“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” ~Camille Pissarro
Camille Pissarro (pronunciation) was born on July 10, 1830, on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies. His father was a French planter and his mother was of African and Creole descent. As a child, Pissarro attended both French and Danish schools. At the age of 12, his father sent him to boarding school in France.
Early Life of Camille Pissarro
As a young student, he developed an appreciation of the French art masters. So his teacher provided him with a strong foundation in drawing and painting and suggested he draw from nature when he returned to St. Thomas.
After his schooling, Pissarro returned to St. Thomas at the age of sixteen and worked in his father’s business as a port clerk. Even so, Camille took every opportunity he could to practice drawing during breaks and after work.
In 1855, he moved to Paris, where he met and was influenced by such artists as Gustave Courbet and Eugène Delacroix. He enrolled in an art academy, but was soon disillusioned by the school’s traditional teaching methods.
Impressionist Camille Pissarro
He returned to St. Thomas, but came back to Paris in 1859. This time, he joined a group of young artists who were working outside of the academic system. These artists, who became known as the Impressionists, were dedicated to painting landscapes and cityscapes from real life, rather than from idealized images.
Pissarro quickly became an important member of the Impressionist group. He participated in all eight of their group exhibitions, held between 1874 and 1886. His work was often inspired by the landscapes of France, particularly those around his home in the village of Eragny-sur-Epte (pronunciation).
In 1884, Pissarro married Julie Vellay, with whom he had eight children. The artist continued to work until his death on November 13, 1903. He is considered to be one of the most important and influential artists of the Impressionist movement. Camille Pissarro rejected the label, preferring to be called a “pioneer” of the movement.
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