 + 81 + 86 (R1,p441+449+526). 1881/01/24 Caillebotte, opposing Degas in a letter to Pissarro, includes Guillaumin as one who contributed something substantial (to the expositions) (R5,p127;R1,p448). Guillaumin owned a little work of Caillebotte made in the early 1880s (R101,CR350). Meets Signac in 1884, helps and advices him, with the result that Signacs works becomes more vibrant, using forceful colours (R1,p503;R39,p299+5+55;R3;R16;R21;aR1;iR69;iR70). Signac also buys some of his works (R39,p55) and later (1888/02/09) would describe his painting style as ‘triumphant brushstrokes and wild colorations’ (R39,p68). Around 1883/4 he admired Guillaumin most, later on he would call it an infatuation and will call his pictures shallow, showy and gaudy, suffering from a lack of harmony (R39,p69+73). September 1885 Pissarro will meet Signac in the studio of Guillaumin and later in October Seurat (according to one source this was at Durand-Ruel) (R5,p144;R1,p511;R8,p298;R39,p6+55+101;R37,p53). Guillaumin also introduced Seurat to the Durand-Ruel Galleries (R1,p511). While being in Copenhagen (1884/5) Gauguin corresponded with Guillaumin (R37,p47). In a lettre 1885/01/30 Gauguin pleads to Pissarro to include Guillaumin to their monthly gatherings / dinners (R1,p493). Guillaumin also was acquainted with Schuffenecker (iR70). Guillaumin (and Schuffenecker) could not convince Gauguin to join the Salon des Indépendants in 1885 and 1886 (R1,p514+532). But Rossen writes Guillaumin didn’t participate in 1886 either (R37,p61). There were also connections with Vincent van Gogh (in 1886), with whom he shares the idea of a studio in the tradition of mediaval workshops (R6,p213;R1,p550;R39,p74;R21;iR3). Van Gogh appreciated his lively colours and maybe was more influenced by Guillaumin than by Signac in his shift to brilliant colour (iR4;aR1). Still Walther in his extensive book on Van Gogh doesn’t mention Guillaumin at all (R70). In 1891 Boussod complains that Theo van Gogh had bought unsellable works of Guillaumin and others (R1,p560;iR3). Around 1891 Guillaumin had lost contact with his former friends Pissarro and Monet (R1,p566). 1891 onwards Guillaumin begins to travel and paints in the region of la Creuse (Crozant), Britany, Normandy, Dauphiné and the Midi (Agay) (R87,p238;R3;R9). In Crozant he becomes the leader of the ‘École de Crozant’ (iR3). In 1904 he travels two months in Holland, especially Zaanstad (R3;R87,p238;R9). (Note: Duret dates this 1894; R7,p256. The RKD 1902-04; iR24). Guillaumin was the most long living Impressionist and the most consistent (R8,p37). He had influence on Van Gogh and Matisse (R8,p37;aR1). He inspired the fauvist Othon Friesz (iR4;aR3). Guillaumin may be considered a forerunner of fauvism (aR1).
Guillaumin painted (in his early years) many landscapes in the surroundings of Paris, also called Île-de-France (R3). As an anarchist / socialist he is attracted to the sadness and poverty of the deserted suburbs (R9;R4,p144;R17,p35). He also depicts industrial sites and modern infrastructure, themes that were not beloved by buyers (R94,p50;aR1). He also depicted ordinary rural life (R17,p36). He paints in an energetic style, with lively colours, full of contrast and with a broad brush stroke (R3;R16). In the late 1860s Guillaumin was more coloristically daring than his colleagues; his colours were more saturated (aR1). Huysmans called him a ‘fauve coloriste’ using ‘battle tones’ (R16;R9). He used unconventional colour combinations that almost curse with each other (R16). He uses rough contours (R9). Degas and Monet didn’t like his violent and screaming colours (R9). Also Renoir is not enthousiast about Guillaumin (and his anarchist ideas) (R6,p238). He didn’t use the impressionist technique of half colours (R16). He used a broader brushstrokes than most Impressionists (R13,p303;R7,p255). Some even claim he didn’t adopt the impressionist technique (R9). Pool cals him a side-figure among the Impressionists (R6,p45). Still Belloli cals him a ‘charter member of the group’ (R17,p204). Rubin calls him a significant member of the Impressionist group (aR1). Others call him a full member of the inner circle (aR2). He always painted en-plein-air and refused to paint ‘one brush stroke outside of nature’ (R16). He tried to render moments of daily live (R16). He seeks to present the effects of the weather and the changing light (R94,p50). His winter landscapes are more subtile and delicate (R9). Spiess claims that in his painting (together with Cézanne and Pissarro) he laid emphasize on construction by using firm and carrying elements and stable volumes (R16). Rubin emphasizes that Guillaumin retained a far more marked sense of line than the other Impressionists (aR1). Rewald cals him ‘forceful in color’ and ‘weak in construction’ (R1,p566).
Guillaumin made several still lives, but as far as I know, he never exhibited them (iR1).
Guillaumin, a short biography:
- 1841/02/16: Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin was born in Paris, 10, Rue de Rivoli (aR4;R7,p249;iR24;iR3;R3;R9)
- he grew up in Moulins (Allier) (R7,p249)
- during his school years contact with Eugène Meunier (or: Murer), the later art-collector who supported the Impressionists (R3;R17,p335;aR3). At an auction of his collection June 1884 several works of Guillaumin were included (R5,p140).
