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Pissarro's People Hardcover – June 28, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Prestel (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3791351184
  • ISBN-13: 978-3791351186
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 9.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

This definitive portrait of Camille Pissarro by one of the world s foremost authorities on Impressionism and French painting reveals the deep connection between Pissarro s humanitarian concerns and his creative output. Throughout his career, the Impressionist artist Camille Pissarro produced a vast oeuvre of paintings, drawings, and prints inspired by his fascination with and commitment to politics. Many of these works reflect the tensions between his anarchist ideals and the realities of life in a capitalist society; however, most examinations of Pissarro have approached his art and politics as separate spheres.

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Customer Reviews

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This is a niche book in the literature on the foremost scholar/teacher among the prominent practitioners of Impressionism.
drkhimxz
I should add that this volume has superb production values in every respect, with 320 perfectly printed pages and 251 excellent illustrations beautifully reproduced.
Kenneth Hughes
Like Vincent van Gogh, Pissarro was strongly influenced by Jean-François Millet in his landscapes and agricultural images.
Giordano Bruno

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By drkhimxz on August 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Richard Bretell is not only a fine scholar but a scholar who writes with a degree of clarity not often found among the Academic set. The product of these qualities is an eminently readable monograph on Pissarro''s treatment of the human form in his art.
The book accompanies an exhibition which has won rave reviews at The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute where it is currently appearing and, no doubt, will be equally applauded at its forthcoming appearance at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco (sponsored by the Art Museums of San Francisco). Judging by the admirable illustrations for this beautifully achieved catalog published by DelMonico Books-Prestel attendance will be amply reward for those who can make it to one of these locations.
This is a niche book in the literature on the foremost scholar/teacher among the prominent practitioners of Impressionism. Through a focus on Pissarro's life and wor,k Brettell successfully argues for the fundamental Jewishness of this non-religious Anarchist and the essentially political nature of his studies of Agrarian (primarily) and Urban Life. His vision is sharply delineated from that of his notable predecessor, Jean-Francois Millet, in that his primary focus is not on a "realistic" portrait of the the peasant and of urban life but, rather, on an image of their life as it would be in the anarchist society. Bretell points out that his anarchy was not drawn from the more radical writings, but from those which allowed for group social structures essential to a modern society.
Brettell's review of Pissarro's life as relevant to a focus on the person and people as workers, is notable for the light it throws on Pissarro's life-time commitment to the web of Jewish relatives covering two continents and a variety of nations.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Hughes on September 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most major exhibition catalogues are composed by a number of people, if only because to curate and mount an exhibition large enough to warrant a major catalogue usually requires the work of a team of scholars. But, as the Directors' Forward to this volume makes clear, the present exhibition and catalogue was "conceived" solely by Richard Brettell. This is not the first time he has done that; "Impression: Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1890," the 2000-2001 exhibition, also at The Clark (and in London and Amsterdam), seems equally to have been a one-man show. In any case, to have conceived and curated this huge exhibition and to have written the extensive catalogue accompanying it was a Herculean task, and one has the feeling that it could have been done only as a labor of love: we take it as a given that Dr. Brettell is a team of scholars unto himself.

Given that this is the author's fourth book-length study of Pissarro, he arguably knows the painter better than anyone else does. He started out in 1980 with the "Catalogue of the Drawings by Camille Pissarro in the Ashmolean Museum" (with Christopher Lloyd) and went on to treat the landscapes in "Pissarro and Pontoise: The Painter in a Landscape" (his revised 1977 Yale Ph.D. dissertation) and then the urban paintings (with Joachim Pissarro) in "The Impressionist and the City: Pissarro's Series Paintings" (see my reviews of the latter two books on this website). At the end of "Pontoise," Brettell states that "the figure painting of Pissarro is beyond the scope of [. . .] this book and demands separate attention" (197). That is a hint grandly taken up by the current exhibition and catalogue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Francois Lurcat on April 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book makes me feel as if I were personally acquainted with Pissarro and his family. The text is simple and to the point, the illustrations are well chosen and high quality.
I realize better now what a good man Pissarro has been. I mean, not only a wonderful artist, but also a modest and generous man.
All the biographical details given, about the familial history, where the painter was born and how he (as well as his family) traveled from country to country, help getting a better understanding of his art. He really loved many people, especially those of modest condition.
This makes the reader more sensitive to Pissarro's portraits, so understanding to the men, women and children he represents.
The author has written here an excellent synthesis of artistic and human comprehension.
It is interesting, too, to learn that Pissarro was never a French citizen. He chose freely to become a French painter, because of his artistic proximity with the French artistic tradition.
One must be grateful to the author for this achievement.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on November 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
... to reassure my wife that I haven't deserted her, has given me the chance to catch the "Pissarro's People" exhibit at the Legion of Honor Museum. This book is the catalogue of that exhibit. In no way is it a substitute for the real thing, but merely an aide à la mémoire. The textures of Pissarro's oil painting refract his pigment colors in sprightly sparks and flickers that small printed photos can't capture. Aside from reminding me of the paintings, however, the text of this catalogue is ample and interesting.

Honestly, I haven't found myself paying enough attention to Pissarro in the various museums of the world where I've seen his work alongside that of the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, and especially beside that of his close friend Paul Cezanne. Pissarro and Cezanne literally painted side by side for two years, and their influence on each other is unmistakable. But Pissarro's painting had always seemed a little too sweetly pastel and sentimental in comparison to Cezanne's, and I hadn't realized the full scope of Pissarro's subject matter until I saw this exhibit, which features his paintings of his family, of neighbors and household servants who were in fact his friends in his rural homes, and during the anti-liberal reactionary years of the Dreyfus Affair, of idealized peasants in what Pissarro envisioned as an anarchist paradise.

Yes, Pissarro was a lifelong radical, an "anarchist" of the most innocent sort well before anarchists became synonymous with bomb-throwers. Pissarro's anarchism was hardly distinguishable from Thomas Jefferson agrarianism, and Pissarro's idealized peasants look remarkably like the farm workers in the murals of the American Thomas Hart Benton.
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