“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where others see nothing.”-Camille Pissarro
Camille Pissarro was born in the Virgin Islands in 1830 to parents from the Dominican Republic and lived in St. Thomas, Virgin islands until the age of 12.
When he was 19 he met a Danish painter named Fritz Melbye, who came to St Thomas from Copenhagen to train to be a marine artist. Melbye became Pissarro’s teacher, travel companion, and close friend inspiring him to become a full-time professional artist.
Pissarro traveled to Paris in 1855 where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-arts and Academy Suisse as well as under Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, and Charles-Francois Daubigny.
Pissarro married and with his wife fathered 8 children. One of the children died at birth and another daughter passed at the age of nine. The surviving children were all artistic painters.
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 caused Pissarro to leave his home. When he returned he found his home and many of his paintings destroyed by Prussian soldiers. The family took refuge in England at Westow Hill in Upper Norwood where a plaque now marks the site of the house he lived in. He enjoyed painting the views in Norwood and came to meet an art dealer by the name of Paul Durand-Ruel. Durand-Ruel became the most important art dealer of the new school of French Impressionism.
Pissarro painted rural and urban French life in Pontoise and Montmartre. He was a believer in anarchy and displayed a deep empathy for laborers and peasants. It is believed his interest in anarchy was due to his early years in St. Thomas. He was a mentor to Paul Cezanne, Edouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin, and even inspired the young Californian Impressionist Lucy Bacon.
Pissarro exhibited in all eight Impressionist Salon Exhibitions and along with Claude Monet was a primary developer of the Impressionist style of painting. He had a profound influence on the Impressionistic theory and maintained friendships with Pointillism painters Georges Seurat and Paul Signac and was an admirer of Vincent Van Gogh’s work.
Please enjoy the paintings of the resident students at Springside Rehabilitation & Skilled Care Center. Our rendition painting at Master Artist Class is called, Sunset Bazincourt Steeple, by Camille Pissarro.