Paintings by Camille Pissarro


Camille Pissarro was one of the original circle of painters who would become known as the Impressionists. In the 1860's Pissarro, along with Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Frédéric Bazille, debated issues and shared ideas with Edouard Manet at the Café Guerbois near Manet's studio in the rue de Batignolles. Pissarro -- the only one of the Impressionists to show at all eight exhibitions -- quickly became famous for his plein air technique, evidenced in masterpieces such as the 1873 work Hoarfrost.

Later, when the Impressionists became a major force in the art world, it was Camille Pissarro who advocated most strongly for the new generation of progressive artists, supporting young painters such as Paul Gauguin and Georges Seurat.

By the time the eighth and final exhibition arrived, Pissarro was already beginning to experiment with new techniques which critics were to call Neo-Impressionism. To the end, Camille Pissarro remained the most experimental, always open to new influences and always supportive of young, struggling artists. However, he never fully abandoned his attachment to plein air painting.

Please follow the links below to learn more about some of the paintings by the innovative Impressionist, Camille Pissarro.

  • Hoarfrost: Camille Pissarro's Hoarfrost is an example of Pissarro's dedication to plein air painting. Learn about Hoarfrost, which Camille Pissarro painted in 1873.
  • The Crystal Palace: Pissarro painted The Crystal Palace while abroad during the Franco-Prussian War. Learn about The Crystal Palace, which Pissarro painted while in London.
  • Chennevières on the Banks of the Marne: Chennevières on the Banks of the Marne evidences the influence of the Barbizon School upon Pissarro's approach. Learn about Camille Pissarro's Chennevières on the Banks of the Marne.
  • Orchard in Bloom, Louveciennes: Camille Pissaro's Orchard in Bloom, Louveciennes resulted from Pissarro's stay in a small village west of Paris. Find out about Pissarro's Orchard in Bloom, Louveciennes.
  • Edge of the Woods: Pissarro's 1879 work Edge of the Woods was shown at the fourth Impressionist exhibition. Learn about Edge of the Woods, which is also known as Undergrowth in Summer.
  • The Woodcutter: The Woodcutter by Camille Pissarro is typically Impressionist in its interest in depicting lives of the peasants. Learn about the 1879 painting The Woodcutter.
  • Pathway at Chou in March: Pathway at Chou in March shows Pissarro's mastery of the plein air technique. Learn about Camille Pissarro's painting Pathway at Chou in March.
  • Café au Lait: Camille Pissarro's work Café au Lait is noted for its intimacy and composition. Read about Café au Lait by Camille Pissarro.
  • View from My Window, Eragny: View from My Window, Eragny marks a new direction in Pissarro's career. Learn about View from My Window, Eragny.
  • View of Rouen (Cours-la reine): Pissarro's View of Rouen (Cours-la reine) demonstrates Pissarro's ability to work in different media. Find out about View of Rouen, which is an etching.
  • The Roofs of Old Rouen, Gray Weather: The Roofs of Old Rouen, Gray Weather, was one of Camille Pissarro's last major Impressionist paintings. Learn about the 1896 painting The Roofs of Old Rouen, Gray Weather.

On the next page, we'll take a closer look at Camille Pissarro's Impressionist painting, Hoarfrost.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

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Hoarfrost by Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro's Hoarfrost (oil on canvas, 25-5/8x 36-5/8 inches)
Camille Pissarro's Hoarfrost (oil on canvas, 25-5/8x 36-5/8 inches)

Camille Pissarro, one of the early Impressionists, painted Hoarfrost in 1873. Pissarro became a dedicated plein air painter early in his career, focusing on rural settings and temporal effects. Hoarfrost illustrates the fresh spontaneity achieved by painting from direct observation. Camille Pissarro modulated the tone of his color to convey specific atmosphere, as seen in the bright blues of the warming sky in contrast to the muted hues of the brittle frost on the frozen ground.

In 1871 the Franco-Prussian War broke out and Camille Pissarro fled to London. Next, we'll look at an Impressionist painting that emerged from this time of refuge.

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The Crystal Palace by Camille Pissarro

The Crystal Palace by Camille Pissarro (oil on canvas, 18-5/8x Institute of Chicago.
The Crystal Palace by Camille Pissarro (oil on canvas, 18-5/8x Institute of Chicago.

