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  • Camille Pissarro
    Jul 10, 1830 - Nov 13, 1903
  • The Outer Boulevards, Snow Effect - Camille Pissarro was a French Impressionist painter. His importance resides not only in his visual contributions to Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, but also in his patriarchal standing among his colleagues, particularly Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin. He was seen as the patriarch of the Impressionist movement, and was constantly encouraging younger artists and managing the artistic revolution's progress.
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The Outer Boulevards, Snow Effect
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  • The Outer Boulevards, Snow Effect

  • Camille Pissarro
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  • 1879
    Oil on canvas
    54 cm (21.26 in.) x 65 cm (25.59 in.)
    Musée Marmottan, France.

    In the 1890s Pissarro would begin a series of paintings devoted to the Parisian boulevards. This subject is therefore unusual in a work from 1879 and appears to be influenced by Claude Monet's Boulevard des Capucines, dated 1873. Although both artists depicted a similar view, with an avenue of trees on the lefthand side, the effect of each is very different. Monet's boulevard is stylish and elegant while Pissarro's is grey and miserable. Pissarro has created this effect in a number of ways. The scene is definitely a cold one. The few figures on the street are huddled in overcoats or under umbrellas, protecting themselves from the elements. The small figure in the foreground, with his head bowed and hands in his pockets, sums up the mood of the picture. Pissarro is also able to exaggerate the gloomy effect by keeping his viewpoint very close to the level of the street.

    In the 1890s his viewpoint rose dramatically, giving an impressive view of his subject. Rather than glorify the streets as Monet has done, and he himself was later to do, Pissarro's Outer Boulevards appears to reflect his inner feelings.

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Other paintings by Camille Pissarro:

Breakfast, Young Peasant Woman Taking Her Coffee
Breakfast, Young Peasant Woman Taking Her Coffee
Landscape with Strollers Relaxing under the Trees
Landscape with Strollers Relaxing under the Trees
A Cottage in the Snow
A Cottage in the Snow
A Cowherd on the Route de Chou, Pontoise
A Cowherd on the Route de Chou, Pontoise
Camille PissarroBorn July 10, 1830 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Camille Pissarro was sent to Paris to study as a boy, where he earned acclaim for his budding talent as an artist. He was obligated to return to St. Thomas in 1847 to help his father run his general store, but by 1855, he had convinced his parents to allow him to pursue his dream of becoming a painter.

Camille Pissarro returned to Paris, where the landscapes of Camille Corot and other members of the Barbizon group made a huge impression on him at the World’s Fair. The concept of working directly from nature appealed to the young artist, and he gravitated toward landscape painting. Over the next 10 years, he studied at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts and at the Académie Suisse, where classes were free.

Camille Pissarro’s education was as much about formal studies as it was about meeting like-minded contemporaries with whom Pissarro could share ideas. Among them were Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Paul Cézanne. The artists were experimenting with new ways of painting that eschewed the traditional methods of the past. Pissarro's works were occasionally accepted at the prestigious state-run art show, the Salon. Perhaps more importantly, he won the critical support of journalist Émile Zola, who helped the artist build his career.

During the Franco-Prussian War, Camille Pissarro left France for London with his friend Claude Monet. There, they were influenced by the landscape paintings of John Constable and J.M.W. Turner in developing a unique style that would later be known as Impressionism. Upon returning to his home near Paris, Pissarro discovered that the Prussians had destroyed nearly all of his paintings.

After several rejections by the Salon, Camille Pissarro and his colleagues decided to hold their own independent exhibition of their Impressionist works. The first of these independent shows was held in 1874 and included Pissarro, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Edgar Degas, and Berthe Morisot. Pissarro participated in all eight of the independent exhibitions from 1874-86, the only artist to do so.

Camille Pissarro was seen as the patriarch of the Impressionist movement, and was constantly encouraging younger artists and managing the artistic revolution’s progress. In 1892, he finally received the international recognition he deserved with a large-scale retrospective of his work, including Path through the Fields (1879), Landscape, Eragny (1895), and Place du Théâtre Français (1898). He died in Paris on November 12, 1903.