Two women conversing by the seashore by Pissarro

Two women conversing by the seashore by Pissarro
Two women conversing by the seashore by Pissarro

A very curious fact about the French painter Camille Pissarro is that he was not born in France, but in the Caribbean island of Saint Thomas, a place far removed from the great artistic centers of the 19th century.

he was born in 1830 on that island in theWest Indies, which was then under the rule ofDenmark. And there he spent his entire childhood, until he was 12 years old, when his parents sent him to France to study. However, after finishing his studies he had to return to Saint Thomas to work in the family business. However, nothing would be the same anymore, and he would only stay there four years, and finally he went toParisin 1855.


Two Women Conversing by the Sea by Pissarro

But interestingly, his early Parisian paintings are set in the tropical settings of his childhood. And a magnificent example is this small canvas (27 x 41) en titled Two Women Conversing by the Sea, Saint Thomas which he made in 1856 and which is currently exhibited at theNational Gallery of Art in Washington, in the United States.

The truth is that it is a painting that we can consider very realistic, completely dominated by the volumetric figures of the two women. Although that tropical landscape is also very important, as well as the beautiful light of the sunset.

This image is somehow telling ustransmitting the passion for their land. It was like looking at her island with great nostalgia and affection, but at the same time being aware that she could never succeed in the world of painting there.

To begin with the family's own opposition, since his father of Sephardic Jewish origin did not see with good eyes that passion of his son. However, that confrontation was soon won by the young Pisarro, whose full name was Jacob Abraham Camille due to his Hebrew family origin, although his mother was born in the Dominican Republic.

For this reason, before leaving permanently for Paris, Pissarro traveled to Venezuela in 1852, to its capital Caracas and toLa Guaira, where he finished training with his Danish teacher Fritz Melbye. As we have already said, Saint Thomas in those years was a Danish colony, and in fact Pissarro kept that nationality all his life, and shared it with the French.


Pissarro's Tropical Landscape

During all the time he spent in Venezuela he dedicated himself exclusively to painting and a good example of them are these two works: Paisaje tropical and the Estudio del artist, who gives us a picture of how he worked with Melbye.

Both works are kept in Venezuela. In fact, the country has an extensive collection of works by Pissarro with some 60 works in the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, another 60 in the National Art Galleryand about 40 at the Banco Central de Venezuela.


Pissarro's Saint Thomas Artist's Studio

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