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Camille Pissarro's Painting Style and Techniques
  2014-05-07 23:01:35 Author:admin Source: Size of the characters:[big][middle][small]

Camille Pissarro's Painting Style and Techniques:

Camille Pissarro (10 July 1830 – 13 November 1903) was a Danish-French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter born on the island of St Thomas. His importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. He studied from great forerunners, including Gustave Courbet and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. He later studied and worked alongside Georges Seurat and Paul Signac when he took on the Neo-Impressionist style at the age of 54.

Camille Pissarro Painting

(Pictured Above: "Chestnut Trees, Louveciennes, Winter" Painted by Camille Pissarro in 1872)

When Camille Pissarro was twelve his father sent him to boarding school in France. He studied at the Savary Academy in Passy near Paris. While a young student, he developed an early appreciation of the French art masters. Monsieur Savary himself gave him a strong grounding in drawing and painting and suggested he draw from nature when he returned to St. Thomas, which he did when he was seventeen. However, his father preferred he work in his business, giving him a job working as a cargo clerk. He took every opportunity during those next five years at the job to practice drawing during breaks and after work.

When he turned twenty-one, Danish artist Fritz Melbye, then living on St. Thomas, inspired Camille to take on painting as a full-time profession, becoming his teacher and friend. Camille then chose to leave his family and job and live in Venezuela, where he and Melbye spent the next two years working as painting artists in Caracas. He drew everything he could, including landscapes, village scenes, and numerous sketches, enough to fill up multiple sketchbooks. In 1855 he moved back to Paris where he began working as assistant to Anton Melbye, Fritz Melbye's brother.

The Church and Farm of Eragny

(Pictured Above: "The Church and Farm of Eragny" Painted by Camille Pissarro in 1895, Size:  73.5 x 60 cm)

In Paris, Camille worked as assistant to Danish painter Anton Melbye. He also studied paintings from other artists whose style impressed him: Courbet, Charles-François Daubigny, Jean-François Millet, and Corot. He also enrolled in various classes taught by masters, at schools such as École des Beaux-Arts and Académie Suisse. But Pissarro eventually found their teaching methods "stifling," states art historian John Rewald. This prompted him to search for alternative instruction, which he requested and received from Corot.

His initial paintings were in accord with the standards at the time to be displayed at the Paris Salon, the official body whose academic traditions dictated the kind of art that was acceptable. The Salon's annual exhibition was essentially the only marketplace for young artists to gain exposure. As a result, Pissarro worked in the traditional and prescribed manner to satisfy the tastes of its official committee.

Place du Theatre Francais--Camille Pissarro(Pictured Above: "Avenue de l'Opera, Place du Theatre Francais" Painted by Camille Pissarro in 1898)

In 1859 his first painting was accepted and exhibited. His other paintings during that period were influenced by Camille Corot, who tutored him. He and Corot both shared a love of rural scenes painted from nature. It was by Corot that Camille was inspired to paint outdoors, also called "plein air" painting. Pissarro found Corot, along with the work of Gustave Courbet, to be "statements of pictorial truth," writes Rewald. He discussed their work often. Jean-François Millet was another whose work he admired, especially his "sentimental renditions of rural life".

During this period, Camille Pissaro began to understand and appreciate the importance of expressing on canvas the beauties of nature without adulteration. After a year in Paris, he therefore began to leave the city and paint scenes in the countryside to capture the daily reality of village life. He found the French countryside to be "picturesque," and worthy of being painted. It was still mostly agricultural and sometimes called the "golden age of the peasantry". Camille later explained the technique of painting outdoors to a student:

"Work at the same time upon sky, water, branches, ground, keeping everything going on an equal basis and unceasingly rework until you have got it. Paint generously and unhesitatingly, for it is best not to lose the first impression."

The Wheelbarrow Orchard Pissarro

(Pictured Above: "The Wheelbarrow, Orchard" Painted by Camille Pissarro in 1881, Size: 65 x 54 cm)

Corot, however, would complete his own scenic paintings back in his studio where they would often be revised to his preconceptions. Pissarro, on the other hand, preferred to finish his paintings outdoors, often at one sitting, which gave his work a more realistic feel. As a result, his art was sometimes criticised as being "vulgar," because he painted what he saw: "rutted and edged hodgepodge of bushes, mounds of earth, and trees in various stages of development." According to one source, details such as those were equivalent to today's art showing garbage cans or beer bottles on the side of a street scene. This difference in style created disagreements between Pissarro and Corot.

