Camille Pissarro; a Lasting Impression

Camille Pissarro is one of the French Impressionist Movement’s most revered and prevalent artists. Pissarro is not only remembered for his incredible landscapes and portraits, which depict the world of his time in images of stark realism rendered in his own soft palettes, but for bringing together a handful of legendary salons and artist collectives. Pissarro has often been considered a father figure to the Impressionist Movement, as well as to major Post-Impressionist painters such as Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Georges Seurat. Often thought to be French due to his major contributions to the French art scene of his time and to a variety of celebrated French artists, Pissarro was actually of Danish and French descent and hailed from the island of Saint Thomas, born there in 1830, which is now known as the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Work of Camille Pissarro

Leaving Saint Thomas at the age of twelve, Pissarro attended French boarding school where he quickly developed an affinity for the French masters. After returning to Saint Thomas to work his parents mercantile business, Pissarro continued to draw and paint. In the mid 1800s, Pissarro returned to Paris where he would perfect and hone his skills, working alongside and befriending such notable artists of the time as Gustave Courbet and Camille Corot. Though he resided in Paris, Pissarro often worked on the outskirts of the city bringing scenes of everyday life to his canvas. By the late 1800s, Pissarro had entered into his Post-Impressionist phase, returning to styles and influences he had taken to in his earlier works. It would be during this period that Pissarro would paint one of his most known works, Picking Peas, as well develop friendships with such artists as Paul Signac and Van Gogh. Pissarro died on November 13, 1903 in Paris.

Pissarro’s Legacy in the U.S. Virgin Islands

The legacy of the noted painter is still very much alive in Pissarro’s home place of the Virgin Islands. The Camille Pissarro House, located on Main Street in Charlotte Amalie, was the birthplace of Camille Pissarro, as well as the business establishment of his parents, and now serves as one of the artist’s most renowned tributes. The house now serves as a gallery, featuring a major multitude of Pissarro’s work, as well as works from a variety of local artists. The Pissarro House is an awe-inspiring attraction for anyone who is a fan of the father of Impressionism’s art and a reminder that one hundred and fifteen years after his death Camille Pissarro is still inspiring up and coming artists.

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