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CAMILLE PISSARRO : A MASTER OF IMPRESSIONISM

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Camille Pissarro, who was born on July 10, 1830 on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, Danish West Indies; to Abraham Gabriel Pissarro, of Sephardic Jewish ancestry, and Rachel Manzano-Pomié, a Dominican of Spanish descent, chose painting as a career and eventually managed to become one of France's most important artistic of the second half of the 19th Century.

The Pissarros operated a dry goods store in what is now known as the Pissarro Building, 14 Dronnigens Gade in Queen's Quarter, Charlotte Amalie.


"The sower in Montfoucault", 1875

His parents sent him to Paris when he was 12 to a small boarding school.
It was there that the director, seeing his interest in art, advised him to take "advantage of his life in the tropics by drawing coconut trees". When he returned to St. Thomas in 1847, this advice had marked his spirit as he devoted all his spare time to making sketches, not only of coconut trees and other exotic plants, but also of the daily life surrounding him.

Time and again he drew the donkeys and their carts on the sunny.

In many studies done from life he revealed himself to be a simple and sincere observer.


"The barn, morning, Eragny", 1893

Whenever his father sent him to the port to supervise arrivals, the young man took his sketchbook with him. He thus produced drawings of the animated life of the harbor with its sailboats gliding along the blue waters, coasting large, verdure-covered rocks capped by Danish citadels. Since he could not obtain permission to devote himself to painting, he ran away one day, leaving a note for his parents. In the company of Fritz Melbye, a Danish painter from Copenhagen whom he had met while sketching in the port, he went to Venezuela.

Having gained freedom at 23, he produced paintings and watercolours, and made countless drawings in pencil, ink and wash; many of these annotated in Spanish with the signature Pizzarro.

By 1852 his parents finally agreed to grant him their support. He returned to St. Thomas, then left his Caribbean home for Paris to further his studies and ultimately pursue a career.

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