1. THE BEGINNINGS…1850s Rewald, J. (1963) Pissarro. NY: Abrams Like most Jews, Camille Pissarro was a child of the Diaspora His father’s family was of Sephardic origins In the late Middle Ages they lived in Braganza, Portugal They lived there as prominent citizens Until the Maruquis de Pombal forced Jews to flee in the mid-18 th c. The family was a distinguished one Even the Spanish explorer of Peru, Pizarro, was related to Pissarro The explorer was a Marrano/converso or Christianized Jew The family moved to Bordeaux in the 18 th c. 1802-His grandfather, Abraham Gabriel Pissarro was born there They established an import-export business They had branch offices throughout Europe and the Americas That was the British West Indies, then a French possession 1795-His mother, Rachel Manzana-Pomme was born in Dominica Camille’s mother was the widow of Isaac Petit 1824- Frederick Pissarro sailed from Bordeaux to St. Thomas He went as the executor of the estate of his uncle, isaac Petit Isaac had died there Petit left Rachel, a young wife of French Jewish Heritage There were three children and a fourth on the way Soon after Frederick arrived, he fell in love with his aunt Rachel 1826-They were married in a civil ceremony That was 8 months after the birth of their first child, Felix Their third son, Jacob Camille was born on July 10, 1830 He was the fourth child and last son 1842/47-Camille was sent to France to school, age 12-17 The Schoolmaster encouraged his interest in art 1847/52-Camille returned to St. Thomas He worked in his father’s general store and drew in his spare time
1. EXODUS 31: 1-4 Hertz, J.H. (1978). The Pentateuch and Haftorahs. London: Soncino. The LORD spoke to Moses: See, I have singled out by name Bezalel, son of uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have endowed him with a divine spirit of skill, ability, and knowledge in every kind of craft (Exodus 31:1-4) Did Jacob Camille Pissarro know about this Biblical phrase? Did God endow him with a ‘Divine Spirit of skill, ability, & knowledge? Perhaps, we’ll never know…. Camille was circumcised by a man named Abraham Hoheb This indicated his full acceptance into the covenant The Pissarro family were members of the Hebrew congregation That was in spite of the problems associated with their marriage Congregational elders questioned marriage of an aunt and nephew They protested even though she was pregnant by him The Pissarro’s are listed as donors to the campaign for its building This synagogue was completed in 1833 when Camille was 3 years old 1833-the synagogue recognized their marriage officially The family lived on Dronningens Gade This was above and behind the shop of their livelihood It was the single most important street in the town Charlotte Amalie was the harbor capital of St. Thomas, a “free port” It was the largest of the Virgin Islands It was a possession of the Danish crown It was subsequently purchased by the United States. It did not have the duty or taxes that would hinder free trade It was the only one in the section of the Caribbean that it dominated, This made it one of the best places to ‘do business’ in the Americas Camille received Danish citizenship at birth and kept it
BIBLICAL CITATION- GENESIS 12: 1 (LECH L’CHA) Hertz, J.H. (1978). The Pentateuch and Haftorahs. London: Soncino. Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.
DRAWING OF FRITZ MELBYE -Camille Pissarro, 1852 Brettell, R. & Zukowski, K. (1996). Camille Pissarro in the Caribbean, 1850-1855 . St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Graphite and watercolor Cream medium weight wove paper. 10 1/2 x 13 1/2”. Accession: OL1982 304P-16 This was a quick sketch of Camille’s friend Fritz painting The drawing was done with graphite/pencil and watercolor It was drawn/painted on ‘wove’ paper That term describes the way in which the paper was created The mashed paper pulp is placed on a woven brass wire mould It frequently has watermarked letters sewed into the mould It brings to mind this poem: RAGS make paper, PAPER makes money, MONEY makes banks, BANKS make loans, LOANS make beggars, BEGGARS make RAGS. Author unknown, 18 th c.
