Pissarro, Camille



Impressionism, partaker of all 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions:

Camille Pissarro


the most central Impressionist

Was Camille Pissarro an Impressionist?
Camille Pissarro was the only one who has exhibited at all the 8 ‘impressionists’ expositions. He exhibited about 10% of all the works exhibited. He was the head of the School of Pontoise and inspired Béliard, Bureau, Cézanne, Gauguin, Guillaumin, Piette, Vignon and his son Lucien. Pissarro was a bridge-figure connecting several circles of friends of which the ‘impressionist’ art-movement consisted. He had met Monet in 1860 at Académie Suisse and in 1863 was connected with his friends Bazille, Renoir and Sisley. When Pissarro lived in Louveciennes from 1869-71 he painted together with Monet, Renoir and Sisley. In the 1860s Pissarro visited Café Guerbois and also met Degas. Pissarro mediated between Degas and the (‘Salon’-)artists that he had invited for the ‘impressionist’ expositions and the group around Monet and Caillebotte. And it was Pissarro who invited the new generation of Neo-Impressionists like Schuffenecker, Seurat, Signac, his son Lucien (and also Redon) to the last ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1886.
When we look at his painting style, Pissarro used in the 1860s many greys and browns. In the 1870s his colours brightend up, though in the early 1870s they stay more subdued. Around 1874 he more regularly used juxtaposed brushstrokes. He rendered scenes from every day live. He often rendered the admospheric influence of weather conditions, time of day and season and in the 1890s he did so in systhematic series. From 1886 till around 1890 Pissarro used a divisionist painting style, later on returning to an impressionist painting style, also using more bold and slightly unnaturel colours. For the shades Pissarro used blues, but hardly purples. In general one might say, that his use of colour is more subdued, than Monet and Sisley. Compared to them, figure painting was more promenant in his paintings, often rendering farmers, probably influenced by Jean-François Millet.

Camille Pissarro at the Salon:
Camille Pissarro made his debut at the Salon in 1859 (R116,CR37;R3). In 1861 + 1863 he was rejected at the Salon (R3). Note: De Buffévent doesn’t indicate if Pissarro admitted to the Salon of 1861 (R116,p113). Pissarro joined the Salon des Refuses in 1863 (iR1;R116,p115;R3). After that, he exhibited yearly at the Salon from 1864-70, except in 1867 (iR1). Several times his name is wrongly spelled as ‘Pissaro’ (iR1). He received positive reviews at the Salons of 1859 + 65 +66 +68 +70 (R116,p111+118+121+125-7). At the Salon of 1864+69 he was not noticed (R116,p116+126). At the Salon of 1868 + 69 his paintings were poorly hung (mostly too high) (R116,p125/6). In 1872 and 1873 he didn’t submit (R5,p73+78; though Monneret mentions he was refused in 1873, R88II,p395).
See link for an account. See link for the paintings Pissarro submitted to the Salon.


Camille Pissarro joining all the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions:
Camille Pissarro would be the only of the 57 partakers who joined all the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions. In total he showed 199 art-works, almost 10% of the total amount of 2053 art-works that were exhibited. Pissarro showed 117 oil paintings, except for Monet, this was far out the highest amount. Unlike Monet, Sisley and partly Renoir, Pissarro not only exhibited oil paintings, but 1879 onwards he also showed many other techniques, namely 26 etchings and 28 gouaches, but also 14 fans, 13 pastels and 1 work done with mixed techniques.
At the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874 Pissarro showed 5 landscapes made in Pontoise, where Pissarro lived, and it’s surroundings.
At the 2nd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1876 Pissarro showed 12 oil paintings.
At the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877 Pissarro showed 22 oil paintings.
At the 4th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1879 Pissarro showed 38+1hc=39 art-works, including 12 fans and 4 pastels.

