Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pissarro. A Meeting on St. Thomas

Ordrupgaard Museum, Denmark
10 March – 2 July 2017

 Is there a connection between Danish Golden Age painting and French Impressionism? Now, Ordrupgaard is marking the centenary of the sale of the Danish West Indies with an exhibition that highlights the meeting between the Danish Golden Age painter, Fritz Melbye, and the ‘father’ of French Impressionism, Camille Pissarro at Saint Thomas. The exhibition adds a completely new angle to the origins of Impressionism. 

Most people are familiar with the great impressionist painter, Camille Pissarro, but few are aware that he was a Danish citizen. Pissarro was born in 1830 in the town of Charlotte Amalie at Saint Thomas. In 1850 the Danish painter, Fritz Melbye travelled from Copenhagen to the Danish colony, and the two young artists spend a couple of years in each other’s company. 

Into Impressionism 

Pissarro. A meeting on St. Thomas presents an extensive number of early works by Pissarro and Melbye, painted during their years together in the Danish West Indies and Venezuela. With paintings, sketches and drawings loaned from museums and collections around the world, the exhibition shows how Pissarro built upon his early years of learning with Melbye as his mentor, and how he applied these lessons in Impressionism.

The exhibition Pissarro. A Meeting on St. Thomas tells the story about the meeting of Pissarro and Melbye, and the creative exchange between the two artists, which Pissarro brought with him into Impressionism. The exhibition presents both artists with pieces borrowed from museums and collections all over the world. 

Pissarro. A Meeting on St. Thomas is an invitation to join an artistic exploration from the Danish West Indies, through the jungle of Caracas and Venezuela, all the way to France where Impressionism was born. The exhibition shows Melbye’s influence on the slightly younger Pissarro as his first mentor and teacher, and thus presents a unique new angle on the origins of French Impressionism. 

Camille Pissarro. Inlet with Sailboat, 1856. Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros 

Camille Pissarro. Landscape from the Antilles, Rider and Donkey on a Road, 1856. Ordrupgaard

Fritz Melbye. Palm Trees and Grasses, n.d.
Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, New York /
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Camille Pissarro, People discussing in the Roadside, 1856. Stern Pissarro Gallery, London 

Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Landscape, St. Thomas, 1856, Oil on canvas, 46,3 x 38 cm, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts  

Camille Pissarro, The Ennery road. Val d'Oise., 1874. Paris, musée d'Orsay. Photo ©, Musée d'Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt .

Fritz Melbye, Parti fra Skt. Thomas havn i Charlotte Amalie, 1851-52, Museet for Søfart.