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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Pissarro: Father of Impressionism

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Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology / Oxford / Art

The French artist Camille Pissarro began his career as a teenager in the 1840s, in the West Indies, when he would go to the port and paint the ocean during long afternoons. His father expected him to take over the family business, but he vehemently refused. “I abandoned all I had,” he said, “and bolted to Caracas to get clear of the bondage of bourgeois life.” In the Venezuelan capital, Pissarro painted street scenes. It wasn’t until 1855, when he moved to Paris, that he began to paint more impressionistically. Pissarro attended the Académie Suisse, “a free studio” where he met Monet, Cézanne, and Guillaumin. He became something of a mentor to the young men, and 20 years later, at 35 Boulevard des Capucines, they had their first Impressionist exhibition. Pissarro was the only artist to be featured in all seven of the founding Impressionist shows, and over time he became known as “the father of Impressionists.” This exhibition covers his entire career. —E.C.

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology Beaumont St, Oxford OX1 2PH, UK
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