Monday, February 17, 2014

Camille Pissarro: A Loving Tribute

I am in love with Camille Pissarro (1830-1903). I have been for a long time. No, not romantic love, more like the adoration of a child sitting at the feet of a wise and experienced father.


You can imagine my joy to find an exhibit in Barcelona of 67 of his paintings. 67! I moved up close to his paintings trying to find him in his colors, impasto and other techniques. (I think I drove the security guards crazy.) Steeped in the environment of his paintings, I thought about his amazing output, political courage and gentle, fatherly personality.

His work ethic was boundless. No matter what was happening in his personal life, he painted. He painted outdoors as much as possible and mostly without consideration to the weather. When he could not paint outside, he stood at the window and painted.

Even in later life, with his vision impaired from a recurring eye infection, he painted. His industriousness was enough to eventually support his large family. (Wife, 8 children and household help)




Art was central to him, yet  Pissarro was a well-read and informed man. He understood the original meaning of anarchy (without a monarch/leader). Although he believed in non-violence, his leftist leanings brought him to the attention of the police. It was very dangerous for Pissarro for he had known artist who were jailed for their leftist beliefs. (Trial of the Thirty, 1894)

Another reason I admire him is the consistent description of him by his contemporaries as "fatherly." Gauguin, who studied with him, referred to M. Pissarro as "...one of my masters and I would not deny him." Cezanne walked miles just to paint with Pissarro. Mary Cassatt referred to him as "a teacher who could have taught the stones to draw correctly." It was his " gentle, kind, and warm-hearted personality" that held the Impressionists together.

The Impressionist Group consisted of 15 artists - each different in personality and temperament from the others. Yet, it was Pissarro who held the group together. Not only would his legacy be his role as "Father of the Impressionists," but also as the creative force of children and grandchildren who followed him in art.

Most notable among his progeny are: His son, Lucien Pissarro, a famous printer, grandchildren Claude Bonin-Pissarro, Henri Bonin-Pissarro, and Orovida Pissarro, all painters, and great grandchilden, Frédéric Bonin-Pissarro, painter and Joachim Pissarro, Head of Curator of Drawing & Painting, MOMA as well as professor of art at Hunter College.

Here's a glimpse of his art - another reason I am in love with him. And what is your take on M. Pissarro?




20 comments:

  1. I like his paintings. The last one has beautiful colors. He does look very fatherly. Thanks for featuring him. Luc

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  2. His paintings are beautiful and his colors are gorgeous. I especially admire the snow scene. It must be tricky to paint, since we all know snow is white, except it isn't. Such a wonderful legacy, to be known not just for his talent but for being a kind and gentle human being. sz

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    1. Hi SZ, I thought the same thing about the snow scene. R.

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  3. Beautiful. Thank you for refreshing our memory of him.

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  4. Always one of my favorites--this was a delight to read!

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    1. He's a favorite of mine, too... obviously!

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  5. Thanks R . for the great insight into this artists -
    in the world of art history there so many great artists
    that don't get mention - Peter

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    1. I agree, Peter. It's my hope that he receives the prominence that he deserves.

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  6. This is a particularly wonderful Ruminations on Art & Life. I loved it and his work. MAR

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  7. Loved the blog on Pissarro...what a great artist...and it must have been a delight to find so many of his pics in that gallery.
    Love jx

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  8. I love this BLOG. Because art is not my main passion in life this is a wonderful way to stay in touch with the beauty and talent that abounds in the artistic world. MS

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    1. Thanks so much for the wonderful kudo!

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  9. We have a wonderful artist and art-blogger in our own community. We were esp touched by today's blog. Check it out here, and subscribe. Thank you R-Atencio, for your constant, knowledgeable enthusiasm! The Gallery at the Watershed

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    1. and you have a wonderful gallery! R.

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  10. Wonderful tribute to Pizarro. I also love the last painting. How fortunate you were to see so many pieces if his work.

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    1. Thanks, Roka. That's my favorite, too. Love the colors.

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  11. Thank you, R! You brought Pisarro to life in a way that I had not known him before. His colors are vibrant, and I am glad to know he was a teacher. -Debra, from the Art Salon

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    1. Thank you, Debra. I can imagine that his fatherliness extended to teaching, too.

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