The following year, in 1874, the group held their first 'Impressionist' Exhibition, which shocked and "horrified" the critics, who primarily appreciated only scenes portraying religious, historical, or mythological settings. They found fault with the Impressionist paintings on many grounds:

The subject matter was considered "vulgar" and "commonplace," with scenes of street people going about their everyday lives. Pissarro's paintings, for instance, showed scenes of muddy, dirty, and unkempt settings;
The manner of painting was too sketchy and looked incomplete, especially compared to the traditional styles of the period. The use of visible and expressive brushwork by all the artists was considered an insult to the craft of traditional artists, who often spent weeks on their work. Here, the paintings were often done in one sitting and the paints were applied wet-on-wet;
The use of color by the Impressionists relied on new theories they developed, such as having shadows painted with the reflected light of surrounding, and often unseen, objects. (Camille Pissarro's Painting Style and Techniques)

Camille showed five of his paintings, all landscapes, at the exhibit, and again Émile Zola praised his art and that of the others. In the Impressionist exhibit of 1876, however, art critic Albert Wolff complained in his review, "Try to make M. Camille understand that trees are not violet, that sky is not the color of fresh butter ..." Journalist and art critic Octave Mirbeau on the other hand, writes, "Camille Pissarro has been a revolutionary through the revitalized working methods with which he has endowed painting". According to Rewald, Pissarro had taken on an attitude more simple and natural than the other artists. He writes:

"Rather than glorifying—consciously or not—the rugged existence of the peasants, he placed them without any 'pose' in their habitual surroundings, thus becoming an objective chronicler of one of the many facets of contemporary life."

In later years, Cézanne also recalled this period and referred to Pissarro as "the first Impressionist". In 1906, a few years after Pissarro's death, Cézanne, then 67 and a role model for the new generation of artists, paid Pissarro a debt of gratitude by having himself listed in an exhibition catalogue as "Paul Cézanne, pupil of Pissarro". showed five of his paintings, all landscapes, at the exhibit, and again Émile Zola praised his art and that of the others. In the Impressionist exhibit of 1876, however, art critic Albert Wolff complained in his review, "Try to make M. Pissarro understand that trees are not violet, that sky is not the color of fresh butter ..." Journalist and art critic Octave Mirbeau on the other hand, writes, "Camille Pissarro has been a revolutionary through the revitalized working methods with which he has endowed painting". According to Rewald, Camille had taken on an attitude more simple and natural than the other artists. He writes:

"Rather than glorifying—consciously or not—the rugged existence of the peasants, he placed them without any 'pose' in their habitual surroundings, thus becoming an objective chronicler of one of the many facets of contemporary life."

In later years, Cézanne also recalled this period and referred to Camille as "the first Impressionist". In 1906, a few years after Camille's death, Cézanne, then 67 and a role model for the new generation of artists, paid Camille a debt of gratitude by having himself listed in an exhibition catalogue as "Paul Cézanne, pupil of Camille".

By the 1880s, Camille began to explore new themes and methods of painting to break out of what he felt was an artistic "mire". As a result, Pissarro went back to his earlier themes by painting the life of country people, which he had done in Venezuela in his youth. Degas described Pissarro's subjects as "peasants working to make a living".

However, this period also marked the end of the Impressionist period due to Caille's leaving the movement. As Joachim Pissarro points out, "Once such a die-hard Impressionist as Pissarro had turned his back on Impressionism, it was apparent that Impressionism had no chance of surviving ..."

It was Camille Pissarro's intention during this period to help "educate the public" by painting people at work or at home in realistic settings, without idealising their lives. Renoir, in 1882, referred to Pissarro's work during this period as "revolutionary," in his attempt to portray the "common man." Camille Pissarro himself did not use his art to overtly preach any kind of political message, however, although his preference for painting humble subjects was intended to be seen and purchased by his upper class clientele. He also began painting with a more unified brushwork along with pure strokes of color. (Refer to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camille_Pissarro)

Edited by Kevin from Xiamen Romandy Art Limited.
Founded in 2001, Xiamen Romandy Art Co., Ltd. is one of the leading oil painting galleries engaged in the production of
handmade oil paintings in China. Our high quality products and excellence in service have helped us to enjoy a high reputation among our clients. Look forward to hearing your kind inquiries.

Tags: Camille Pissarro's Painting Style and Techniques, Camille Pissarro's Painting Skills.

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