By Darla McCammon
The road to the famous palace of Marie Antoinette and King Louis became a favorite subject of a number of Pissarro paintings after he moved to Louveciennes in 1869. He also struck up new acquaintances with other artists at the Académie Suisee free school. Cézanne, Monet, and Guillaumin became close friends as all of them rebelled against the strict dictates of the Paris Salon.
Pissarro encouraged these younger, struggling artists and agreed with them about including natural settings and realistic visions rather than enhanced grandiose designs that significantly altered the natural settings of things. It became difficult for their works to be accepted at the Salon but they were able to achieve a completely separate exhibit sponsored by Napoleon III. A rather hostile reception to this competitive exhibit came from both the salon and some members of the public.
Pissarro married in 1871. It was a rather unconventional match. He chose to wed his mother’s maid, Julie Vellay, daughter of a vineyard grower. The couple had seven children and lived outside Paris, where Pissarro continued with his fascination of village life, rivers, natural settings and his penchant for realistic work. His art friends continued to stay in contact, particularly Monet, Renoir, Cézanne and later Bazille.
Pissarro and his friends would not abandon their belief in the natural execution of the world around them. His style was described as a contemporary critic who was a bit more broad-minded than those of the Salon as, “The brightness of his palette envelops objects in atmosphere. He paints the smell of the earth.” The fact is, this was the beginning of impressionism as an art form.
Since he was considered Danish, not French, he could not join the Franco-Prussian War when it began in 1870, so he moved his family to a small village outside London. He struggled to gain acceptance from his British audience and wrote to a friend that “my painting doesn’t catch on, not at all.” He returned to France and resumed his life in his favorite surroundings, but visited England once again in 1890. He produced many wonderful works of art, returning to England often over the next seven years, interspersing those trips with his work in France.
Upcoming and Current Events
If you have an event to mention, contact Darla McCammon at [email protected] or at (574) 527-4044.
- The Mary Alice Estep exhibit is 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 Brenda Ramseier and Rick Reiff exhibits will be on display through March 3 at the Lakeland Art Association, 302 E. Winona Ave., Warsaw.
- An exhibit by photographer Al Disbro will be on display at Wagon Wheel Theatre in March.
- A photography exhibit by Dean Jansen will be coming to Warsaw City Hall in March.