Camille Pissarro painted The Crystal Palace in 1871, during the Franco-Prussian War and the subsequent uprising of the Paris Commune, when Claude Monet and Pissarro took refuge in London. Pissarro painted more than a dozen pictures during his residence, focusing on the modern-life scenes that the civil disturbance at home would have made impossible. In The Crystal Palace, Camille Pissarro painted the famous exhibition building -- all made of glass -- in translucent shades of gray that emphasize the tonal subtlety of the low-lying clouds in the sky.

Camille Pissarro was known for his plein air painting. Next, we'll look at a good example of this style.

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Chennevieres on the Banks of the Marne by Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro's Chennevières on the Banks of the Marne at the National
Camille Pissarro's Chennevières on the Banks of the Marne at the National

Chennevières on the Banks of the Marne was painted by Impressionist Camille Pissarro during the years 1864-1865. Pissarro was deeply influenced by the landscapes painted by the artists of the Barbizon School. As pioneering advocates of plein air painting, they took their easels outdoors to capture every subtle variance of natural light and color. The serene vista of Chennevières on the Banks of the Marne -- with a broad, low sky and calm, reflecting waters -- recalls the rivers and canals painted by Barbizon School artist Charles-François Daubigny.

For another example of Impressionist artist Camille Pissarro's mastery of the plein air technique, continue to the next page.

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Orchard in Bloom, Louveciennes by Camille Pissarro

Orchard in Bloom, Louveciennes by Camille Pissarro (oil National
Orchard in Bloom, Louveciennes by Camille Pissarro (oil National

Camille Pissarro composed the Impressionist painting Orchard in Bloom, Louveciennes in 1872 while residing in Louveciennes, a village roughly 15 miles west of Paris. Pissarro, who had been living in Louveciennes in 1869, sought refuge in London during the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War but returned after the Armistice in 1871. In Orchard in Bloom, Louveciennes, Pissarro's delicate handling of the pale sky streaked with thin clouds strikes the atmospheric effect of cool spring air. The muted shadows on the ground and the bright flower petals on the trees shimmering in the sun heighten the sensation.

Throughout his career Camille Pissarro remained interested in painting landscapes. Continue to see more Impressionist examples of this.

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Edge of the Woods by Camille Pissarro

Edge of the Woods by Camille Pissarro (oil on canvas, 49-5/8x Cleveland Museum of Art.
Edge of the Woods by Camille Pissarro (oil on canvas, 49-5/8x Cleveland Museum of Art.

Camille Pissarro painted Edge of the Woods in 1879. Pissarro submitted two versions of Edge of the Woods, which is also known as Undergrowth in Summer, to the fourth Impressionist exhibition. Pissarro lightly dabbed paint on the surface to render the dense growth of foliage. The whitewashed walls and red-tile roof of a cottage can be seen in the distance through the tree trunks, just as patches of blue sky can be glimpsed through the branches, simulating the visual experience of a walk in the woods.

Camille Pissarro wasn't only interested in Impressionist landscapes, however. On the next pages we'll see how he captures the essence of those who work the land.

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The Woodcutter by Camille Pissarro

The Woodcutter by Camille Pissarro (oil on canvas, 35x45-3/4 Court Collection in
The Woodcutter by Camille Pissarro (oil on canvas, 35x45-3/4 Court Collection in

Camille Pissarro painted The Woodcutter in 1879, one of 28 Impressionist paintings that Pissarro would exhibit in the Impressionists' sixth exhibition. The figure of Pissarro's woodcutter recalls the peasant laborers painted by Jean Francois Millet. With solid weight and strong contours, the laborer in The Woodcutter seems to have been shaped by his work, by the repetitive motion of dragging his saw back and forth through the wood. But the background has a vanishing quality, with light sparkling on the dense foliage.

Continue reading to learn about another of the 28 Impressionist paintings that Camille Pissarro showed at the Impressionists' sixth exhibition.

