Son of an artist (father) and an art gallery owner (mother). Education: Sorbonne, Paris, France, B.A, 1979; Cortauld Institute, London, England, M.A., 1982; University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D., 2001.
Writer, art historian, curator, scholar, lecturer, and educator. Phillips Auction House, director of Impressionist and modern paintings and sculpture, 1984; worked as an independent curator at the Dallas Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Royal Academy of London, 1988-1993; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX, chief curator, 1994-97; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT, curator of European and contemporary art and adjunct professor, 2001; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, cocurator, 2003-07, adjunct curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, 2007—. Served as director of the Musee de la Fondation de l'Hermitage, Lausanne, Switzerland. Hunter College, City University of New York, Bershad Professor of Art History and Director of Hunter College Galleries, 2007—. Sydney University, visiting lecturer, 1999; Melbourne University, visiting lecturer, 1999; Brisbane Art Gallery, visiting lecturer, 1999; Hunter College, visiting professor, 2003.
Monet's Cathedral: Rouen, 1892-1894, Pavilion (London, England), 1990.
Camille Pissarro, Pavilion (London, England), 1993.
(Editor, with Dorothy Kosinski and MaryAnne Stevens) From Manet to Gauguin: Masterpieces from Swiss Private Collections, Royal Academy of Arts/Ludion Press, Ghent (London, England), 1995.
Monet and the Mediterranean, Rizzoli/Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX, (New York, NY), 1997.
Pioneering Modern Painting: Cezanne & Pissarro 1865-1885, Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), 2005.
(With Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts) Pissarro: Critical Catalogue of Paintings, translated by Mark Hutchinson and Michael Taylor, Skira (Milan, Italy), 2005.
(With John Wilmerding) Robert Indiana: The Artist and His Work, 1955-2005, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 2006.
Cezanne/Pissarro, Johns/Rauschenberg: Comparative Studies on Intersubjectivity in Modern Art, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 2006.
(With Richard R. Brettell) Manet to Matisse: Impressionist Masters from the Marion and Henry Bloch Collection, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, MO), 2007.
Joachim Pissarro is a writer, art historian, scholar, and lecturer. He is a prominent museum curator, having served at the Yale University Art Gallery, the Royal Academy of London, the Museum of Modern Art, and other prestigious museums and art galleries. The son of artistic parents, Pissarro was originally intent on avoiding a career in art, and studied philosophy at the Sorbonne instead. However, he soon experienced "a change of heart and studie[d] art history" at the Courtauld Institute in London, graduating in 1982, noted a biographer on the University of Texas Web site. His career as a scholar, curator, and historian began in 1984, when he was appointed director of Impressionist and modern paintings and sculpture at the Phillips Auction House. Since then, his reputation and status in the field of modern art has continued to grow and evolve. In 2004, Pissarro received the prestigious appointment as one of three curators tapped to head New York's Museum of Modern art following an extensive 858 million dollar renovation. He stepped down from his position as adjunct curator at the MOMA in 2007 when he was appointed Bershad Professor of Art History and Director of the Hunter College Galleries and Hunter College, City University of New York.
Pissarro is the great-grandson of the French Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro. Many of his books concern the life, career, and works of his famous relative. In Camille Pissarro, he provides a detailed, scholarly reassessment of Pissarro's work, arguing that the artist was an important technical innovator in the Impressionist movement. Throughout his career, Camille Pissarro regularly tried new techniques, seeking autonomy and reflecting his perception of a reality that constantly shifted and changed around him, reported a Publishers Weekly critic. Pissarro's "masterful, loving analysis" of his great-grandfather's works presents a forceful argument "against interpreting them as a reflection of Pissarro's political outlook," as a number of other modern critics have done, commented a Publishers Weekly contributor.
