Pissarro is often called the Father of Impressionism. His colleagues, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, and countless others acclaimed him as a great artist and teacher.
He stands apart from all the other Impressionists, perhaps because his story was so different. He was born on the island of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, to a French Jewish family, and grew up speaking English and Spanish, as well as French. As a boy he was sent to Paris for school, and as a young man, he moved to France to make his career as an artist.
He spearheaded the Impressionist movement and was the only artist to participate in all eight Impressionist exhibitions. Never satisfied with the familiar, he was always inventing new artistic ideas, which led him to experiment with pointillism for a few years.
He most often sought motifs in ordinary places and he painted the villages, fields, and rivers around him. Unsatisfied with the familiar, he continuously put himself in new places and new situations. In his 50s, he developed an eye infection that caused him to search for scenes he could paint from sheltered places. He began making series of paintings—in Paris, Rouen, Dieppe, Le Havre, Belgium, and London—switching from cityscape back to country meadows effortlessly.