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Hugues Claude Pissarro, also known professionally as H. Claude Pissarro, is the grandson of the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro and son of Paulémile Pissarro. Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine and enveloped in an artistic environment, he inevitably spent his childhood and youth with brushes in hand. Carrying on the family tradition established by Camille Pissarro, H. Claude’s father frequently took his son on painting excursions, often accompanied by his numerous artistic friends which proved formative for him.
Initially taught by his father, H. Claude first exhibited his work at the age of fourteen. He subsequently studied art in Paris at prestigious establishments, in particular the École Normale Supérieure, a unique French institution dedicated to the pursuit of achievement and excellence to which only the academic elite have access. He also studied art restoration under Henri Linard, head of the laboratory at the Musée du Louvre. It was inevitable that this educational background would lead him to become a professor of art for much of his professional life and in 1963 he accepted an official invitation to teach art in Monaco.
Throughout his teaching career he remained a prolific artist, exhibiting on several occasions in Paris and London. As with many of his family predecessors, the scope of his work and talent is wide-ranging: from engraver, lithographer, publisher and landscape painter to portraitist. He was even commissioned in 1959 to paint a portrait of President Eisenhower.
H. Claude’s work has evolved through a variety of different styles and techniques, including abstract, avant-garde, minimalist and conceptual art. However, he is now perhaps best known for his Post-Impressionist-style works, which have been exhibited throughout the world since 1985.
Son of Paulémile and grandson of Camille Pissarro, H. Claude’s work reflects influences from wider sources within post-impressionism. His use of pastels gives his work a unique feel, one not replicated by any other artist, perhaps because these works are so labour intensive.
Although H. Claude has been living in Ireland for almost thirty years, his subjects are drawn largely from his native France, a country where beauty can be found wherever you look: French villages, landscapes, river scenes, coastal views and urban scenes, with the works of Paris being probably his most collectable subject. Occasionally he is tempted by Venice or London, two cities he loves.
In these post-impressionist works, his aim is to capture the romantic past, a world which no longer exists, where horses and carts thronged the streets and cars were a new invention. His figures are dressed in 19th-century fashion and so we are taken on a journey back in time.
H. Claude’s work has been collected throughout the world and it is amazing to see that in his 85th year he remains as active as ever, painting with passion and determination in what is for him a way of life.
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Sieste au Jardin Public H. Claude Pissarro (b. 1935)