+44 (0)20 7629 6662


Orovida Camille Pissarro (1893 - 1968)

Exercising Ponies

Request Viewing

Oil on board
101.5 x 76 cm (40 x 30 inches)
Signed and dated lower right Orovida 1954

+44 (0)20 7629 6662
  • Provenance

    Estate of Orovida Pissarro
    With John Bensusan-Butt, cousin of the artist
    Sotheby's London, 12th October 1988
    G Hassell, 25th November 1988
    With John Noott, 10th June 1992

  • Exhibitions

    London, Bowmore Gallery, Women in Art 1850-1989, 2nd-11th November 1989
    Fort Lauderdale, Museum of Art, Camille Pissarro and his Descendants, January-April 2000, no.123

  • Literature

    K L Erickson, Orovida Pissarro: Painter and Print-Maker with A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, (doctoral thesis), Oxford, 1992, Appendices, no. 161 (illustrated)

Artist's Biography

Orovida, the only child of Lucien and Esther Pissarro, was the first woman in the Pissarro family to become a professional artist and the first Pissarro of her generation to take up painting. Born in Epping, England, in 1893, she lived and worked predominantly in London, where she was a prominent member of several British arts clubs and societies.

She first learned to paint in the Impressionist style from her father and, after a brief period of formal study with Walter Sickert in 1913, she renounced formal art schooling.

Throughout her career, Orovida always remained outside mainstream British art movements. Much to Lucien's disappointment, she soon turned away from naturalistic painting and developed an unusual style that combined elements of Japanese, Chinese, Persian and Indian art. Her rejection of Impressionism, which, for the Pissarro family, was a way of life, and her simultaneous decision to drop her famous last name and use simply Orovida as a nom de peintre, reflected a desire for independence from the family legacy, of which she nevertheless remained proud.

Orovida's most distinctive works are her paintings of the 1920s and 30s in gouache (she called her mixture bodycolour) and tempera, applied in thin, delicate washes to silk, linen, paper or gold leaf and embellished with brocade borders. These elegant and richly decorative works generally depict non-Western subjects, for example: Mongolian horse-riders, African dancers and Persian princes, often engaged in activities such as dancing or hunting rituals.

The second half of Orovida's painting career is marked by a dramatic change in both style and subject matter. In the mid-1940s, she began to embrace contemporary subjects from everyday life and returned to a more naturalistic style. Her new style was more suited to oils, and thus, she returned to that media.

Throughout her life, Orovida was aware of the mixed blessing of having famous artists in the family; not only a grandfather and father but also four uncles, and towards the end of her life, she was instrumental in developing the Pissarro family archive that her mother had established at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

Orovida Camille Pissarro