At the 5th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1880 Pissarro showed 29 art-works, including 1 fan and 18 etchings.
At the 6th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1881 Pissarro showed 28 art-works, including 15 gouaches and 2 pastels. Some art-critics linked him to Jean-François Millet. Gustave Geffroy (1881/04/19) reviewed ‘It is true that there are some beautiful pictures of M. Pisssarro in this year’s exhibition; his peasants, working under the burning lights of a summer sky, have a simple and great style; in his brilliant, deep landscapes, an implacable light vibrates. But all tones taken to the extreme have a certain monotony. Furthermore, an identical process does not render different effects.’ (R90I,p342).
At the 7th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1882 Pissarro showed 36-2+2hc=36 art-works, including 10 gouaches and 1 tempera. Emile Hennequin (1882/03/11) reviewed ‘His trees, his meadows, his palisades, his land, are painted with that same severe reflection, which discolours even the cheeks of his women. On the other hand, the attitudes of his peasants and peasant women, the way they bend, sit, carry, are captured and rendered with a striking accuracy, a striking truth.'(R90I,p393). J.-K. Huysmans (1883) reviewed ‘he paints his countrymen, without false grandeur, simply, as he sees them.’ (R90I,p397).
At the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1886 Pissarro showed 28 art-works, including 4 gouaches, 7 pastels and 8 etchings. Marcel Fouquier (1886/05/16) reviewed ‘M. Pissarro proceeds by small, precise, separate touches, by juxtapositions that are both fine and penetrating in their frank tones. Up close, his paintings look like a collection of variously coloured nail heads. But with the proper distance, perspective is established, the planes deepen, and as the sky is treated with a deliberate lightness, the impression is created of a vast space and an indefinite horizon.’ (R90I,p448).
See link for an account. Note: later on I will add more remarks from the reviews.


Camille Pissarro at other exhibitions:
Camille Pissarro also did exhibit at other exhibitions.  At some regional exhibitions, exhibiting just a few paintings: Rouen (1862+72), Bordeaux (1866), Lille (1866), Le Havre (1868), Rheims (1873+74), Pau (1876+77+78), Nancy (1884+86). He exhibited from 1871-75 at the Durand-Ruel gallery in London. Other exhibitions in Paris: 1879+84. At other international exhibitions: Florence (1879), Oran (1880), Tours (1882), Boston (1883), Berlin (1883), London (1884), Brussels (1885) . In 1883 he exhibited with the ‘Société des impressionnistes‘ in London (R116,I,p361-3). In 1883 he had his first solo exhibition (at Durand-Ruel) in Paris exhibiting 70 works (R116;R3). In 1886 several works of him are exhibited in New York by Durand-Ruel (R116;R3).
From 1887 till 1903 Pissarro exhibited at several regional and international exhibitions and regularly at the galleries of Georges Petit and Durand-Ruel (R116,I,p363-6). December 1887 he exhibited with Fénéon at La Revue Indépendante (R5,p157). In 1889 and 1900 Pissarro exhibited at the Exposition Centennale (R116;R3). Pissarro exhibited in Brussels with Les XX in 1887+89+91 (R116;R3) and with ‘La Libre Esthétique‘ in 1894+1901 (R116;R5,p194). Important solo exhibitions were (R116): 1892 (50 works); 1893 (46 works); 1894/03 (98 works at a solo exhibition at Durand-Ruel, including 30 oil paintings; R5,p194); 1901 (42 works) and posthumous in 1904 (132 works).


Camille Pissarro as an artist:
April 1850 Pissarro made a first painting trip with the Danish painter Fritz Melbye (1826-69) to Saint-Domingue; they painted en-plein-air (R116,p100). From 1852-54 he painted with Fritz Melbye at Caracas, Venezuela (R116,p101-4;R312,p20;R6,p38;R3). October 1855 Pissarro arrived in Paris (R116,p105); in his studio he still painted some Caribean landscapes (CCP16-24). In 1856 he attended private classes by teachers from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris: François-Édouard Picot, Isidore Dagnan and Henri Lehmann (R116,p107;R6,p38). In 1856 he briefly worked in the studio of Anton Melbye (1818-75), the older brother of Fritz, and at the Salon (1859-66) Pissarro is called his pupil (R116,p117;iR1;R6,p38). From 1857 till 1861 Pissarro attended the ‘Académie Suisse‘ (R116,p108-113;R3). In 1857 he received advice from Corot to work in the open (R116,p108/9;R312,p20); at the Salon of 1864+65 Pissarro is called his pupil (iR1). In 1857 Pissarro painted with Antoine Chintreuil and Jean Desbrosses (R116,p109).

In 1860 Pissarro met Piette, who would become a very close friend and supporter (R116,CR51). In 1860 he met Guillaumin at Académie Suisse (R116,p111). In 1860 he also met Monet at Académie Suisse and maybe painted together at Champigny-sur-Marne (R116,p112;R312,p21). April 1861 Pissarro met Cézanne at Académie Suisse; they would have close contact until 1886 (R116,p113). 1861 onwards Pissarro started to copy old masters in the Louvre (R116,p113). May 1862 Pissarro became a member of the ‘Société des Aquafortistes‘ (R116,p114). In 1863 Pissarro met Monet again, who introduced him to Renoir, Sisley and Bazille (R116,p113). In 1863 Antoine Guillemet, whom he had met at Académie Suisse, was witness of the birth of his son Lucien Pissarro and in 1865 became ‘godfather’ of Jeanne (R116,p115+118). From 1864 till  1876 Pissarro would stay 6x at the property of Piette in Monfoucault; where he would make 53 canvases (R116,vol.2,p89; these are mostly noted as Montfoucault). 1864: starts to buy painting materials from Louis Latouche (R116,p116). 1865/Autumn: paints with Guillemet (and Cézanne) in La Roche-Guyon (R116,p119). 1866: contacts with the dealers Père Tanguy and Père Martin (R116,p119/120;R312,p22). 1866: Pissarro weekly attends Zola his open table (R116,p122). Also influenced by pre-impressionists like Daubigny and Millet and Courbet (R6,p38). His use of colour is brighter and more naturalistic than that of Corot (R6,p39). 1866-68: visits Café Guerbois (R3). The banker Arosa became his patron (R312,p23). In London (1870/71) influenced by Constable en Turner, whom he later on also would criticize: ’they didn’t show in their work understanding for the analysis of shadows’ (R6,p101).

1872-78: works in Pontoise often with Cézanne (R3), who lived with dr. Gachet in Auvers-sur-Oise, a 3km walk (R312,p26+27); Pissarro also worked with Béliard and Guillaumin (R312,p25). 1879: starts working with Gauguin (R3). 1885 (?) his son Lucien would introduce his father to Signac; the latter would introduce him to Seurat (R4,p255).
1866-68: Changes his Barbizon style in a more impressionist style of painting (R3). Pissarro is interested in the structure of space (R6,p39). 1872-78: further development of his impressionist style (R3). Pissarro was more interested in the earth, than in light and water (R6,p38). In 1885 his son Lucien introduced him to Signac and Seurat and he started to paint in a pointillist style (R3;R6,p243;R8,p299;R312,p40). He criticized the work of his former colleagues as ’the art of a decorator’ (R17,p305). Pissarro painted individuals in natural settings without ‘artifice or grandeur’ (iR3). In 1886 he and his son Lucien met Vincent van Gogh, whom he later recommended Dr Gachet (R312,p41+46). The consequence of his change in style caused that his sales almost ceased (R312,p40). In 1890 he abandonned the pointillist style that prevented him from reproducing ’the spontanity of sensation’ and he destroyed or repainted many of his paintings from his pointillist period (R312,p40+46). 1893: Pissarro painted his Rue Saint-Lazare series in Paris (R312,p69).
Camille Pissarro is supported by Murer (around 1878), Caillebotte (R4,p190+4;R3;R312,p28) and others. 1895/02/24: Camille Pissarro complained in a lettre to his son Lucien that he still doesn’t sell successfully (R5,p200).

Camille Pissarro was a convinced atheist and more an anarchist than a socialist. He disdained publicity and despised official recognition. (R312,p23).

Note: additional info will follow.


Camille Pissarro, a short biography:

