Monthly Archives: July 2012

Pissarro, Warm Heart–Open Mind

By Vanessa Nesvig
Coordinator of Interpretation and Programs

After researching a work of art for our What Do You Think? discussion every month, I think that to know more about an artist is to love them more. Camille Pissarro is a case in point.

Camille Pissarro France, "The Jetty at Le Havre, High Tide, Morning Sun," 1903, oil on canvas, 22 1/2 x 25 5/8 inches. Collection of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee. Museum purchase.

Here are a few things that really impressed me about French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro.

• Pissarro was older than the rest of the Impressionists—Renior, Degas, Monet, Manet as well as Post-Impressionist Cezanne—and was thought of as the father figure of the group. His warm heart and youthful temperament (and early grey beard) made many of these artists consider themselves his pupils, though he never taught them. When Cezanne was 67, long after Pissarro’s death, he still listed himself as “pupil of Pissarro” in exhibition catalogues.

• In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, Pissarro was forced to leave France because of his Danish citizenship. He decided to go to London, as many of his fellow artists did. At the age of 40, he left 1500 of his paintings behind in Paris and when he returned, only 40 of them remained because soldiers had used them for towels and rugs.

• At the age of 54, he met the two Pointalists, Paul Signac and Georges Seurat. For the next four years, he converted to their more scientific approach to art and color. Critics of the day noted, “his extraordinary capacity to change his art, revised his position and took on new challenges.” Then, he had the courage to change back to a more natural approach four years later.

This paternal figure had a great influence in keeping the Impressionists together, both intellectually and as an exhibiting group. His gentle manner kept a group of young outsider artists focused on pushing art forward.

I just have to wonder how it would be different if there were 1460 more paintings of his in the world…

Join us on Thursday, August 2 for our next What Do You Think? discussion of the work Stormy Weather, Etretat by Gustave Courbet!

(Image Credit: Camille Pissarro, The Jetty at Le Havre, High Tide, Morning Sun, 1903, oil on canvas, 22 1/2 x 25 5/8 inches. Collection of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee. Museum purchase.)

Family Lunch Break!

Looking for a quick lunch spot while exploring the Portland arts district this summer? Stop in to the Museum Café by Aurora Provisions! No admission is required to dine in the Café which is located in the lower ground floor of the Museum, in the midst of our decorative glass gallery.

We invited the Johnson family to have lunch at the Café and give us feedback on their experience while enjoying delicious local food from Aurora Provisions. Nick, Reeve, Sadie, and Clover dined on the vegetable sandwich (roasted Portobello mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, house pickled curry zucchini, fresh fennel, and whipped feta spread on Standard Baking Co. focaccia bread), special salad (fresh field greens, figs, toasted hazelnuts, and goat cheese tossed in balsamic vinaigrette), broccoli cheddar soup, peanut butter and raspberry jelly, and macaroni and cheese.

The fresh fare was a hit with Nick and Reeve while the cupcakes were the highlight for Sadie and Clover!

Tips for families:
• Kid-friendly fare: macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly (grape, raspberry, and strawberry), and sandwiches made with your choice of meat and cheese. Please don’t hesitate to ask the Café staff for kid-friendly selections—we are happy to suggest something yummy!
• Children’s books can be found on the left side of the Café bar to read while you wait.
• High chairs are available.
• Closed lid plastic cups are great for beverages. When you order, please ask the Café staff for this option to go with your meal.

Meet the New Curator–Karen Sherry, Curator of American Art

YouTube Preview Image

Learn more about the Winslow Homer Studio and the exhibition Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine.