Camille Pissaro, master of Neo-Impressionism Camille Pissaro is not the best known of the impressionists and yet the artist played an essential role in art history.
One of the major artists in 19th century
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) is one of the major artists in 19th century in France. Today, however, Pissarro is often relegated to the background in the history of art. Friend and mentor, Pissarro maintained close relationships with artists of different generations such as Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt among others. These intense exchanges can be seen as the catalyst for major developments in painting in the second half of the 19th century. It is also a real friendship that bound Pissarro and Cézanne for twenty years. The two men shared a convergence of visions, each acknowledging the influence of the other while keeping their personalities. A central figure of Impressionism, Pissarro marked this movement in a decisive way. He is the only Impressionist to pay equal attention to the landscape and the human figure.
A second pictorial revolution : neo-Impressionism
In the 1880s, when Impressionism was also attracting the support of collectors and bringing in money for artists, Pissarro devoted himself to a second pictorial revolution : neo-Impressionism. Once again, he displays his absolute will in favor of artistic progress. Like many Neo-Impressionists, Camille Pissarro was interested in anarchism. The way in which his political convictions are reflected in his art has always been of interest for a socio-historical art history. It is obvious that Pissarro did not consider his paintings to be political professions of faith. Nevertheless, his revolutionary pictorial technique and his willingness to take new paths against all odds connects his art to the central idea of anarchism.
Sensitive to the social problems of his time
Of all the Impressionist painters, Camille Pissarro is the most sensitive to the social problems of his time. He devotes several of his paintings to the theme of work and in particular to that of peasants. His reference is Jean-François Millet, of whom Pissarro claims to be the admirer and the debtor. For him, the countryside is ideally opposed to the city, which he likes to represent in many views, most often taken from the balcony of his Parisian home. But, while urban spaces are most often seen by Camille Pissaro as the symbol of progress and modern life, with its incessant and frenetic movement, rural spaces represent in his eyes the truest dimension of human existence. , because you can establish an authentic and rewarding relationship with nature. However, faithful to the principles of his social philosophy, he does not reduce this link to the Sunday walk of the Parisian bourgeois, who abandons his job and his house in the city to spend public holidays in the open air, having picnics in the fields. , practicing sports on the rivers or having fun in the many establishments reserved for tourists. Pissarro does not share his taste, which we find represented in the numerous paintings of his impressionist colleagues. He considers them superficial, not to say rhetorical or hypocritical. In his eyes, only those who live all their life in these places and who work the land every day can claim to live in communion with nature.