b. St. Thomas, Caribbean Islands, 1830 - d. Paris, 1903
Pissarro, a French master of Jewish origin, was sent as a young man to study business in Paris, but he was more interested in art and therefore enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts in 1855. Later, he studied at the Académie Suisse in Paris, where he met Paul Cézanne. Pissarro also took lessons from Camille Corot, who exerted a strong influence on his painting. In 1870, he was in London, where he met Paul Durand-Ruel, who later supported the Impressionists and became Pissarro's patron and dealer. In 1874, Pissarro took part in the first exhibition of the group that was later called the Impressionists. He was the most steadfast of all its members, the only one to take part in all of the eight exhibitions of the group. Pissarro often changed his style. After having painted solidly constructed canvases in 1875, similar to those of Cézanne, Pissarro turned in 1877, under Monet's influence, to luminous works. In 1885-6, he adopted the divisionist method of painting; it was too rigid for him, however, and he abandoned it in 1890 to resume the more spontaneous, free style of his early work. Pissarro received little encouragement and financial reward throughout his career, yet he had the courage and inner strength to maintain an artistic integrity. When he died in 1903, he left behind him a lasting memory not only as an artist, but also as a noble, wise and kindhearted man.