  • 1830/07/10: Camille Pissarro, noted as Jacob Pizarro, was born at Charlotte-Amalie on Saint-Thomas, which was part of the than Danish (and now US) Virgin Islands in the Antilles, east of the Dominican Republic. All his life Camille had the Danish nationality. Until 1859 he also signed his paintings with ‘Pizarro’. (R116,p96;R3;R6,p38;iR9;iR3)
  • His father Frédéric was a French-Jewish salesman, with Portugese roots, who in 1825 obtained the Danish nationality. His mother Rachel also is from a French-Jewish family. (R116,p96/7;iR3). Some sources mention his mother was Creool (R3)
  • 1842-47: stay at 46, boulevard de Passy in Passy (now: Rue La Pérouse); attends a boarding school; starts to draw (R116,p99;R312,p19;R3)
  • 1847-52: worked as a shop clerk in the family import-export business at the Ile of Saint-Thomas (R116,p99-101;R312,p19;R3)
  • 1855/10: arrived in Paris and visited the ‘Exposition Universelle‘ (R116,p105/6;R312,p20;R3); stayed at the family home at 16, Chaussée-de-la-Muette, Passy, Paris (16th arrondissement) (R116,II,p54). His father would die 1865/01/28 at no.14 (R116,p117).
  • 1856 onwards: his father supported him and later on his mother (R116,p106+124)
  • 1856/01-1863/Winter: Pissarro lived at 6 different addresses in the 9th arrondissement in Paris (R116,II,p54).
  • 1860: relationship with Julie Vellay (1838-1926); she was the kitchen-maid of his mother; Julie was Catholic and not Jewish and from a family of humble origin (R116,p111-3;R312,px+21;R5,p24)
  • 1863/02/20: his first son Lucien was born in Paris; Lucien would become a (neo-)impressionist painter and joined the last ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1886 (R116,p115;R269,p18;R3).
  • 1863/Winter-1864/Spring: Pissarro lived 57, rue de Vanves, Paris in the 14th arroundissement (R116,pII,p54;iR1).
  • 1864/Spring-Autumn: Camille stayed with his sick father at the family home in Passy (R116,p116)
  • 1864/12: after staying with Piette in Monfoucault, Pissarro moved to Allée Sainte-Hyacinthe, La Varenne-Saint-Hillaire (Saint-Maur-des-Fossés) (R116,p116;iR1); about 16km east-south of Paris (iR9).
  • 1865/01/28: his father died (R116,p117).
  • 1865/05/18: his daughter Jeanne-Rachel (Minette) is born (R116,p118;R269,p18).
  • 1866/04-66/10: Pissarro lived at 1, rue du Fond-de-l’Ermitage, now: 5, Rue Maria-Deraismes, Pontoise; he returns from 1867/April to Autumn and from 1868/04-10 (R116,p120-5;iR1;R3)
  • 1866/10-67/04: Pissarro lived 108, boulevard Rochechouart, Paris; and again 1867/Autumn-68/04 (R116,II,p54;iR1)
  • 1868: due to lack of money Pissarro, together with Guillaumin, painted blinds and shop signs (R116,p124;R312,p22)
  • 1868/10: Pissarro moved to 23, Rue Chappe, Paris (R116,p125).
  • 1869/Spring-1872/08: Pissarro lived at 22, Route de Versailles, Louveciennes (Seine-et-Oise), beneath the Marly aqueduct (R116,p125;R3;iR1;iR20). Monet, Renoir (his parents) and Sisley live close by (R116,p126;R17)
  • 1870/04: La Gazette rendered his (old) address as 108, Boulevard Rochechouart (R259).
  • 1870/09-12: due to the Franco-Prussian war, Pissarro first stayed with Piette in Monfoucault (about 250km south-west of Paris)
  • 1870/10/21: his daughter Adèle Emma is born and died the 5th of November (R116,p128)
  • 1870/12: Pissarro fled to London, where he meth Durand-Ruel (R3) and also Legros, Monet and Daubigny (R116,p129+130)
    he first lived at Chatham Terrace, Upper Norwood (R312,p23)
  • 1871/06/14: Camille and Julie are married in Surrey, England (R116,p133), this lies south of London (iR9).
  • 1871/06/23: Pissarro returned to Louveciennes and temporarily lived at no.24 (R116,p133/4)
    During the war most of his early works, who were in Louveciennes, were destroyed (R116,p131;iR3;R3).
    In a letter (1871/06) to Duret he wrote: “About 40 pictures are left to me out of 1500.” (R312,p25)
  • 1871/11/22: his second son George Henri (Manzana) was born in Louveciennes; he also became an artist and died in 1961 (R116,p134;R269,p18;R3;R312,px)
  • 1872/04: moved to Pontoise (R116,p134;R3); Pissarro would live in the ‘Red house’, 18 (now 36), rue de l’Hermitage (R116II,p322)
  • 1874/04/06: his daughter Jeanne-Rachel (Minette) died (R269,p18;R312,px)
  • 1874/07/24: his son Félix Camille (also named Titi) was born; his artist name was Jean Roch (R269,p18;R312,px)
  • 1878/09/21: his son Ludovic-Rodolphe (also named Piton-fleuri) was born; his artist name was Ludovic-Rodo; he died 1952/10/18 (R269,p18;R4,p194;R312,px)
  • 1878/11: rented a room at 18, Rue des Trois Frères (R312,p29).
  • 1881/08/27: birth of his daughter Jeanne (also named Cocotte) (R269,p18;R4,p243)
  • 1881/ Summer: Pissarro left the ‘Red house’ (R116,II,p322)
  • 1883-84: lived in Osny, just west of Pontoise (iR9); Walther writes this was from 1882-84, but 1883/03/03 Camille wrote to his son Lucien that he was setting out for Osny (R312,p35).
  • 1883: got interested in Socialism (R3).
  • 1884: moved to Eragny-sur-Epte (R3;R4,p255), about 45km north-west of Pontoise (iR9).
    Camille described it as ’the garden of Eden’ (R4,p255)
  • 1884/01/21: promoted in a letter to his son Lucien a book of Proudhon (R116,p117).
  • 1884/08/22 birth of his son Paul-Émile (also named Guingasse); his artist name was Paulémile (R269,p18;R312,px)
  • 1885: became an anarchist (R3)
  • 1888: start of an eye-disease (R3)
  • 1892/08/14: bought the house he first rented, he borrowed money from Monet (R5,p185)
  • 1892: visited his son Lucien in London (R5,p185)
  • 1894: fled to Belgium out of fear of being persecuted for his anarchist ideas (R3).
  • 1897/11/25 (or 26): His son Félix died in England (R5,p212;R269,p18;R312,p86)
  • 1903/11/12 (or 13): Camille Pissarro died in Paris, 1 Boulevard Morland (R116I,p319;R312,p100;iR3).
  • 1903: Pissarro was buried at the Père Lachaise cemetery (R312,p100;iR3).
  • 1921: his son Rodo began making a catalogue of his father’s works (R312,p176)
  • 1926/05/16: his wife Julie died at the age of 87 (R312,p192)
  • 1928+29: the family collection was sold at auctions at Georges Petit 1928/12/03, at Hôtel Drouot  1928/12/07+08 and 1929/04/12+13 (R312,p200)
  • 1930: There were centennial exhibitions with works of Camille Pissarro in Musée de l’Orangerie and de Luxembourg, that were visited by more than 20.000 people (R312,p205)
  • 1939: publication of ‘Camille Pissarro: son art, son oeuvre’ by Lionello Venturi and Rodo Pissarro (R126;R312,p176+219)
  • 1943: John Rewald published: Camille Pissarro, letters to his son Lucien (R269;R312,p210/1)


My main source is the Critical Catalogue of paintings by Joachim Pissarro and Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, mainly the biography by Alexia de Buffévent (2005,I,p95-323=R116=iR188;=aR6) and also the catalogue edited by Maloon (2005=R46). Other main sources are Rewald (1973=R1), Moffett (R2), Walther (R3,p687), Denvir (R5), Pool (1987=R6), Belloli (1990=R17), the Salon database (=iR1), Wikipedia (iR3) and the additional references (=aRx, see below). For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are  the-athenaeum (iR2), Wikimedia (iR6), wikiart (iR7), Google-images (=iR10), mutualart (iR11), artnet (iR13), Sothebys (iR14), Christies (iR15), magrasku (iR59), Pinterset (iR64), Flickr (iR94) and the additional references (=aRx). For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.


Additional references:

  1. www.camille-pissarro.org (>1600 pictures with limited texts and irritating pop-ups)
  2. Ashmolean Museum Oxford (several works of Camille Pissarro)
  3. tuttart (info and beautiful reproductions of works of Camille Pissarro; =iR204)
  4. Pure landscapes (article about Camille Pissarro 1890-94 on the eclectic light; =iR35)
  5. www.camillepissarro.org (biography, info, quotes and pictures; not secured, with advertisements)
  6. wpi.art.com/PissarroCCP (page with links to the 3 volumes of the Critical Catalogue of Paintings of Camille Pissarro by Joachim Pissarro and Claire Durand-Ruel snollaerts of 2005 (=R116;=iR188)
  7. Van Gogh Museum (impressionist prints, also of Pissarro)
  8. innovative impressions prints (article referring to an exhibition in 2018 in Philbrook about the prints of Cassatt, Degas and Pissarro)
  9. gallica.bnf.fr//henri_beraldi_tome_11 (the entire 5th Volume of Henri Beraldi: Les graveurs du XIXe siècle with works about Pissarro; =iR40 = R85XI)
  10. gallica.bnf.fr//Loys_Delteil_peintre-graveurs_tome_17 (the entire 17th volume of Loys Delteil: Le peintre-graveur illustré about Pissarro (and Sisley and Renoir); =R138XIV)
  11. “Camille Pissarro.” In Database of Modern Exhibitions (DoME). European Paintings and Drawings 1905-1915. Last modified Dec 17, 2020. http://exhibitions.univie.ac.at/person/ulan/500001924  =iR261; overview of contributions of Pissarro in exhibitions and auctions from 1905-1915 (69 entries)
  12. ngv.vic.gov.au//pissarro (article on the market scenes made by Pissarro; =iR328)
  13. archive.org/ia801507 (PDF Rewald, John: Camille Pissarro: Letters to his son Lucien. New York, 1943; =iR19=R269)
  14. gallica.bnf.fr/pissarro (engravings of Camille Pissarro; =iR40)


Recommanded citation: “Impressionism: Camille Pissarro, the most central Impressionist. Last modified 2024/02/14. https://www.impressionism.nl/pissarro-camille/.”

Note: additional info and pictures will follow.