Frederic Bonin Pissarro’s art appears at first glance, to be decidedly different from the Impressionist and Postimpressionist paintings of Camille Pissarro. But it reflects the same humanistic values and rigorous artistic techniques as his great grandfather.
The younger Pissarro’s paintings are imaginative and whimsical, portraying people and sometimes animals that capture your interest. Drawn with bold strokes, their features are almost sculptural. The light and shadow on the planes of the faces may be depicted in patterns, even stripes or dots. Bright primary colors define the lines and shapes in vivid brushstrokes applied with solid intent.
The large oval faces with expressive almond eyes pull you into their world and for a few moments, you share their peace, their tenderness, their playfulness. Groups of figures feel like family or friends coaxing you into their generous circle.
Some paintings feature an alter ego displaying the other’s inner thoughts, and many include a bird with stick legs, who inserts himself into the mixture, either taking part or observing. And there are hands and arms, hugging, caressing, holding the figures together.
These images celebrate the worth and the dignity of individuals and their place in the universe. These are the same values that Camille Pissarro instilled in all of his children, as he taught them to draw and paint. While his daughter Jeanne had distinct artistic talent, she was not allowed to become an artist like her brothers. But she passed her legacy on to her son, Claude Bonin, who became an artist and inspired his son Frederic to express his own artistic independence. Camille Pissarro always challenged his children to follow their own “sensations”— generations later, Frederic Bonin Pissarro does just that.