Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissaro was born July 10, 1830 on the beautiful island of Saint Thomas. As a young man Pissaro relocated to Paris when his parents sent him to boarding school. In the vibrant city, Pissaro began his appreciation and practice of art. Although he would return to Saint Thomas after his education was completed, his affinity for art continued and he utilized all of his spare time to continue drawing and painting.

When Pissaro returned to Paris, it was to study at the world renowned Ecole des Beaux-Arts and Academie Suisse. He worked closely with other artists and honed his skills while experimenting with new approaches to art. Eventually Pissaro would befriend fellow artists Claud Monet, Paul Cezanne, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir who also shared his interests in pushing the boundaries of what art had always been. In 1873 Pissaro established a collective of fifteen artists with the goal of a group exhibition since they had been shunned from the traditional French Salons. So began the Impressionist Art Movement.

The Impressionist’s were not well received in the beginning in Paris. The unconventional content and styles the movement represented shocked critics. In turning away from the traditional fine finish and detail, the Impressionists aimed to capture the momentary, sensory effect of a scene- the impression objects made on the eye in a fleeting moment. To achieve this effect, many impressionists took their easels outside for the first time to paint in the streets or country sides, painting en plein air.  With loosened brushstrokes and a lightened pallet, linear perspective was abandoned and clarity of form avoided. They focused not on creating a symmetrical composition, instead concentrating on the world as they saw it, imperfect in a myriad of ways. Impressionism would eventually be considered the first distinct modern movement in painting, and it is thanks to Camille Pissaro.