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Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) Life and Quotes

"Deriviamo tutti da Pissarro", scriveva il grande Paul Cézanne.
Jacob Camille Pissarro è stato un pittore Francese, tra i maggiori esponenti dell'Impressionismo. Nacque nelle Antille danesi, da famiglia ebrea.
Dapprima commesso nella bottega di merciaio del padre, ed avendo una grande passione per il disegno, appena poté scappò di casa alla volta del Nicaragua, dove eseguì i suoi primi dipinti per pagarsi il viaggio per l'Europa.
A Parigi frequenta l'École des Beaux-Arts e studia le opere di Gustave Courbet, Charles-François Daubigny, e Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, che lo colpiscono in modo particolare.

Dal 1859 inizia a frequentare l'Académie Suisse, dove conosce Claude Monet.
Si reca a dipingere en plein air -all'aperto, nei piccoli paesi di periferia e lungo i fiumi. Nello stesso anno partecipa per la prima volta al Salon con un paesaggio di Montmorency. Nel 1861 diventa amico di Paul Cézanne e Guillaumin.
Nel 1861 e nel 1863 viene rifiutato al Salon; per questo decide di esporre al Salon des Refusés. Come molti altri pittori, è un assiduo frequentatore del Café Guerbois, il locale di Batignolles dove si tengono accese discussioni sull'arte.
Per il suo carattere aperto e conciliante, il suo aspetto simile ad un profeta con la lunga barba bianca, e gli incoraggiamenti che sapeva infondere nei giovani artisti -fu lui, infatti, a scoprire il genio di Van Gogh, venne visto da tutti gli impressionisti come l'anima che seppe mantenere unito il gruppo per tanti anni.

▻ "I began to understand my sensations, to know what I wanted, at around the age of forty.. ..but only vaguely. At fifty, that is in 1880, I formulated the idea of unity, without being able to render it. At sixty, I am beginning to see the possibility of rendering it".
▻ "I am much disturbed by my unpolished and rough execution; I should like to develop a smoother technique.. ..I will calmly tread the path I have taken, and try to do my best. At bottom, I have only a vague sense of its rightness or wrongness".
▻ "It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover to your surprise that you have rendered something in its true character.. .So much the better if it is painful for you to take even the first step, the more toilsome the work, the stronger you will emerge from it.. .I repeat, guard against facility".
▻ "One can do such lovely things with so little. Subjects that are too beautiful end by appearing theatrical - take Switzerland, for example. Think of all the beautiful little things Corot did at Gisors; two willows, a little water, a bridge, like the picture in the Universal Exhibition. What a masterpiece!.. Everything is beautiful, all that matters is to be able to interpret".

▻ "I have just concluded my series of paintings. I look at them constantly. I who made them often find them horrible. I understand them only at rare moments.. .Sometimes I am horribly afraid to turn round canvases which I have piled against the wall; I am constantly afraid of finding monsters where I believed there were precious gems".
▻ "I can quite understand the effort he is making; it is a very good thing not to want to go on repeating oneself. But he has concentrated all his attention on line; the figures stand out against each other without any sort of relationship, and so the whole thing is meaningless. Renoir is no draughtsman, and without the lovely colours he used to use so instinctively, he is incoherent".

▻ "I have had a long talk with Renoir. He admitted that the whole crowd – Durand and his former admirers – were shouting at him, deploring his attempt to abandon his 'Romantic' period. He seems very sensitive to what we think of his exhibition. I told him that as far as we were concerned, the search for unity should be the aim of every intelligent artist. – that even in spite of serious faults, it was more intelligent and artistic than wallowing in romanticism".
▻ "The weather today is frightful, rain and wind. You must be having the same at Epping; it's a pity. It had been so fine for the last few days and I had begun to grind away from nature. This is infuriating, for it's the loveliest time of the year, September and October. I can't stand the summer any more, with its heavy, monotonous green, its dry distances where everything can be seen, the torment of the great heat... Artistic sensations revive in September and October, but then it rains and blows!"