Madrid’s Museo Thyssen‐Bornemisza plays host to Spain’s first monographic exhibition of works from the great Impressionist painter, Camille Pissarro.
For curator, Guillermo Solana, Pissarro was unique for numerous reasons: “In a movement as individualistic as Impressionism – where Monet, Renoir and almost all the other painters were not interested in training up disciples – Pissarro was the one who gave himself most generously to young artists.
“He helped Cezanne to learn what impressionism was, he taught Gauguin and helped him to become a professional painter, he gave advice to Van Gogh during the 1880s, and he also helped neo-impressionists, like Seurat and Seignac, and even Matisse.”
Given Pissarro’s love of landscapes, picturesque rural panoramics dominate the exhibition. The last two rooms, however, are dedicated to the final decade of his life, when the artist turned to the complexity of the urban metropolis.
For Solana, it was a partially forced decision: “For most of his life, Pissarro was a rural painter and specifically a painter of France’s interior landscape. He always lived in villages near the Seine River. But then, in his 60s, he seemed to become tired of that rural landscape. He was suffering from a disease, an eye infection, which prevented him from painting in the open air. So that’s when he starts painting cities. And he always follows the same procedure: he finds a hotel with a good view, he chooses a room, installs his studio there, and in three months he paints a series of 13, 14, 15 or 20 paintings.”
The Pissarro exhibition in Madrid runs until September 15.