WOODED LANDSCAPE ON SAINT THOMAS-Camille Pissarro, 1854-55 Pissarro, J. (1993). Camille Pissarro. New York: Harry Abrams. Pencil. 13 1/2 x 10 1/4” (34.5 x 27.7 cm) Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 1855-Father permitted Camille to return to France and study art He Attended the 1 st International Exhibition He admired the work of Corot and visited him Fritz’s brother Anton later introduced him to Camille Corot Corot became Pissarro’s adviser
WOMAN CARRYING PITCHER-Camille Pissarro, 1854 Pissarro, J. (1993). Camille Pissarro. New York: Harry Abrams In July 1848, slavery was abolished throughout the virgin Islands At 19, Camille had witnessed a slave uprising This may have been the origin of his liberal social values He was committed to individual liberty and freedom of religion One paradox of his early years was is choice of exotic subjects 1855-1858: The first 8 paintings done in France all depict St Thomas
MADAME PISSARRO SEWING-Camille Pissarro, 1858 Cogniat, R. (1975) Pissarro. New York: Crown publishers. Oil. 6 1/4” x 4 3/8” Ashmoleum Museum, Oxford 1865- Frederick died He left an unusual beque st He left an equal sum to the synagogue and the Protestant church The reason(s) are not known—but open to much speculation He did not include Camille in his will! A central concept throughout Pissarro’s life was FREEDOM! He rejected sentimentality in art He also rebelled against anything that stood in the way of “ ART” and especially, art seen through our “ SENSATIONS”
THE SALON YEARS: 1864-1868 1857-he met Claude Monet at the Swiss Academy 1859-he exhibited at the Salon: LANDSCAPE AT MONTMORENCY. 1861 and 1863: He was rejected from The Salon 1863- Pissarro submitted to the Salon des Refuses Salons In 1865, 1866 and 1868- Pissarro submitted Emile Zola was one who favorably reviewed him in the press 1863: His son, Lucien is born on February 20 th Salon again rejects his work He participates in the Salon des Refuses. 1866 on-he veered away from Corot’s influence His palette grew clearer: Neutral tone became rarer and rarer Air began to circulate more lightly in a luminous space He painted with a palette knife He used sweeping and ever more supple strokes These traits became characteristic of Impressionist techniques 1850-1865: Constable to Daubigny were his visual influences In the mid-1860s, Pissarro was inspired by the Barbizon artists They were a group of the previous generation They were interested in depicting nature as a rural paradise They created a poetic feeling for color, light, and atmosphere
MAP Rothkopf, K. (2007). Pissarro: Creating The Impressionist landscape. Baltimore: Philip Wilson Publishers, Ltd These are some of the sites around Paris where Pissarro painted 1855-57: moves to France 1858: Sets up studio in Paris 1863: Moves to La Varenne-saint-Hillaire,near Marne river 1866: Moves to L’Hermitage, a small hamlet in Pontoise 1869: Moves to Louveciennes, a suburb of Paris 1870: Franco-Prussian war begins 7/19. Dec.-moves to London 1871: Returns to Louveciennes; house wrecked by soldiers 1872: Moves back to Pontoise 1874: Visits Piette at Montfoucault; earliest peasant paintings 1882: Left Pontoise for Eragny and stayed until death
WOMEN IN FIELDS-Camille Pissarro, 1863 Rothkopf, K. (2007). Pissarro: Creating The Impressionist Landscape. Baltimore: Philip Wilson Publishers, Ltd. 1855, he realized that he could no longer paint exotic landscapes He had been relying on his memories Decided that first hand observation was best for him Camille Corot advised him: “ You must go to the fields, the Muse is in the woods”
TREE LINED LANE- Camille Pissarro , 1864 Rothkopf, K. (2007). Pissarro: Creating The Impressionist landscape. Baltimore: Philip Wilson Publishers, Ltd. Oil on canvas. 14 x 10 7/8 in. (35.5 x 27.5 cm) Private Collection. Tampa, FL This work feels like of a rapid sketch It is immediate and spontaneous It has a thick, painterly style typical of his early career
HOUSES AT BOUGIVAL- Camille Pissarro , 1870 Rothkopf, K. (2007). Pissarro: Creating The Impressionist landscape. Baltimore: Philip Wilson Publishers, Ltd. Oil on canvas. 35 x 45 5/8 in. (88.9 x 115.9 cm). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. This is an unpretentious scene of peasants, a garden and houses The viewer sees through a screen of delicately painted leaves They flicker in broad daylight Several figures are dwarfed by tall trees and buildings They add an element of intimacy to this fairly large composition This work may have been shown in the Salon of 1870 It was the last Salon of the Second Empire It was also the last in which Pissarro exhibited He developed novel brush techniques and color schemes This was for spontaneity in his observations en plein air His new technique is done with large, separate brushstrokes They create shimmering light effects of the leaves on the trees This work is significant for being the earliest Salon-size painting It was done to impart the immediacy of the artist’s vision.
