Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Camille Pissarro’s St. Thomas Paintings You Should Know

Impressionism

Camille Pissarro’s St. Thomas Paintings You Should Know

Camille Pissarro, one of the most famous impressionist painters, was born in St. Thomas island in 1830. The exotic island inspired much of his painting. Pissarro’s family owned a dry goods business there.

Camille Pissarro St Thomas Camille Pissarro, A Creek in St. Thomas (Virgin Islands), 1856, National Gallery of Art, Washington

Camille Pissarro, A Creek in St. Thomas (Virgin Islands), 1856, National Gallery of Art, Washington

Camille’s parents were Frederick and Rachel Manzano de Pissarro. His father was of Portuguese Jewish descent and held French nationality. His mother was from a French-Jewish family from the island of St. Thomas. His father was a merchant who came to the island from France to deal with the hardware store of a deceased uncle and married his widow. The marriage caused a stir within St. Thomas’ small Jewish community because she was previously married to Frederick’s uncle and according to Jewish law a man is forbidden from marrying his aunt. In subsequent years his four children were forced to attend the all-black primary school. Upon his death, his will specified that his estate be split equally between the synagogue and St. Thomas’ Protestant church.

Camille Pissarro St Thomas Camille Pissarro, Landscape with Farmhouses and Palm Trees, 1856, Galería de Arte Nacional, Caracas

Camille Pissarro, Landscape with Farmhouses and Palm Trees, 1856, Galería de Arte Nacional, Caracas


When Camille was twelve his father sent him to boarding school in France. He studied at the Savary Academy in Passy near Paris. While a young student, he developed an early appreciation of the French art masters. Monsieur Savary himself gave him a strong grounding in drawing and painting and suggested he draw from nature when he returned to St. Thomas, which he did when he was seventeen.

Camille Pissarro St Thomas Camille Pissarro, Two Women Chatting by the Sea, St. Thomas, 1856, private collection

Camille Pissarro, Two Women Chatting by the Sea, St. Thomas, 1856, private collection

When Pissarro turned twenty-one, Danish artist Fritz Melbye, then living on St. Thomas, inspired him to take on painting as a full-time profession, becoming his teacher and friend. Pissarro then chose to leave his family and job and live in Venezuela, where he and Melbye spent the next two years working as artists in Caracas and La Guaira. He drew everything he could, including landscapes, village scenes, and numerous sketches, enough to fill up multiple sketchbooks. In 1855 he moved back to Paris where he began working as assistant to Anton Melbye, Fritz Melbye’s brother.

Camille Pissarro St Thomas Camille Pissarro. Mountain Landscape at Saint Thomas, Antilles (unfinished). 1854, private collection

Camille Pissarro. Mountain Landscape at Saint Thomas, Antilles (unfinished). 1854, private collection


Pissarro created a vital bridge between nineteenth- and twentieth-century realism and abstraction, especially within the legacy of French modernist painting. His personal investment in the evolution of aesthetic technique contributed to significant developments in the twentieth-century avant-garde.

Camille Pissarro St Thomas Camille Pissarro, Antilian Landscape, St. Thomas, 1856, private collection

Camille Pissarro, Antilian Landscape, St. Thomas, 1856, private collection

Find out more:

     

Art Historian, founder and CEO of DailyArtMagazine.com and DailyArt mobile app. But to be honest, her greatest accomplishment is being the owner of Pimpek the Cat.

Comments

More in Impressionism

  • Artists' Stories

    Edgar Degas and His Most Beautiful Ballerinas

    By

    Edgar Degas was one of the founders of Impressionism, however, he didn’t like the term and preferred to call it “Realist” or “Independent”. Ballet dancers were one of his main subjects. “People call me the painter of dancing girls,” Degas once told Parisian art dealer Ambroise Vollard. “It...

  • 19th Century

    6 Highlights from the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin

    By

    Let’s explore some highlights from the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the preeminent collection of 19th century art in Germany. The gallery was founded in 1861 after a bequest by banker Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Wagener. He requested that the paintings in the collection be publicly displayed. The...

  • 19th Century

    5 Things You Need to Know About Australian Impressionism

    By

    Australian Impressionism might not be as well known as its French counterpart, but this late 19th century art movement was important to the country. In fact, some consider these artists to be part of the first truly Australian art movement. Australian Impressionists sought to capture the...

  • Art Travels

    Monet: Using the Home and Garden as Inspiration

    By

    We are currently confined to the spaces of our homes and gardens. Claude Monet used his beautiful home and garden in Giverny, France as the source for many of his paintings. We can all learn from the way that he recreated nature to produce some of...

  • 19th Century

    When the Arts Meet: Art Inspired Album Covers

    By

    If music is the soul of an album then the art on the cover must be its body. The choice of artwork for an album cover is an important one because at a glance it conveys the style and atmosphere of the music. Usually musicians commission...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy