By Darla McCammon
This week we will catch up with the series we began on Camille Pissarro. If you recall, the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) drove Pissarro and his family to move from their home in Louveciennes, France, to a small village across the channel to a home near London. This location, 77A Westow Hill in Upper Norwood, London, is marked today with a blue plaque. Today, the London National Gallery, in the city where he struggled to find acceptance during the war times, proudly displays over 12 of his masterpieces.
Because of the lack of enthusiasm about his work, he decided to move his family back to France in June 1871. Upon their arrival, they were dismayed at the destruction of their belongings, including much of his early paintings, by the Prussian soldiers. Multiple trips between England and France occurred over the rest of his life as his work developed in maturity and expression. He loved both the rural as well as the more metropolitan views of life in France but he also continued to create views of life in and around London. He was quoted to say, “Everything is beautiful. All that matters is to be able to interpret.”
He loved to portray the common peasants and laborers along with the simple beauty of the landscape in which they existed. His painting of the geese in the countryside called Opere Stile is a good example.
Pissarro continued to be a strong influence in French impressionism and became friends with many others who joined in his enthusiasm for this particular technique of painting. Pissarro disdained, for the most part, working in a studio away from the scene he wished to capture. He chose instead to operate en plein air in which he took his tools with him and painted on the premises, capturing a freshness and a realism of his initial impressions. He seldom took sketches that went back to a studio where they were embellished and changed, preferring instead to present to his viewers how the scene before him impacted him as he saw it up front and in person.
Mentor and friend to Cezanne, Manet, Renoir, Gauguin, Pissarro was influential and respected by other artists known to have difficult personalities such as Edgar Degas, Cezanne and Paul Gauguin.
Claude Monet was an enthusiastic impressionist painter but Pissarro walked away with the honors when it came to sharing the technique and befriending others. Pissarro also achieved the honor of exhibiting in all eight of the impressionist exhibitions held during his lifetime.
Like Van Gogh, Pissarro sold few of his paintings during his lifetime. Today they are worth millions on the world art market. We will end with a famous quote by Pissarro: “Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”
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 Dean Jansen photography exhibit at Warsaw City Hall will be on display through May 31.
- The Al Disbro “Our Town” photography exhibit at the Wagon Wheel Salon will be on display through April 29. It is open form 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. There is no charge for admittance except during show performances.
- The Edgewood Student Art Show will be on display through March 25 at Lakeland Art Gallery, 302 E. Winona Ave., Warsaw.
- The Lakeland Art Association will host a free to attend “open studio” on Saturday, April 13, at Lakeland Art Gallery.