Friday, November 2, 2007


Jacob Abraham Camille Pissarro, known as Camille Pissarro, was born on July 10, 1830 on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, Danish West Indies; to Abraham Gabriel Pissarro, of Sephardic (or "Morrano") Jewish ancestry, and Rachel Manzano-Pomié, a Dominican of Spanish descent. His parents sent him to Paris at age 12 to a small boarding school. It was there that the director, seeing his interest in art, advised him to take "advantage of his life in the tropics by drawing coconut trees." When he returned to St. Thomas in 1847, this advice had been taken to heart.

He moved to Paris in 1855 and studied there with the French landscape artist Jean Baptiste Camille Corot. He later became associated with the Barbizon school. Afterwards, he came under the influence of Claude Monet and other impressionists. During the Franco German War he lived in England, where he made a study of the landscapes of Joseph Mallord Turner. On his return to France he settled in Normandy. An active, productive Master of his art until the end, Camille Pissarro succumbed to blood poisoning on 13 November, 1903 in Le Havre, France.

His landscapes have a naturalism that places him close to the Barbizon school and a firm classical structure shared only by his good friend Paul Cézanne. This Blvd Montmartre in Paris is part of a series of the same scene that he painted under different weather conditions in 1897.

In 1973 it went on auction for £ 161,764 in London ($275,000). The scene to the right is another version of Blvd Montmartre at night which is now property of the National Gallery London. Whilst in England in the 70s and back in the 90s, Pissarro was introduced to the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel who bought two of his London’ paintings. Durand-Ruel subsequently became the most important art dealer of the new school of French Inpressionism.

In March 1893, in Paris, Durand-Ruel organized a major exhibition of 46 of Pissarro's works along with 55 others by La Gandara. But while the critics acclaimed Gandara, their appraisal of Pissarro's art was less enthusiastic. During his lifetime, Camille Pissarro sold few of his paintings. By 2005, however, some of his works were selling in the range of $ 2 to 4 million.

Pissarro died in 1903 and was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

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