- 1857: Guillaumin moves to Paris to live with an oncle (R7,p249)
- 1873: Guillaumin lived at 13, Quai d’Anjou, Paris (iR1)
- 1874: Guillaumin lived at 120, rue de Vaugirard, Paris (iR1;R2)
- 1877: Guillaumin lived at 13, Quai d’Anjou, Paris (iR1;R2)
- 1880+81: Guillaumin lived at 73, rue de Buffon, Paris (iR1;R2)
- 1882+86: Guillaumin lived at 13, Quai d’Anjou, Paris (iR1;R2)
- 1887/01/10: marries his niece Marie-Joséphine Gareton (or: Charreton) (aR4;R3;iR4). Degas and Gauguin were witnesses (iR4;aR4). Still there is a portrait known of her made by Guillaumin in 1871 (iR10;iR13), so probably they already had a relationship.
- 1888/10/14: his daughter Madeleine was born (aR4;iR4)
- 1891/08/26: his son Armand was born, he was also called Chabrol (aR4;iR4)
- 1891: wins a lottery, quits his job and becomes financially independent (R1,p566;R7,p256;R9). Some date this one year later (R3;R21).
- 1893/02/25: His daughter Marguerite was born (aR4;iR4)
- 1893: rents a house in Crozant, in the Creuse departement and will return yearly (aR3;R3,iR9;iR4)
- 1896/03/22: his son André was born (aR4;iR4)
- 1896: Ambroise Vollard published a suite of his lithographs (iR70)
- 1897: Guillaumin lived at 20bis, rue Saint-Benoît, Paris (iR1)
- 1904: Guillaumin lived at 8, rue de l’Abbé-de-l’Epée, Paris (iR1)
- 1927/06/26: Guillaumin died (at the Château de Grignon near Orly, region Val-de-Marne, just south of Paris, being 86 years old (aR3;aR4;R21;iR4;R1,p586) Some sources state that he died in October (R9;R5,p240) and other sources that he died in Paris 1927/06/26 (R13,p303;iR24;iR3;iR4).
My main sources are Rewald (R1), Moffett (R2), Walther (R3,p667), Denvir (R5+R8), Pool (R6), Duret (R7), Schurr&Cabanne (R9,p355/6), Kostenevich (R15,p138), Spiess (R16,p160-2), Belloli (R17), Krämer (R21,p278/9), Rossen (R37), Ferretti-Bocquillon (R39), Grimne (R94,p50), the Salon database (iR1), Wikipedia (iR3;iR4), RKD (iR24), Bénézit (iR69), Groove (iR70), . For general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are Wikimedia (iR6) and xx. For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. My main sources for the pictures are the-athenaeum (iR2; >590 works), Wikimedia (iR6;88 works), Google Art (iR8;11 works), Google Images (iR10), Mutualart (iR11;980x), WGI (iR22;50x), Joconde (iR23;71x), In books there are some pictures to be found: Rewald (R1,7x), Moffett (R2,4x), Walther (R3,10x), Denvir (R5,2x;R8,7x), Pool (R6,1x), Schurr&Cabanne (R9,1x), Kostenevich (R15,1x), Spiess (R16,x2), Belloli (R17,3x). See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.
Fur further reading:
Serret, G. & D. Fabiani: Armand Guillaumin, catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint. Paris, 1971 (R124)
Alexandre, A.: preface to the Durand-Ruel exhibition. Paris, 1924 (iR70).
Courières, Edouard: Armand Guillaumin. Paris, 1924. (iR24)
Lecomte, G. (?): Peintures et pastels de A. Guillaumin; exhibition catalogue. Paris, 1926. (iR24;iR69;iR70)
Gachet, P: Lettres impressionnistes au Dr. Gachet et à Murer. Paris, 1957 (iR70).
Cailler, Pierre: Armand Guillaumin. Geneva, 1964 (iR69).
Tralbaut, Marc-Edo: (Père) Armand Guillaumin en famille et au motif. Antwerp, 1971 (iR69)
Gray, Christopher: Armand Guillaumin. Chester, 1972.
Armand Guillaumin: l’impressionniste, ami de Cézanne et de Van Gogh, 1841-1927; exhibition catalogue. Musée de Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Clermont-Ferrand, 1995. (iR24)
Armand Guillaumin, 1841-1927; un maître de l’impressionnisme français; exhibition catalogue. Lausanne, 1996 (iR24)
Armand Guillaumin (1841-1927); Vom Spiel der Farbe; ein vergessener Impressionist; exhibition catalogue. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, 1996. (iR24)
In dictionaires: Bénézit, 1976, Vol.5,p.293-5 (R75); Bénézit, 1999, vol.6, p569-572 (R76); Busse, 1977, p518 (R77); Witt, 1978, p124 (R78); Thieme & Becker, 1922, vol.15, p303 (R79); Vollmer, 1953-62, vol.5, p549 (R80); Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon, 1999-2000, vol.4, p440 (R81). (iR24)
Henkels, H.: Cézanne en Van Gogh in het Rijksmuseum voor Moderne Kunst in Amsterdam; de collectie van Cornelis Hoogendijk. Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum 41 (1993), p.155-295. (iR24)
Benotto, Angela, Laura Carrara & Giulia Zanasi: L’impressionismo di Armand Guillaumin. Exhibition catalogue, Palazzo Bricherasio, Turin, 2003/10/24 – 2004/02/01. Milano, 2003.
Ankele, Denise & Daniel: Armand Guillaumin; 120+ impressionist paintings. Digital book, 2011. (iR132)
- www.19thc-artworldwide.org (article of James H. Rubin exhibition review of Armand Guillaumin, Spring 2010)
- vanished French Impressionists 6 (an article on the eclecticlight website about Guillaumin; =iR35)
- impressionismroutes.com (article and paintings)
- amisdumusees-clermont.fr (biography of Guillaumin)
- www.armandguillaumin.org (>433 works; pictures with restricted texts; only titles, no additional info; pages with irritating pop-ups and advertisements)
- archive.org (references to other documents like works, articles and exhibitions;=iR19)