(b. 1830, St Thomas, Virgin Islands, d. 1903, Paris)
French painter and printmaker. He was the only painter to exhibit in all eight of the Impressionist exhibitions held between 1874 and 1886, and he is often regarded as the 'father' of the movement. He was by no means narrow in outlook, however, and throughout his life remained as radical in artistic matters as he was in politics. The significance of Pissarro's work is in the balance maintained between tradition and the avant-garde.
After the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, having only Danish nationality and being unable to join the army, he moved his family to Norwood, then a village on the edge of London. However, his style of painting, which was a forerunner of what was later called Impressionism, did not do well. In London, Pissarro met the Paris art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel who became the dealer helping sell his art for most of his life. Durand-Ruel put him in touch with Monet who was likewise in London during this period. They both viewed the work of British landscape artists Constable and Turner.
In 1884 he experimented with the theories of colour devised by Seurat. Abandoning divisionism in the 1890s, he reverted to a freer, more vital interpretation of nature. It was not until then that his works began to be popular. Pissarro's warmth and generosity made him an endearing figure to many French painters. He was especially beloved as teacher and friend to Gauguin, Cézanne, and Cassatt. His son Lucien was also his pupil.