THE VERSAILLES ROAD AT LOUVECIENNES (SNOW)- Camille Pissarro , 1869 Rothkopf, K. (2007). Pissarro: Creating The Impressionist landscape. Baltimore: Philip Wilson Publishers, Ltd. Oil on canvas. 15 1/8 x 18 1/8 in. (38.4 x 46.4 cm) The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD: The George A. Lucas Collection Pissarro left Pontoise for Louveciennes in 1869 It was a small town west of Paris on the Seine River In December 1869, Monet went to Louveciennes to paint with him A heavy snowstorm inspired the two artists They produced a series depicting the winter landscape This was Pissarro’s first foray into Impressionism Quick brushworks record changes in weather and atmosphere Its small scale and immediacy marked a new phase in his career This painting was purchased just weeks after its completion Pere Martin was one of Pissarro’s first dealers He sold it in Jan. 1870 for 20 francs It was purchased by George Lucas, an American collector/dealer When Lucas died in 1909, he had a collection of 20,000 works
THE ROAD TO VERSAILLES AT LOUVECIENNES- Camille Pissarro , 1870 Rothkopf, K. (2007). Pissarro: Creating The Impressionist Landscape. Baltimore: Philip Wilson Publishers, Ltd. Oil on canvas. 12 7/8 x 16 3/16 in. (32.8 x 41.1 cm). The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA, 1955.828 Pissarro depicts the fleeting atmospheric and light effects This is a well-structured world based on strict rules of perspective The soft, subtle palette is typical of his work of this period The varied and energetic brushwork is also characteristic
THE FARM ON THE EDGE OF THE FOREST- Camille Pissarro , 1871 Rothkopf, K. (2007). Pissarro: Creating The Impressionist landscape. Baltimore: Philip Wilson Publishers, Ltd. Oil on canvas. 18 1/8 x 21 7/8 in. (46.5 x 55.8 cm). Noortman Master Paintings This is a view of a farm in early autumn Pissarro used shadow in the entire foreground He was criticized by art critics for doing this The figure on the path leaves the shadow for the bright area This contributes an element of anticipation, immediacy and interest She is about to break the threshold into the light.
LANDSCAPE AT ENNERY NEAR PONTOISE- Camille Pissarro , 1868 Rothkopf, K. (2007). Pissarro: Creating The Impressionist landscape. Baltimore: Philip Wilson Publishers, Ltd. Oil on canvas. 15 X 185/16 IN. (38 X 46.5 CM). Kunsthalle Bremen He did this small work and large-scale views at the same time The latter were of the hills that surrounded L’Hermitage Here he used large, thick brushstrokes, generously applied He used the palette knife frequently in his Jalais Hill series Pissarro had financial hardship during this period He struggled to sell his work and care for his family Clearly, He felt a close relationship to working class people They also labored hard for success
CHESTNUT TREES AT OSNY- Camille Pissarro , 1873 Rothkopf, K. (2007). Pissarro: Creating The Impressionist landscape. Baltimore: Philip Wilson Publishers, Ltd. Oil on canvas. 25 1/2 x 31 3/4 in. (65 x 81 cm). Collection of Jacqueline J. McMullen April 15, 1874-an important art show opened in Paris The societe Anonyme des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs 30 artists took part in the show It had been in the planning for more than a year. There was no jury The artists chose which of their works to display Pissarro showed 5 paintings: CHESTNUT TREEST AT OSNY, 1873 ORCHARD IN BLOOM, 1872 THE MUNICIPAL GARDEN, PONTOISE, 1873 MORNING IN JUNE, SUMMER, 1873 HOARFROST AT ENNERY, 1873 This one was mentioned in only one review The article noted that Pissarro’s style was not yet fully defined He had used this compositional device before Trees on either side frame the landscape within This technique was frequently used by 17/18 th c. Artists The trees allow only a glimpse into an undefined location The composition is divided into three horizontal bands His compositional construction controls the viewer’s eye The use of light/shadow assists in this process The loose and free style is typical of his e. 1870s work It combines historic and modern elements seamlessly This may be why he chose it for the first Impressionist exhibition
BIBLICAL CITATION: Ecclesiastes 2:5 Hertz, J.H. (1978). The Pentateuch and Haftorahs. London: Soncino. I laid out gardens and groves, in which I planted every kind of fruit tree
ORCHARD IN BLOOM- Camille Pissarro , 1872 Rothkopf, K. (2007). Pissarro: Creating The Impressionist landscape. Baltimore: Philip Wilson Publishers, Ltd. Oil on canvas. 17 3/4 x 21 5/8 in. (45.1 x 54.9 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Alisa Mellon Bruce Collection, 1970.17.51 C ritics declared Pissarro a simple painter of cabbages This work is an example of revising his Salon paintings Multiple layers of brushstrokes create Feathery leaves and flowers They convey an impression of substance and verdure They disguise the temporality of spring blooms ( BIBLICAL CITATION: Ecclesiastes 2:5) The healthy tree is the most solid, durable element in this landscape It poses a stark contrast to the still bare branches of other trees They also present a contrast to the rough, dry soil The tree branch above the man duplicates his arching back Notice the left branch of the blooming tree and the tree at right They both follow the outlines of the female figures bent pose This work may have been in homage to Francois Millet.
