H Claude Pissarro
At present best known for his style of realism, he had nonetheless been involved with different contemporary movements before confirming his preference for figurative realism in later life.
Hugues Claude Pissarro, also known professionally as Isaac Pomié, is the grandson of the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro and son of the artist Paulemile Pissarro. Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine on 9 November 1935, steeped in this artistic environment, he inevitably spent his childhood and youth with brushes in his hand. Carrying on a family tradition established by Camille Pissarro, Paulemile, accompanied by his numerous artist friends, frequently took his sons on painting excursions which were to prove formative for H. Claude.
At present best known for his style of realism, he had nonetheless been involved with different contemporary movements before confirming his preference for figurative realism in later life. Predestined by his educational background to become a professor of art for much of his professional life, his temperament was notably molded by formal training at prestigious French establishments such as the “Ecole du Musée du Louvre” and, in particular, at the “Ecole Normale Supérieure” a unique French institution dedicated to the pursuit of achievement and excellence to which only the academic elite have access.
Throughout his teaching career he was also a prolific artist exhibiting on several occasions in Paris and London. Like many of his family predecessors, the scope of his work and talent was wide ranging from engraver, lithographer, publisher and landscape painter to portraitist, he was even commissioned by the White House in 1959 to paint President Eisenhower.
In common with many artists, Claude Pissarro was not immune to the more radical vogues of his time. This almost obsessive commitment led him, in 1972, to create a centre for contemporary art based in an imposing converted manor house in the vicinity of Paris. There, together with a host of like-minded artists such as Vialla, Pineau and Da Rocha, he immersed himself to the hilt in the Avant-garde such as “Support-Surface” (the desire to intellectualize art by attaching an artistic significance to the painter’s very tools). It is only fair to say that, with hindsight, this period of disturbing soul searching proved to be an extremely painful stage in his artistic development.
Despite his commitment to this particular movement the fact that, unknown to his fellow “Avant-gardistes”, he secreted himself away to continue drawing in the traditional sense is an evident manifestation of his subconscious refusal to suppress his true artistic character, or to sever links with his deeply ingrained formative background. Thus, even though he was in the grip of Avant-gardism for almost two decades, it comes perhaps as no surprise to see him return to “painting”. Initially via Post-Modernism, in essence extricating himself from the perceived nihilism of Avant-garde, he ultimately attained fulfillment and self-realization in his present style of Realism.
Based in his Normandy studio, Claude maintains a frenetic pace of activity, frequently working well into the night, producing the large canvasses, which have become his trademark. His distinctive style is realized by applying colors with great speed straight from the tube to achieve a thick, robust texture. Further refinement is added by scraping away some of the paint once dry, the end result being a remarkable effect. One of his artistic idiosyncrasies is to precede each painting by a small study executed in oil or in mixed media.
Working in self-imposed virtual solitude, he is visited only by his immediate family and a select core of friends. The choice to stay within the confines of his own physical world has nonetheless not precluded him from keeping abreast of events and developments in the world of art. Indeed, he is a valued and respected contributor to several art publications.
Married in 1958 to Katia, an established art dealer, he has three children: Joachim, an art historian; Lionel, an art dealer; and Lelia, an artist who is carrying on the family tradition into the fourth generation.
Finally, what better witness to his motivation and success than the testimony of the artist himself: ” the need to find tranquility, peace, solitude and isolation far removed from the suffocation and oppression of unnatural urban life ….savoring the joy and beauty of untrammeled nature on long country walks, paying daily tribute to my father who instilled this appreciation in me ….regret that I have had such a relatively short period of time in this, my present style of painting ….my sole reason for existence is to paint.”