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Camille Pissarro was the Impressionist printmaker “par excellence”. Through a creative use of technique and imagery, he recorded his perceptions of his environment with clarity and honesty. As a result, his prints are among the most rewarding to come out of the 19th century, and they distinctively represent the art of his time. As is frequently the case, Pissarro had to persevere in his desire to be an artist. He was born in the West Indies, but attended school in Paris where he became interested in drawing. At age seventeen, he returned to Saint Thomas in order to enter the family business, but five years later, he rebelled and ran off to Venezuela. Finally, when he was twenty-five, his family consented to his chosen career and he settled in Paris in order to study art. At first he was guided by Corot and was also influenced by Millet and Courbet. In 1859 he met Monet, and two years later, Cezanne and Guillaumin. The year 1870-71 found him in England, avoiding the Franco-Prussian War. Unfortunately, he left behind many of his works, which were subsequently destroyed by the Prussians. Upon returning to France, he continued to work and develop his art. In 1866, Pissarro, met Manet, and in the following years, he became deeply involved in the Impressionist movement. He was one of few artists to participate in all eight of their revolutionary exhibitions, and he saw the group’s fight against academic art as a moral as well as an aesthetic battle. His relationships with some of the other Impressionists and Post-Impressionists were very close and long-lasting. He worked side-by-side with Cezanne and was responsible for Gaugin’s inclusion in the fifth Impressionist exhibition. Pissarro, Degas and Cassatt exchanged technical advice about printmaking. From 1885 to 1890, Pissarro followed Seurat and Signac in experimenting with pointillism, but feeling that its scientific approach hampered his spontaneity, he later returned to Impressionism. Despite a life of privations, Pissarro refused to seek recognition in official art circles: he was completely committed to the new, more natural style of painting. Printmaking became a passion for Pissarro, and he was very particular about the progress of his plates. His media came to include new techniques such as liquid aquatint and soft-ground etching. The development of an image was often very complicated and involved a mixture of several media and frequent reworking. For his subjects, Pissarro drew from the towns and landscapes around him in a straight- forward manner. His debt to Corot was obvious in his unsentimental devotion to nature. His goal was to portray nature and the simple working class people in a sensitive way. He believed the reality of nature lay in its close intimacy with man and many of his finest works depict, with great integrity, the humble workers going about their daily lives. Due to Pissarro’s choice of subject matter, his prints were not in vogue and he, therefore, chose to keep them a private pursuit. His editions were quite small and generally shared with just a few friends and fellow artists. It was not until 20 years after Pissarro’s death in 1903 when Loys Delteil published a complete catalog of Pissarro’s etchings and lithographs that this extraordinary body of work came to light. Few knew of the existence of these gems and it caused quite a sensation. Today Pissarro’s etchings and lithographs are regarded among the finest works of the time and grace permanent museum collections the world over.