Camille Pissarro: Impressopmism, Landscape and Rural Labour

Richard Thomson, Author New Amsterdam Books $30 (128p) ISBN 978-0-941533-90-4
One of the most independent of the impressionists, Pissarro is a figure rich in paradox. Born in the West Indies to Jewish parents of Danish citizenship, he came from a peripatetic merchant family yet painted timeless, idyllic images of rural France. His family strongly opposed his marriage to his mother's Gentile maid, Julie Vellay. A bohemian, an anarchist, a devotee of homeopathy, he relied on his bourgeois parents for maintenance. He fled Paris amid the bloody putdown of the Paris Commune in 1871, but returned to witness friends tried for anarchist activities and the anti-Semitism unleashed by the Dreyfus Affair. In this attractive, compact catalogue of a British exhibit, art historian Thomson ( Seurat ) interprets Pissarro's images of rural laborers and markets, of Rouen's factory-clogged port, of Paris's industrialized suburbs, of bucolic landscapes as a continual reassessment of the impact of modernization on a transformed world. Some 100 black-and-white reproductions and 26 color plates accompany the text. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/2005
Release date: 04/01/1998
Genre: Nonfiction
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