In the history of art, Impressionist master Camille Pissarro garnered a reputation for his prolific technique and imagery. The patriarch of the Pissarro family, his honesty resonated in his prints that truly emulated the zeitgeist of 19th century Impressionism. Born into a Jewish family in the West Indies, he spent 1859-1961 in the company of the great impressionists; mentored by Corot, influenced by Millet and Courbet, acquaintances with Monet, Cezanne and Guillaumin. His close relationship with Edouard Manet in 1866 coerced him into the Impressionism movement, and in 1885 to 1890, he experimented in pointillism. Print-making became a passion of his, and he was often drawing inspiration from the towns and landscapes around him in the most straight-forward of manners. His goal was to portray nature and the working class in a sensitive way, as he believed the reality of nature lay in its close intimacy with man. Due to the lack of mainstream appeal in his work, Pissarro chose to keep his works private during his career, only sharing them with close friends, family and fellow artists. Today, his etchings and lithographs are regarded among the finest works of his time. (Pictured: Baigneuses Le Jour, 1895)
GEORGES-HENRI MANZANA PISSARRO
Better known by his moniker, Manzana, Georges-Henri Pissarro was born in 1871, the third of Camille Pissarro’s seven children. From an early age, he was enveloped by the world of Impressionist painting in the Pissarro household. Between 1889 and 1898 he gained additional exposure to the world of painting whilst spending seven years in London. It was here he learned the prolificacy and versatility of his artistry; he recognized the importance of all mediums and searched for other means of expression. Georges was better known as the carbon copy of his father. This perception of him is important in understanding the artistic development of Georges. He created expressionist landscape at the beginning and end of his career, building his un-idealized yet exotic fantasies somewhere in between. He was one of the first artists to contribute to the development of Orientalism. It is often said that Manzana was more of a sensual than an intellectual; he was indifferent to the trend of his time. We see two generations in him; that of his father and that of his friends (Pictured: Le Pont de Saint Cloud, 1902)
Born in Paris in 1878, Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro was vastly encouraged by his father to begin drawing from nature at a very young age. As the fourth son of Camille Pissarro, he became known by his sobriquet, Rodo, and his father’s influence made a considerable impact on his artistic production, which encompassed a wide range of media from oil painting, tempera, watercolour, gouache, wood engravings, drawings, and lithography.
In 1898, Rodo settled in Montmartre with his brother Georges Manzana, where he found the night-life of Paris to be the most compelling of subjects. After Paris, he worked in London to avoid the avoid the outbreak of war, and it was here he established the Monarro Group in 1915, which was aimed at exhibiting work by contemporary artists inspired by Impressionism. Despite his rich artistic heritage and personal accomplishments as an artist, he is best remembered for his scholarly contributions to art history. For twenty years, he researched and compiled a catalogue of his father’s work, a project that was published in 1939. This work up until today is still considered to be the definitive reference book on Camille Pissarro and the Pissarro legacy. (Pictured: Concarneau Harbour, Brittany 1928)
As the last child of Camille Pissarro, Paul-Emile was undoubtedly close to his father. However, his desire to paint was shattered by the death of his father at the age of 19, and this devastating loss took him many years to overcome. He spent several years working as an automobile mechanic and textile designer to avoid the painful remembrances of his father, but he could not ignore the passion for art that runs within his family name.
He moved to Chartres, dabbling in watercolors, and with the help of his father’s close personal friend, Claude Monet, Paul-Emile rediscovered his artistic destiny. Urged by Monet to carry on the family legacy, he dedicated his life to that of a painter in 1914, painting landscapes along the Lieure River. Paul-Emile created numerous poetic studies that captured the charm of the simple villages, old roadways, changing seasons and bucolic lands. (Pictured: Maisons au Bord de l'Eau, 1914)
Born in Neuilly-Sur-Seine in 1935, H. Claude Pissarro, better known by the moniker Isaac Pomie, is the grandson of Camille Pissarro and the son of Paul-Emile Pissarro. Carrying on the family tradition in artistry, H. Claude experimented with different contemporary movements before confirming his preference for Impressionism later in life. His educational background at prestigious French establishments molded his teaching career and his abundant creativity, and he exhibited in Paris and London on several occasions.
Like many of his familial predecessors, his scope of talent ranged from engraving, lithography, publishing, landscape paintings, and portraits, and he was even commissioned by the White House to paint President Eisenhower in 1959. To this day, he is still based in his Normandy studio, where he works well into the night perfecting the over-sized canvases which have become his trademark. (Pictured: Apres-Midi d'Ete a la Terrasse)
Born in Paris in 1963, Lelia Pissarro is the third child of Hugues-Claude Pissarro and Katia, an art-dealer. From a very young age, she was entrusted in caring for her grand-father, Paul-Emile and her grandmother, who raised her until she was eleven. It was at Clecy in Normandy that she awakened her interest in drawing and painting, which was the source for her love of figurative art. She was only 4 years old when she sold her first canvas to a NY art dealer.
At age 11, she returned to Paris to live with her parents, where she exhibited in various shows and excelled in artistic education at a very young age. She grew up dividing her time between France and California, and her work in conceptual art during this period eventually led to dissatisfaction, reverting her back to her families traditional roots and distancing herself from avant-garde teachings. In the late 80’s, as figurative styles re-emerged, Lelia suddenly found herself at the heart of this major movement in the art world. (Pictured: Clecy, Pink Snow)
The most recent generation of the Pissarro family, Lyora Pissarro was born in 1991 in London to a family of artists, curators, art dealers, scholars and critics and was fully absorbed in the world of art from a very young age. She sold her first piece at the age of 6, and during her time in school was offered a scholarship to study art. Deeply inspired by the works of Anthony Gormley, she declined the offer to pursue a degree in Social Anthropology.
While studying at the University of Manchester, she concentrated her studies on the medium of the human body, where her thesis was an exploration of the relationship between anthropology and art. She went on to attend the Rhode Island School of Design and Hunter College to study Fine Art, and her work has been shown in galleries all over the world. She is currently preparing a new body of work that will show in Tel Aviv in 2018, and she will soon be relocating to London. (Pictured: l'Humilite, 2018)