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Ludovic-Rodolphe Pissarro, born in Paris in 1878, was Camille Pissarro’s fourth son. Encouraged by his father, he began drawing from nature at an early age. He was familiarly known as 'Rodo' and generally signed his works 'Ludovic-Rodo', or early on in his career, 'Rodo'.
The impact of Camille’s art and teaching on Rodo was considerable, and his artistic production encompassed a wide range of media, including oil painting, tempera, watercolour, gouache, wood engraving, drawing and lithography. Rodo exhibited regularly at the Salon des Indépendents over a forty-year period.
In 1894, at the age of sixteen, Rodo published his first wood engravings in the anarchist journal, Le Père Peinard. When Camille left France for the safety of Belgium, during the anarchist upheavals of the same year, Rodo joined him there.
Rodo moved into his first studio in Montmartre with his brother Georges in 1898. He found the nightlife of Paris and the habitués of the cafes, theatres, circuses and cabarets of the area compelling subjects for his work. With his younger brother, Paulémile, Rodo met artists such as Kees Van Dongen, Maurice de Vlaminck and Raoul Dufy. In 1905, he participated in the first Fauve exhibition at the Salon des Indépendents.
At the outbreak of the War in 1914, Rodo moved to England. Over the next few years, he lived mainly in and around West London. He worked closely with his brother, Lucien, to establish, in 1915, the Monarro Group, formed with the aim of exhibiting work by contemporary artists inspired by Impressionism. Many of the works, produced by Rodo while he was in England, were of major London landmarks. After 1924, when Rodo had already returned to France, he divided his time between Paris and Les Andelys in Normandy.
Despite his rich artistic heritage and his achievements as an artist, Rodo is perhaps best remembered for his contribution to art history. For twenty years, he researched and compiled a catalogue of his father’s paintings – a project that was finally published in two volumes in 1939 – and is still considered to be the definitive reference book on Camille’s work. Rodo told Lucien that the compilation of this catalogue was a fascinating task, revealing as it did “the work of the artist, its highs and lows, its progress, as a whole, through acquired experience”.
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