By Darla McCammon
Continuing our series about the artist Camille Pissarro, we find he is labeled today as an Impressionist. Art critics also consider his contributions to the history of art as Neo-Impressionistic. Both of these terms simply mean the artists who favor this type of painting are generally giving us a fresh and brief immediate look at the subject rather than spending hours of study in a studio perfecting and gleaning every detail possible in the work. Courbet, Corot, Seurat and others were Pissarro’s teachers. Later, he would become the teacher to such post-Impressionists as Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne and Paul Gauguin.
As we mentioned last week, Pissarro moved to Paris to work as an assistant to Anton Melbye, brother to his mentor in Venezuela. Once in Paris he went to art schools and took classes by some of the masters. Eventually he found this restrictive and stifling to his more loose and free style of painting. He was able to develop his own style by getting instruction from Camille Corot.
On the converse side, Pissarro was very aware of the standards he had to meet if he wanted his work to be displayed at the Paris Salon. The salon was the place to gain exposure if an artist wanted to succeed. They had many standards the artists were required to meet to be considered for their exhibitions. Pissarro recognized that he needed to make some adjustments if he wished to be recognized by the Salon. He managed to modify his style enough that he was accepted and exhibited for the first time in 1859.
The work of Corot could be seen as an influence on the paintings of Pissarro, such as his rural landscapes and natural settings. His work, titled “Entrée du village de Voisins” is a good example of how his work had evolved by 1872. This painting can be viewed today at the famous Musée D’Orsay in Paris in case you chance to visit there. Corot and Pissarro did disagree eventually as Corot would begin his work out in a natural setting, as did Pissarro, but they differentiated when Corot would go back to his studio and modify the reality with what he thought would improve the scene.
Pissarro on the other hand remained true to his objective of painting the reality before him and insisted on finishing his work in the natural world outdoors. This resulted in oddities and what some would call ugly shapes appearing in his art but which gave it the realism he craved. This created vigorous disagreement and discussion between critics, Corot and Pissarro.
Pissarro defended himself and was heard to tell his students, “Work at the same time upon sky, water, branches, ground, keeping everything going on an equal basis and unceasingly rework until you have got it. Paint generously and unhesitatingly, for it is best not to lose the first impression.”
Upcoming and Current Events
Contact Darla McCammon at (574) 527-4044 or at [email protected] if you have an event to mention.
- The Mary Alice Estep exhibit will be on display through March 4 at the Warsaw City Hall art gallery. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays.
- The Honeywell 92 County Art Show will be on display at the Clark Gallery in Wabash until Feb. 18.
- The Brenda Ramseier exhibit will be on display at the Lakeland Art Association until March 3.