By Darla McCammon
Are you frozen? This last week for most of us gave credence to the Disney movie “Frozen.” Winter, when not brutal, gives artists an opportunity for new scenery without ever traveling to a new location. Many artists have painted the four seasons and then produce amazingly different works of art from the same viewpoint. We learned two weeks ago about an artist who built himself a painting hut on wheels complete with a warming stove and art supplies inside, along with a large window to view the winter scenery. It isn’t necessary to travel, therefore, to paint something entirely different due to the changing seasons.
Camille Pissarro was an artist with a rich talent who painted different seasons along with a wide variety of subjects. Acquiring many admirers down through the ages, Pissarro had an attractive personality which endeared him to many of his clients as well as those he unselfishly mentored and encouraged. We are going to do a short series on this artist. His history would bear your further research. Who knows? You might be asked about him on “Jeopardy” someday!
Pissarro was born in 1830 on the island of St. Thomas, which at that time was part of the Danish West Indies. Today, this is our U.S. Virgin Islands. His father was Jewish and originally from Portugal. With all this complicated background, his father was also a citizen of France. Pissarro’s father traveled to St. Thomas for his business as a merchant. This is where he met Pissarro’s mother, who was of French-Jewish descent. There was a bit of a scandal due to a Jewish law being broken when his mother and father married.
When Pissarro was young, he attended the local primary school but when he turned 12, he was sent to the Savary Academy near Paris, France, where he was exposed to an education about the French Masters in art. Because of his aptitude, the owner of the school gave him personal attention with excellent instruction in drawing and painting.
When Pissarro turned 17 his father put him to work in his business, but the art drew the boy away as he took every opportunity to utilize his skill and his love of creating artwork. He also made the acquaintance of a Danish artist, Fritz Melbye, who lived nearby. By the time he was 21 he was thoroughly dissatisfied with doing clerk work and at the urging of Melbye he decided to take off from his father’s employment and moved with Melbye to Venezuela, where he studied under Melbye and honed his skill under the sharp eye of his friend and mentor. He filled many sketchbooks with his work.
In 1855 he was recommended to Melbye’s brother, Anton. He decided to move to Paris and became an assistant to the brother who had encouraged him in his work. Next week, we will follow Pissarro to Paris and learn about his accomplishments among some world-famous artists.
Upcoming and Current Events
If you would like to exhibit at Warsaw City Hall Art Gallery or submit an event, please contact Darla at [email protected] or (574) 527-4044.
- The Mary Alice Estep exhibit will be on display through March 4 at the Warsaw City Hall Art Gallery. Be sure to wander through both areas containing the art work. This is a fantastic display showing her development as an artist throughout her life. It is open from 8 a.m.t o 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays. A few of the paintings are for sale by the owners.
- The Honeywell 92 County Art Show will be on display at the Clark Gallery, Wabash, through Feb. 18.
- The Brenda Ramseier exhibit at Lakeland Art Association will be on display from Feb. 6 to March 3, with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at the LAA gallery, located at 302 E. Winona Ave., Warsaw.