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Pissarro on Paper

September 30, 2012 – March 31, 2013
East Building, Ground Floor

Camille Pissarro, Wooded Landscape at L'Hermitage, Pontoise (Paysage sous bois, a L'Hermitage,Pontoise), 1879, aquatint, soft-ground, and drypoint on Japanese paper, Rosenwald Collection, 1949.5.486

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: French Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro first tried printmaking in his early thirties, and though he never stopped painting, printing became vital to his artistic enterprise. He valued the ease with which he could test new ideas, and he became increasingly innovative as he grew more comfortable with different printing techniques. The purchase of his own etching press in 1894 facilitated his efforts, which resulted in more than two hundred plates.

This one-room installation highlights Pissarro's spirited experimentation, as well as his gravitation—in all media—toward depicting landscape and the people who inhabited rural farms and towns. Rather than meticulously reproducing what he saw, he sought to capture the mood and essence of his subjects. On both paper and canvas, Pissarro masterfully played with surface textures and variations of compositional density to create descriptive and evocative visual imagery. His energetic methods for printmaking—dabbing, rubbing, dragging—and his range of materials for all media—palette knives, brushes of different sizes, even his bare hands—all contribute to the dynamism of his works.

Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Pissarro, Camille
French, 1830 - 1903