Jean Baptiste Armand Guillaumin

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Biography of Jean Baptiste Armand Guillaumin ( 1841-1927 )

Painter of scenes of genre, nudes, landscapes and still lives, Armand Guillaumin was a part of the first Impressionist group.

Born in a very modest family, Guillaumin settled in Paris at 16 where he had to work to live. During his free time, he liked to visit the Louvre and Luxembourg museums and joined the school of drawing situated on rue des Petits Carreaux where he went in the evening. He distinguished himself quickly and gained a bronze medal.

He exhibited at the 1863’s Salon des Refusés and became a member of the Académie Suisse in 1864, known for its non-academic teaching.

There, he met the painters Cézanne and Pissarro with whom he had a long friendship. They used to meet at the Café Guerbois with the naturalist painters and painted together on the banks of the Seine.

Guillaumin was an employee of the civil engineering “Ponts et Chaussées” that allowed him to travel along Paris and its suburb and paint popular scenes in Charenton, Clamart, the banks of the Seine and the Bièvre. From then, these scenes showed the strong interest of the painter for rivers, which became his favourite subject.

His paintings with strong and luminous tones were regularly exhibited at the Salon of the Impressionists from 1874 to 1886.

Even if he was painting in open-air, his style was different from the Impressionism by his vivid palette, as we can see in his Montmartre views or paintings like Barges on the Seine 1871, Quai de la Rapée 1871, Sunset in Ivry 1873 or The Seine in Charenton 1878 (Orsay Museum) paintings, using strong colors announcing the Fauvism.

In 1891, he won a lot of money at the national lottery. These one hundred thousand francs allowed him to change his life and realise his dream. He immediately left his job to dedicate himself to painting. He travelled to South of France, Fréjus, Auvergne and the Netherlands, and painted a lot of picturesque and colored scenes. (Vue d'Agay, Var, 1895, Vue de Hollande, Bateaux à voile, 1904).

In 1893, he discovered Crozant in the department of La Creuse, where he settled. Always inspired by water, he made drawings on the banks of the Creuse and painted life on rivers, bridges, fields and woods with the shiny colors of summer. The young painter Othon Friez admired these sparkling ochre, red and mauve tones specific to Guillaumin, who was considered as the last impressionist painter when he died in 1927.

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75008 Paris, France
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