David Bickerstaff’s Pissarro: Father of Impressionism is a documentary celebrating the life of French Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro, more than a century after his death in 1903.

Born in St. Thomas, in the Danish West Indies, Camille Pissarro attended school in Paris, and returned there in his mid-twenties to pursue a full-time career as an artist.

Increasingly disillusioned with the power of the French government-sponsored Salon, in the early 1870s Pissarro joined with other artists – amongst them Claude Monet and August Renoir, to form a new cooperative.

The groups’ first exhibition in 1874, held at the studio of French photographer Nadar, included works by Pissarro, Monet, and Renoir, alongside those of Alfred Sisley, Edward Degas, Berthe Morisot, and Paul Cézanne.

At the time, much to Pissarro’s dismay, the show was scorned by critics, all unable to foresee the significant impact this group of artists – henceforth recognised as the Impressionists – would have on the future.

For the next 40 years, Pissarro was the driving force behind what has today become the world’s favourite artistic movement, continuing to push the boundaries of the technique and create new opportunities for the group, whilst also holding the Impressionist collective together and encouraging the other members.

Central to the film are exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of two major recent European exhibitions dedicated to the artist – ‘Pissarro: Father of Impressionism’, on now at Britain’s Ashmolean Museum, and ‘Camille Pissarro’, held at Switzerland’s Kunstmuseum Basel, from September 2021 to January 2022.

Exclusive access to the Ashmolean’s Pissarro family archive – the world’s largest collection devoted to an Impressionist artist – also provides an invaluable insight into Pissarro’s personality, evidenced by his private correspondence with his family, associates and artist friends.

Released via Exhibition on Screen, Pissarro: Father of Impressionism opens in cinemas across Australia on Thursday, May 26, 2022.

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