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Hugues Claude Pissarro
Hugues Claude Pissarro, also known professionally as Isaac Pomié, is the grandson of the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro and son of the artist Paulemile Pissarro. Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine on 9 November 1935, steeped in this artistic environment, he inevitably spent his childhood and youth with brushes in his hand. Carrying on a family tradition established by Camille Pissarro, Paulemile, accompanied by his numerous artist friends, frequently took his sons on painting excursions which were to prove formative for H. Claude.
Although he is at present best known for his style of impressionism, Claude experimented with different contemporary movements before confirming his preference for impressionism in later life. Predestined by his educational background to become a professor of art for much of his professional life, his temperament was notably molded by formal training at prestigious French establishments such as the “Ecole du Musée du Louvre” and, in particular, at the “Ecole Normale Supérieure”.
Throughout his teaching career he was also a prolific artist, exhibiting on several occasions in Paris and London. Like many of his family predecessors, the scope of his work and talent was wide ranging, including engraving, lithography, publishing, landscape paintings, and portraits. He was even commissioned by the White House in 1959 to paint President Eisenhower.
Claude Pissarro was not immune to the more radical vogues of his time. In 1972, he created a center for contemporary art based in an imposing converted manor house in the vicinity of Paris. There, together with a host of like-minded artists such as Vialla, Pineau and Da Rocha, he immersed himself in Avant-garde movements such as “Support-Surface” (the desire to intellectualize art by attaching an artistic significance to the painter’s very tools). Despite his commitment to this particular movement the fact that, unknown to his fellow “Avant-gardistes”, he secreted himself away to continue drawing in the traditional sense is an evident manifestation of his subconscious refusal to sever links with his deeply ingrained formative background. After extricating himself from the perceived nihilism of Avant-garde, he ultimately attained fulfillment and self-realization in his present style of Impressionism.
Based in his Normandy studio, Claude maintains a frenetic pace of activity, frequently working well into the night, producing the large canvases, which have become his trademark. His distinctive style is realized by applying colors with great speed straight from the tube to achieve a thick, robust texture and then scraping some of it away once it is dry.
Claude appreciates the advantage that his family legacy has given him in his painting. “My family history helped me in that I had, from the beginning, a certain familiarity with artistic expression. I was born in a painting environment.” Although his family ties have been a blessing to him, Claude also acknowledges the challenges of living under the shadow of this artistic heritage. “ I was born into the cult of my grandfather. My methods of investigation clashed with an attitude, which regarded everything connected with my grandfather’s life and work as sacred. At the end of the day, I remove my grandfather from his pedestal. Only then am I able to discover him, meet with him, and get to know and love him.”