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Camille Pissarro was born in St. Thomas in the West Indies, son of a prosperous Jewish merchant, and was sent to boarding school near Paris. By 1885 he was commited to being a painter, and formed friendships with Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, and Emile Zola. Pissarro was one of the key organizers of the First Impressionist Exhibition in 1874. He was the only artist to exhibit in all eight Impressionist Exhibitions. Like Monet and sometimes accompanied by Cézanne, he painted out in the fields, a revolutionary concept at the time.

In the 1880's, Pissarro joined a younger generation of artists including Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, adopting the Neo-Impressionist technique of paint application of small dots of pure, unmodulated color.

Pissarro abandoned Neo-Impressionism in the 1890's, returning to the style that captured his sensations of nature. He continued to paint rural landscapes, but he also added city subjects such as town squares and marketplaces. City or countryside, Pissarro painted with unaffected naturalism but within a classical pictorial structure.