Pissarro, Camille

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Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)

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 visits Café Guerbois and also meets 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.


Camille Pissarro at the Salon:

1859: debut at the Salon (R116,CR37;R3). 1861 + 63: rejected at the Salon (R3). Note: De Buffévent doesn’t indicate if Pissarro admitted to the Salon of 1861 (R116,p113). Joins the Salon des Refuses in 1863 (iR1;R116,p115;R3). Exhibits yearly at the Salon from 1864-70, except 1867 (iR1). Several times his name is spelled wrong as ‘Pissaro’ (iR1). Receives positive reviews at the Salons of 1859 + 65 +66 +68 +70 (R116,p111+118+121+125-7). At the Salon of 1864+69 he is not noticed (R116,p116+126). At the Salon of 1868 + 69 his paintings are poorly hung (mostly too high) (R116,p125/6).
See link for an account. See link for the paintings Pissarro submitted to the Salon.


Camille Pissarro was the only one who joined all the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions:

At the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874 Pissarro showed 5 works.
At the 2nd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1876 Pissarro showed 12 works.
At the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877 Pissarro showed 22 works.
At the 4th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1879 Pissarro showed 39 works, including 12 fans and 4 pastels.
At the 5th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1880 Pissarro showed 29 works, including 1 fan and 18 etchings.
At the 6th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1881 Pissarro showed 28 works, including 15 gouaches and 2 pastels.
At the 7th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1882 Pissarro showed 36 works, including 10 gouaches and 1 tempera.
At the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1886 Pissarro showed 28 works, including 4 gouaches, 7 pastels and 8 etchings.
See link for an account.


Camille Pissarro at other exhibitions:

Camille Pissarro also did exhibit at other exhibitions.  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. Other international exhibitions: Florence (1879), Oran (1880), Tours (1882), Boston (1883), Berlin (1883), London (1884), Brussels (1885) . In 1883 he exhibits with the ‘Société des impressionnistes’ in London. (R116,I,p361-3). 1883: first solo exhibition (with Durand-Ruel) in Paris exhibiting 70 works (R116;R3). 1886: several works of him are exhibited in New York with Durand-Ruel (R116;R3).
1887-1903: exhibits at several regional and international exhibitions and regularly exhibits at the galleries of Georges Petit and Duran-Ruel (R116,I,p363-6). 1887/12: exhibits with Fénéon at La Revue Indépendante (R5,p157). 1889 + 1900: exhibits at the Exposition Centennale (R116;R3). Exhibits with Les XX in Brussels in 1887+89+91 (R116;R3). Exhibits with ‘La Libre Esthétique’ in Brussels in 1894+1901 (R116;R5,p194). Important solo exhibitions (R116): 1892 (50 works); 1893 (46 works); 1894/03: exhibits 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:

1850/04: first painting trip with the Danish painter Fritz Melbye (1826-69) to Saint-Domingue; they paint en-plein-air (R116,p100). 1852-4: paints with the Danish painter Fritz Melbye at Caracas, Venezuela (R116,p101-4;R6,p38;R3). 1855/10: arrives in Paris (R116,p105); paints in his studio Caribean landscapes (CCP16-24). 1856: attends private classes by teachers from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris: François-Édouard Picot, Isidore Dagnan and Henri Lehmann (R116,p107;R6,p38). 1856: Works briefly in the studio of Anton Melbye (1818-75), the older brother of Fritz, and at the Salon (1859-66) is called his pupil (R116,p117;iR1;R6,p38). 1857-61: attends the ‘Académie Suisse’ (R116,p108-113;R3). 1857: receives advice from Corot to work in the open (R116,p108/9); at the Salon of 1864+65 Pissarro is called his pupil (iR1). 1857: paints with Antoine Chintreuil and Jean Desbrosses (R116,p109).

