Georges Manzana Pissarro

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Biography of Georges Manzana Pissarro ( 1871-1961 )

The Pissaro family includes Camille, Lucien, Rodolphe, Félix, Ludovic, Paul-Emile... It is difficult for us to escape the recognized work of these accomplished artists. Georges-Henri Manzana-Pissaro is the third of the name.

The Pissaro family includes Camille, Lucien, Rodolphe, Félix, Ludovic, Paul-Emile... It is difficult for us to escape the recognized work of these accomplished artists. Georges-Henri Manzana-Pissaro is the third of the name.

Georges-Henri was born in 1871 in the city of Louveciennes, in the Yvelines region of France, into a family where art is at the heart of general concerns. He exercised his gaze from an early age. Indeed, from adolescence, he began to study art at the side of his father: Camille Pissarro who passed on his sensitivity and his love of nature to him. As an impressionist painter, Camille Pissaro frequented a wide circle of renowned artists, such as Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Gauguin and many others. This context undeniably shapes Manzana-Pissaro's eye and palette. Indeed, the latter, like his father, devotes himself to landscape painting. Painting outiside, he walks around Pontoise and Eragny, with his colours and easel. In 1894, at the age of 23, he began to sign "Manzana". This name, borrowed from his maternal grandmother, officially became his pseudonym in 1910. It was only after his father's death in 1903 that he also affixed his own family name: "Pissarro" to his signature.

With his brothers, Lucien and Rodolphe and his father, he discovered the anarchist movements, initiated by Ricardo Flores Magon, considered one of the intellectual precursors of the Mexican revolution. He becomes familiar with the libertarian current. Indeed, Camille Pissarro is a theorist of anarchy, closely linked to the painters of New Athens. This group was located in the heart of a residential area housing the elite of the Parisian romantic movement: writers, actors, musicians and painters gathered there and belonged to the libertarian movement. 

This term "libertarian" chosen by Joseph Déjacque, an anarchist activist and writer, contrasts with liberalism, philosophical, political, modern and moral doctrine, which aims to organize social relations, as well as to rationalize them. Denying any principles of authority in social organization is the foundation of the libertarian movement. The latter is closely linked to the current of political philosophy that is anarchism, developed throughout the 19th century. In 1899, Manzana-Pissarro joined the newspaper of Emile Pouget, one of the libertarian, anti-militarist, anarchist and particularly committed trade unionist founders.

After several years, exclusively dedicated to the practice of painting, Manzana-Pissaro chose to detach herself from it, in quest of new modes of expression. Greatly influenced by Gauguin's work, with its idyllic representations of Tahiti and the Orient, the artist uses other mediums. He designs furniture and decorative objects. In addition, he exploits the use of gold in his creations, as well as silver and copper paint. We find these elements in many of his watercolours depicting birds or fish.

His strong interest in the Applied Arts led him to join the Arts and Crafts movement, which he discovered during his sojourns in London, from 1889 onwards. Torn between the neo-impressionist current and these new aesthetic and philosophical influences, the artist develops his own art. His vision are animated by a form of enchantment. Fantastic creatures, mermaids, acidulous shades are at the heart of these paintings of a new kind, quite different from his father's work. This artistic movement of Arts and Crafts, born in the 1860s at the end of the Victorian era, is today considered to be the initiator of the "modern style", a competitor of French and Belgian Art Nouveau. Deeply influenced by Japanese prints, by the exoticism of Gauguin's paintings, the aesthetics of his work is multiple. However, the paintings that will be the most successful with the public are his landscapes, which are in the same vein as his father's work. His artworks will be presented at the Salon d'automne, the Salon des indépendants, the Eugène Druet gallery in Paris, or at Paul Durand-Ruel's, a major art dealer defending the works of artists from the Barbizon School.

This oil on panel is called The Port of Dieppe in Rainy Weather. The signature "Manzana-Pissarro" certifies that it was made after the death of the artist's father in 1903. Some boats are docked at the port. The smoke from their chimneys disturbs the background that disappears behind these vaporous clouds. The rain shakes the sea, brushed in green tones. Wih this painting, we cannot deny Camille Pissarro's influence on her son's work. This juxtaposition of wide keys, this palette, this way of restoring light on the platform: we find all the characteristics of the post-impressionist movement.

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