Camille Pissarro

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Camille Pissarro (10 July 1830 – 13 November 1903) was a French-Danish Impressionist painter born in the Danish West Indies into a family of French descent. Later he travelled to Europe, working in both Paris and London. His importance resides not only in his visual contributions to Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, but also in his patriarchal standing among his colleagues, particularly Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin.



Early life and career

Jacob-Abraham-Camille Pissarro[1] was born at Charlotte Amalie in the Danish West Indies (since 1917 the US Virgin Islands), a colony in the Danish Colonial Empire.[2] His parents were Abraham Gabriel Pissarro, a Portuguese Sephardic Jew, and Rachel Manzano-Pomié, from the Dominican Republic. Pissarro lived in St. Thomas until age 12, when he went to a boarding school in Paris. He returned to St. Thomas, where he drew in his free time. Pissarro was attracted to anarchism, an attraction that may have originated during his years in St. Thomas.

In 1849 he met Fritz Melbye a Danish painter who had recently arrived on the islands from Copenhagen where he had trained to become a marine artist under his brother Anton Melbye. Melbye inspired the young Pissarro to take on painting as a full-time profession, and also became his teacher and close friend. In 1852 the two painters traveled to Venezuela where they stayed together until 1855 when Pissarro returned to St. Thomas and, the same year, continued to Paris.[3]

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