THE MUNICIPAL GARDEN, PONTOISE, 1874 Rothkopf, K. (2007). Pissarro: Creating The Impressionist landscape. Baltimore: Philip Wilson Publishers, Ltd. Oil on canvas. 23 5/8 x 28 3/4 in. (60 x 73 cm) Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. And Mrs. Arthur Murray, 1964 (64.156) Japanese woodblock print compositions influenced him He organizes space through increasingly smaller figures They also display lack of detail They induce the viewer to follow them into the space The left painting may be a pendant to the one on the right That painting was shown in 1874 at the first Impressionist exhibition Both works display a recreational theme and numerous figures They also are predominantly pink in hue Without linear perspective, the left one is more daring It records the most public place in Pontoise, the city gardens
HOARFROST AT ENNERY- Camille Pissarro , 1873 Rothkopf, K. (2007). Pissarro: Creating The Impressionist landscape. Baltimore: Philip Wilson Publishers, Ltd. Oil on canvas. Musee d’Orsay, Paris). 25 5/8 x 36 5/8 in. (65 x 93 cm) This is the most experimental of the 5 compositions It was the most controversial and produced significant reaction In one review, the critic commented that the painting had: “ neither head nor tail, top nor bottom, front nor back” This addressed the unconventional construction of the landscape This is a view of the old road running between Pontoise and Ennery The latter was a farming village near Pissarro’s home This old road was obsolete by the time he chose this site A new and more modern version had already been built Pissarro painted this work after the harvest The fields were plowed for the following season Haystacks dot the landscape Furrows of the field commingle with colored and textured shadows They were cast by an equally spaced line of trees These were probably poplars, located outside the picture plane A critic noted that Pissarro: “ commits the grave error of painting fields with shadows cast by trees placed outside the frame. As a result the viewer is left to suppose they exist, as he cannot see them” P. concentrates on the relationship between the solitary figure and the land that surrounds him The figure is even enveloped in a blue shadow That shadow marks the ground behind him The thin layer of morning frost will quickly melt on this sunny day This transitory quality of weather conditions is overridden The timeless mood and the rural subject are powerful The viewer is transported to another time and place It is a magical moment In his review of the 1874 exhibition, a critic wrote an invented conversation between himself and another visitor: “ The good man thought that the lenses of his spectacles were dirty. He wiped them carefully and replaced them on his nose…..’what on earth is that?’ A hoarfrost on deeply ploughed furrows…..Those furrows? That frost? But they are palette-scrapings placed uniformly on a dirty canvas. It has neither head nor tail, top nor bottom, front nor back. This is one of the most experimental works of P’s early career He freely explored technique, texture, color, and pattern This is a poetic elegy to beauty and poignancy
In the Beginning…. The 1850s
Exodus 31: 1-4 The LORD spoke to moses: See, I have singled out by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the Tribe of Judah. I have endowed him with a divine spirit of skill, ability, and knowledge in every kind of craft….
Now the Lord said unto Abram: ‘Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto the land that I will show you . Genesis 12: 1 (Lech L’ cha)