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 Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin  (1841 - 1927)



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Lived/Active: France      Known for: impressionist land-and seascape and portrait paintings

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from Auction House Records.
Chemin à Damiette
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Biography from Daphne Alazraki Fine Art:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Art history has occasionally lost sight of the importance of Jean-Baptiste-Armand Guillaumin’s work to the development of Modern art and only recently has his work been acknowledged to the degree it deserves.  Guillaumin was a founding member of the now famous group of independent young French painters who organized the first Impressionist exhibit in 1874.  Guillaumin’s revolutionary comrades included Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne and Berthe Morisot.  Guillaumin’s work appeared at six of the eight Impressionist exhibitions between 1874 and 1886.  He lived the longest of all the founders of Impressionism, dying just after Claude Monet in 1927.

Guillaumin began humbly, working as a clerk at the Orleans railroad company and painting images of Montmartre and the quays of the Seine during the weekends. He studied painting at a local art school and later progressed to the Academie Suisse, where he met Cezanne and Pissarro, in 1861.

Guillaumin exhibited in the first Salon des Refusés in 1863 together with Pissarro and Cézanne and in the following two years Renoir and Monet.   He painted in Pontoise in the 1870s with Pissaro and, accompanied by Cezanne, would often go to see art patron Dr. Gachet, who gave them help and encouragement.  Guillaumin’s careful study of light and color at the different times of the day was fundamental to the burgeoning Impressionist theory.  The artist chose to paint outside the city, en plein-air, focusing on the ever-changing atmospheric effects in nature.  Guillaumin observed the multitude of ways light touched the surface of the streets, skies, water, trees and people and was able to capture it on canvas with great subtlety and sensitive perception.

Guillaumin had a passion for sunlight and was even seized and characterized by a sort of “violettomania” indicated by the number of his works tinted with a lilac hue. Guillaumin’s later works were marked by a passion for color that showed an alliance to the Fauves.  The expressive and dynamic application of paint and the subtle use of impasto, reveals some of the inspiration Van Gogh had provided 12 years prior.   In recent years, Guillaumin’s paintings have become highly prized and sought after.  He is now not only recognized as the teacher of Paul Signac and a close friend and respected companion of many famous artists, but as a fine and significant painter in his own right.

Biography from South Coast Fine Art:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

A French Impressionist painter, Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin studied art in Paris at the Academie Suisse in 1861.  There he met and became lifelong friends with his fellow students, Paul Cezanne and Camille Pissarro. 

Guillaumin first exhibited his paintings at the 1863 Salon des Refuses, and during the following decades his art was included in most major Impressionist exhibitions. Recognition, however, was slow, and Guillaumin was forced to work for the Highways Department to support his family and thus he could only pursue his artistic career in his spare time.  Good Fortune smiled upon him in 1891 when he won a major lottery and was able to devote himself entirely to painting and printmaking.

Guillaumin's first experiments with etching date from 1872.  The following year Pissarro invited Cezanne and Guillaumin to stay with him at Pontoise and introduced them to Dr. Gachet.  Gachet was an enthusiastic amateur etcher and prevailed on all the artists who came to see him to try their hand at etching; he even prepared the copper plates, supervised the biting and pulled the proofs on his own press.  Both Cezanne and Guillaumin etched a number of plates there.  In fact, Cezanne's first etching was based upon a landscape painting of Guillaumin's and his second etching was a portrait of his close friend entitled, Portrait of Guillaumin with the Hanged Man.

In the 1880's, Armand Guillaumin became a close companion with Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890).  Scholars have often seen an affinity in the compositions of these two artists, particularly in their vigorous brushwork and vibrant coloration.  Perhaps because of his association with this great Dutch master, Guillaumin visited Holland in 1904. En Hollande (In Holland) dates from this year, but (apart from a handful of artist's proofs) was not published in an edition until 1922.  At this time Theodore Duret published his third edition of the influential volume, Histoire des Peintres Impressionists and printed Guillaumin's En Hollande as well as original etchings by Pierre Auguste Renoir and Berthe Morisot.

Biography from Schiller & Bodo European Paintings:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Armand Guillaumin was the longest surviving Impressionist, the most loyal, and probably the least known of the group.  He was born in Paris of a family that had recently moved there from central France, where, as a boy he had spent much of his time.  At the age of fifteen he started working in his uncle's shop, while studying drawing in the evenings.  In 1860 he obtained a job on the Paris-Orleans railway, continuing to paint in his spare time.  In 1861 he entered the Academie Suisse and met Cezanne and Pissarro, with whom he was to remain on close terms for the rest of his life.  They spent some time together at Pontoise, and Cezanne was greatly impressed by a view of the Seine that Guillaumin painted in 1871 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).

Guillaumin exhibited at the Salon des Refuse and at most of the Impressionist exhibitions.  His work was marked by a passion for color and toward the end of his life brought him close to the Fauves.  His work was taken up by the dealer Auguste Portier, who had commenced his career with the art dealer Durand-Ruel, and was assured of financial stability when he won a large prize of 100 million francs in the National Lottery in 1891 which allowed him to quit his job and dedicate his time fully to his painting and to travel widely.  From then on, he spent much time on the Mediterranean painting the coastline, notably at Agay  He became friendly with Van Gogh, with whose work his own has certain affinities (1893; View of Agay, (Musee d'Orsay), and in 1904 he spent some time in Holland.  The vigor of his brushwork, and the obvious lyrical zest that informs his landscapes bring him close to Van Gogh, and clearly his vibrant use of color also influenced the young Matisse.

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