Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyThis gorgeously illustrated, major reassessment of Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) makes a persuasive case for his pivotal role as a technical innovator in the Impressionist movement. Art historian and curator Joachim Pissarro, the artist's great-grandson, interprets the French painter's career as a quest for autonomy embracing constantly evolving techniques in an effort to capture ever-changing reality. Born in the Virgin Islands to a French family descended from Portuguese Marranos (Jews forcibly converted to Christianity who practiced their original faith in secret), Pissarro became a free-thinking anarchist and married Julie Vellay, a servant in his parents' Parisian home. The author's masterful, loving analysis of the paintings argues forcefully against interpreting them as a reflection of Pissarro's political outlook, as modern critics have done. Lovers of French Impressionism will want to own this book, which includes many works never before reproduced. BOMC divided selection. (Nov.)
Library Journal - Library JournalThis profusely illustrated volume has some 354 illustrations (205 reproduced beautifully in color) and would be a worthwhile purchase for this reason alone; but the text by the great-grandson of the artist is equally valuable. The author relies on solid authorities rather than familial sentimentality to give readers a panoramic view of Pissarro's work, which, when considered collectively, defies the simple categorizations of impressionist or neoimpressionist. The first chapters provide a scholarly but readable chronological overview and analysis of Pissarro's substantial output, while the later chapters address specific genres: figures, harvest, and market scenes; late landscapes; travels and series campaigns; and interiors, still lifes, and portraits. Chapter end notes, a selected bibliography with recent references, and a good index conclude the work. A fine companion to John Rewald's Camille Pissarro (1963), this is warmly recommended for art collections in all types of libraries.-- P. Steven Thomas, Sangamon State Univ., Springfield, Ill.
Edward LighthartMost exhibitions, and consequently the catalogs, of Pissarro's work have concerned themselves with the artist's interpretation of peasant life. This one is more comprehensive. The author traces Pissarro's career from its beginnings in St. Thomas to his last years in France, thus presenting Pissarro's works as biography. He discusses the late nineteenth-century painter's synesthetic philosophy, which placed him among both such impressionists as Monet and Degas and such neo-impressionists as Seurat and Cezanne, amply illustrating the text with nearly 200 colorplates, and despite sometimes awkward academic prose, he offers a timely insight into the artist's conceits and philosophies.
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