Camille Pissarro ( French, 1830 - 1903 )
- c. 1898
One of only four self-portraits by Camille Pissarro, this three-quarter-length likeness was created during a particularly sorrowful time in the artist's life. In 1897, one of Pissarro's sons suffered a stroke and another died from tuberculosis. Additionally, he was plagued with the worsening of a chronic eye infection that forced him to paint indoors. Although this painting is unfinished, it is the first self-portrait he painted in twenty-five years and may represent a moment of introspection following these hardships.
Pissarro, considered a father figure among many of the impressionists, presents himself as both a creative artist and wise advisor with his drooping beret, oversized smock, biblical beard, and somber expression. He painted this self-portrait in the same room as Place du Théâtre, Franҫais, Fog Effect (1985.R.50), and the same Parisian rooftops are visible through the window.
Heather MacDonald, DMA label copy, 2015.