1860: meets Piette, who will become a very close friend and supporter (R116,CR51). 1860: meets Guillaumin at Académie Suisse (R116,p111). 1860: meets Monet at Académie Suisse and maybe painted together at Champigny-sur-Marne (R116,p112). 1861/04: Meets Cézanne at Académie Suisse; they will have close contact until 1886 (R116,p113). 1861 onwards: Pissarro starts to copy old masters in the Louvre (R116,p113). 1862/05: Pissarro is member of the ‘Société des Aquafortistes’ (R116,p114). 1863: Meets Monet again, who introduces him to Renoir, Sisley and Bazille (R116,p113). 1863: Antoine Guillemet, whom he had met at Académie Suisse, is witness of the birth of his son Lucien Pissarro and in 1865 ‘godfather’ of Jeanne (R116,p115+118). 1864-76: Pissarro will stay 6x at the property of Piette in Montfoucault; he would make 53 canvases there (R116,vol.2,p89). 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). 1866: Pissarro weekly attends Zola his open table (R116,p122). Also influenced by pre-impressionists like Courbet, Daubigny and Millet (R6,p38). His use of colour is brighter and more naturalistic than that of Corot (R6,p39). 1866-68: visits Café Guerbois (R3). In London (1870/1) 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). 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). 1886-90: paints in a pointillist style (R3;R6,p243;R8,p299). He criticizes 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).
Camille Pissarro is supported by Murer (from 1879-9), Caillebotte (R4,p190+4;R3) and others. 1895/02/24: Camille Pissarro complains in a lettre to his son Lucien that he still doesn’t sell successfully (R5,p200).


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)
  • 1842-7: stay at 46, boulevard de Passy in Passy; attends a boarding school; starts to draw (R116,p99;R3)
  • 1847-52: works as a shop clerk in the family import-export business at the Ile of Saint-Thomas (R116,p99-101;R3)
  • 1855/10: arrives in Paris and visits the ‘Exposition Universelle’ (R116,p105/6;R3); stays 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 supports him and later on his mother (R116,p106+124)
  • 1856/01-1863/Winter: Pissarro lives at 6 different addresses in the 9th arrondissement in Paris (R116,II,p54).
  • 1860: relationship with Julie Vellay (the kitchen-maid of his mother who is Catholic and not Jewish and from a family of humble origin) (R116,p111-3;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;R3).
  • 1863/Winter-1864/Spring: Pissarro lived 57, rue de Vanves, Paris (R116,pII,p54;iR1)
  • 1864/Spring-Autumn: Camille stays with his sick father at the family home in Passy (R116,p116)
  • 1864/12: after staying with Piette in Montfoucault, Pissarro moves 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 dies (R116,p117).
  • 1865/05/18: his daughter Jeanne-Rachel (Minette) is born (R116,p118).
  • 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, paints blinds and shop signs (R116,p124)
  • 1868/10: Pissarro moves 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)
  • 1870/09-12: due to the Franco-Prussian war, Pissarro first stays with Piette in Montfoucault (about 250km south-west of Paris)
  • 1870/10/21: Adèle Emma is born and died the 5th of November (R116,p128)
  • 1870/12: Pissarro flees to London; meeting with Durand-Ruel (R3) and also Legros, Monet and Daubigny (R116,p129+130)
  • 1871/06/14: Camille and Julie are married in Surrey, England (R116,p133)
  • 1871/06/23: Pissarro returned to Louveciennes and temporarily lives at no.24 (R116,p133/4)
    During the war most of his early works, who were in Louveciennes, were destroyed (R116,p131;iR3;R3).
  • 1871/11/22: his second son George Henri (Manzana) was born in Louveciennes; he also became an artist and died in 1961 (R116,p134;R3)
  • 1872/04: moves to Pontoise (R116,p134;R3)
  • 1878/09: Ludovic was born (R4,p194)
  • 1881: birth of Jeanne (also named Cocotte) (R4,p243)
  • 1882-84: lives in Osny (R3)
  • 1883: gets interested in Socialism (R3).
  • 1884: moves to Eragny-sur-Epte (R3;R4,p255)
    Camille described it as ‘the garden of Eden’ (R4,p255)
  • 1884/01/21: promotes in a letter to his son Lucien a book of Proudhon (R116,p117).
  • 1885: becomes an anarchist (R3)
  • 1888: start of an eye-disease (R3)
  • 1892/08/14: buys the house he first rented, he borrowed money from Monet (R5,p185)
  • 1892: visits his son Lucien in London (R5,p185)
  • 1894: flees to Belgium out of fear of being persecuted for his anarchist ideas (R3).
  • 1897/11/26: His son Félix died (R5,p212)
  • 1903/11/13: Pissarro died in Paris (iR3).
  • 1903: Pissarro was buried at the Père Lachaise cemetery (iR3).





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), Google-images (=iR10) 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)
  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. x