born Saint-Thomas (Danish West Indies) 1830, died Paris 1903
Pissarro learned to draw when his parents sent him for schooling in Paris in 1841. After an unsettled period during which he first worked in his father's store and then went to Venezuela with the Danish painter Fritz Melbye (1826–1896), Pissarro returned to Paris in 1855, in time to see the World's Fair. He enrolled in both the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the less regimented Académie Suisse.
Pissarro asked Camille Corot for advice, and aspects of the older painter's style can be seen in Pissarro's silvery palette and soft touch through the mid-1860s. After that time the more assertive style of Gustave Courbet is evident.
After sporadic success at the Salon, Pissarro was eager to find alternative exhibition venues. He was the only artist to participate in all eight of the group Impressionist shows. Pissarro preferred living in the country to the city, and he settled in Pontoise as early as 1866, moving from there to increasingly rural locales.
By all accounts a generous and kindly man, Pissarro counseled Paul Cézanne in the early 1870s and was himself influenced by the younger painters Georges Seurat (1859–1891) and Paul Signac in the later 1880s.
Although success came late to Pissarro, he continued to find challenging motifs. Pissarro also left an impressive body of prints, many of which are technically innovative.
Pontoise, the road to Gisors in winter 1873, Camille Pissarro.
Oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: bequest of John T Spaulding