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Pathway at Chou in March by Camille Pissarro

Pathway at Chou in March by Camille Pissarro (oil on canvas, des Beaux-Arts
Pathway at Chou in March by Camille Pissarro (oil on canvas, des Beaux-Arts

Pathway at Chou in March was completed by Camille Pissarro in 1878 and was included in the Impressionists' sixth exhibition. Indeed, Camille Pissarro was a dominant presence in that 1881 exhibition, represented by 28 Impressionist works. Notably, Pissarro's mastery of plein air painting and observed sensation is in full play in Pathway at Chou in March. Under a volatile, cloudy sky, mist cloaks the distant trees in a blue haze. The glaze of icy color in the foreground evokes the still-hard ground in the early spring.

A trademark of the Impressionists was their interest in simple, everyday activities. Next we'll examine a painting by Camille Pissarro that shares that interest.

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Cafe au Lait by Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro's Café Au Lait (oil on canvas, 25-11/16x29-9/16 inches) resides at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Camille Pissarro's Café Au Lait (oil on canvas, 25-11/16x29-9/16 inches) resides at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Camille Pissarro completed the Impressionist painting Café Au Lait in 1881, just in time for the Impressionists' seventh exhibition. The oblique view in Café Au Lait adds an element of intimacy to Pissarro's portrait of a young woman stirring her cup of café au lait. Pissarro seems to have gazed at her from a close range from above, as if he was standing beside her. With a limited palette of blue and brown, Camille Pissarro conveys in Café Au Lait a simple atmosphere of the rustic kitchen, enforced by his rough brush stroke and solid composition.

Camille Pissarro remained interested in innovation throughout his career. Continue to the next page to learn about how Pissarro explored new ideas.

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View from My Window, Eragny by Camille Pissarro

View from My Window, Eragny by Camille Pissarro (oil on at the Ashmolean
View from My Window, Eragny by Camille Pissarro (oil on at the Ashmolean

View from My Window, Eragny, took Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro from 1886-1888 to complete and was the result of Pissarro's interest in different approaches.

Always open to new ideas, Pissarro experimented with Neo-Impressionism. View from My Window, Eragny is organized into planes, reflecting the orderly garden plots and fields that he observed from his window. Pissarro's color, applied in dots and dabs, is fresh and bright, with pure high hues in the foreground and a subtle and muted mix in the sky. Tone conveys the atmospheric effect, seen in the shades of pale blue, pink, and violet in the distant clouds.

Camille Pissarro wasn't limited to oil and canvas, however. On the next page we'll see an etching from the Impressionist master.

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View of Rouen (Cours-la reine) by Camille Pissarro

View of Rouen (Cours-la reine) by Camille Pissarro (etching the print collection Division of Art, Prints, and York Public Library.
View of Rouen (Cours-la reine) by Camille Pissarro (etching the print collection Division of Art, Prints, and York Public Library.

Camille Pissarro's View of Rouen (Cours-la reine), completed in 1884, demonstrated the range of the great Impressionist artist. Pissarro exhibited works in a wide variety of media in the eighth Impressionist exhibition, including oil paintings, painted fans, pastels, and etchings. In View of Rouen (Cours-la reine), which depicts a view across the water looking at the cathedral, Camille Pissarro replaced color with tone to express atmospheric effects, including the reflections on the water and the heavy, wintry sky.

Camille Pissarro eventually found a happy medium between experimentation and tradition. On the next page we'll see a painting from late in the Impressionist artist's career which shows this.

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The Roofs of Old Rouen, Gray Weather by Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro's The Roofs of Old Rouen, Gray Weather the Toledo
Camille Pissarro's The Roofs of Old Rouen, Gray Weather the Toledo

Camille Pissarro completed The Roofs of Old Rouen, Gray Weather, in 1896, ten years after the final Impressionist exhibition. Painted late in his life, Pissarro's view across the rooftops of Rouen synthesized aesthetic ideas that he had gathered through his long association with the Impressionist experiment. To capture the high panorama, Pissarro positioned his easel at the window in his hotel, recalling Claude Monet's view in Boulevard des Capucines shown in the first exhibition (1874). The Roofs of Old Rouen, Gray Weather displays Camille Pissarro's interest in Neo-Impressionism in the dabs of color on the roof, but his subtle evocation of the winter sky reveals his enduring belief in plein air painting.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Debra N. Mancoff is an art historian and lecturer and the author of numerous books on nineteenth-century European and American paintings. She is a scholar in residence at the Newberry Library.