Paul-Emile Pissarro, born on August 22nd, 1884 in Eragny, France, was the fifth and youngest son of Camille Pissarro, the renowned French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist. His father, who recognized Emile’s early talents and encouraged him to draw from an early age, cultivated an artistic environment for his children.
In 1899, Paul-Emile Pissarro took courses in Gisors, but stopped after a few months in order to accompany his father in an artistic journey to Havre to Dieppe and then Rouen. During the last years of his father’s life, his family lived in Paris, where Paul-Emile studied in a private art academy.
After the death of his father in 1903, he returned to live with his mother in their summer home in Éragny, about thirty kilometers from Giverny where his godfather Claude Monet lived. Monet, who was very close to Camille, became his mentor and friend. He often visited Giverny, where Monet gives him lessons in painting and gardening, encouraging him to follow the footsteps of his father. Claude Monet, proved to be an invaluable teacher and close friend. Emile studied with his father first and then Monet and was exhilarated by the fleeting effects of country life.
In 1905, Pissarro exhibited an impressionist landscape entitled Bords de l’Epte à Eragny at the Salon des Independants. The years 1908 - 1914 were a difficult time in the artist’s life. In 1908 he worked as a mechanic and test driver, then as a designer of textiles and laces, work which gave him little free time to devote to painting. While he works at the lace factory, his brother Lucien Pissarro, while in London, asked him to send him some watercolors. The interest shown by British prompted him to start painting again. With the help of his brother, he began exhibiting in London at the New English Art Club, the Baillie Gallery and the Allied Artists Association.
By the 1920s, Paul-Emile had become an established Post Impressionist artist, sharing a studio with Kees Van Dongen and spending the summer months escaping from Paris with him and Maurice de Vlaminck. During the late 1920s and early 1930s Paul-Emile reached the pinnacle of his artistic development, realizing the individual style for which he is now best known. In 1930, on the recommendations of Raoul Dufy, Paul-Emile Pissarro visits Swiss Normandy and falls in love with the Calvados region; the combination of blue hills and green meadows separated by the calm waters of the river offered Paul-Emile a new platform for his work. After the divorce with his first wife, he moved to Norman, Switzerland in 1934. In 1935, he moved to Clécy, where he resided for the rest of his life. In 1967, Pissarro had his first one-man show in the United States at Wally Findlay Galleries in New York. Following this show, he reached widespread recognition and a degree of professional success. Since his death in 1972, Pissarro’s paintings have been exhibited around the world, and interest in his work is still very strong and continues to grow.
Paul Emile Pissarro died on January 20th, 1972 in Clécy, France.