Pioneering Modern Painting: Cezanne & Pissarro 1865-1885 explores the twenty-year friendship that existed between Camille Pissarro and French post-impressionist painter Paul Cezanne. He also examines the politics of his great-grandfather and offers "three subchapters that contribute significantly to understanding how politics gets translated into paint," commented James H. Rubin, writing in the Art Bulletin. Rubin further observed that "these chapters provide the best account to date of Camille Pissarro's politics during the 1870s." Joachim Pissarro's writings in this book "demonstrate how Pissarro and Cezanne valued the relation between art and labor, viewing themselves as workers" rather than as members of an elite class of artist or creator, Rubin stated. In the book, Pissarro also "lays the groundwork for understanding the collaboration of artists as a social model for the collective enterprise the Impressionists flirted with when they began their association," Rubin reported. In his review, Rubin concluded that "understanding how artists think politically and express themselves through their medium is valuable and demystifying, challenging them to make the connections work within the physical properties of the artwork itself. Joachim Pissarro, limiting himself to his case study, has established a model for any such future enterprise."
Pissarro: Critical Catalogue of Paintings, edited by Joachim Pissarro and Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, contains a chronologically arranged listing of Camille Pissarro's entire output of some 1,500 paintings. The editors also include supplemental material such as indexes linked to specific topics and concepts in art history, plus detailed information on the provenance of particular paintings and consideration of the critical reception of several of Pissarro's works. Library Journal reviewer Katherine C. Adams remarked that the "chief strength" of Pissarro and Snollaerts's text, "the result of literally decades of work, is the startling depth of scholarship" on Camille Pissarro's Impressionist works.
In Cezanne/Pissarro, Johns/Rauschenberg: Comparative Studies on Intersubjectivity in Modern Art, Pissarro offers a comparative analysis of two pairs of modern artists known as collaborative artists: Paul Cezanne and Camille Pissarro, and Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Pissarro considers how Cezanne and Camille Pissarro contributed to the rise of modernism in art, while Johns and Rauschenberg were instrumental in modernism's decline. He looks at how the collaborative, interactive nature of their work together held great significance for each artist and his work, individually and in tandem with his collaborator. In total, Pissarro offers in this book a "critique of modernism as a monological ideology," noted a Reference & Research Book News critic.
Manet to Matisse: Impressionist Masters from the Marion and Henry Bloch Collection, a catalogue from an exhibition held at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in 2007, focuses on thirty works by a variety of Impressionist painters. Editors Pissarro and Richard R. Brettell assemble reproductions of works by several better-known practitioners of Impressionist art. They also include a pair of in-depth essays, one of which describes the Bloch Collection and how it was assembled, and the other exploring art collecting in Impressionist France.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Apollo, September, 2005, "Taking Risks Side-by-Side: Pissarro and Cezanne Were Close Friends for Twenty Years. Their Relationship Is Examined in an Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Curated by Joachim Pissarro, Who Talked to Louise Nicholson about Its Purposes," review of Pioneering Modern Painting: Cezanne & Pissarro 1865-1885, p. 91.
Art Bulletin, June, 2006, James H. Rubin, "Impressionism: Paint and Politics," review of Pioneering Modern Painting, p. 399.
Art History, December, 1991, Jon Kear, review of Monet's Cathedral: Rouen, 1892-1894, p. 593.
Art in America, November, 2003, "MOMA Names Two Curators," p. 184; May, 2007, "Joachim Pissarro," p. 216.
Atlantic Monthly, December, 1993, review of Camille Pissarro, p. 145.
Booklist, November 1, 1993, Edward Lighthart, review of Camille Pissarro, p. 497.
Choice, January, 1994, F.A. Trapp, review of Camille Pissarro, p. 772; October, 1997, C. Pascoe, review of Monet and the Mediterranean, p. 286; February, 2007, J. Weidman, review of Pissarro: Critical Catalogue of Paintings, p. 975.
Christian Science Monitor, December 10, 1993, Christopher Andreae, review of Camille Pissarro, p. 12.
Library Journal, January, 1991, Joan Levin, review of Monet's Cathedral, p. 102; February 1, 1993, Jack Perry Brown, review of The Impressionist and the City: Pissarro's Series Paintings, p. 78; September 15, 1993, review of Camille Pissarro, p. 38; November 1, 1993, P. Steven Thomas, review of Camille Pissarro, p. 86; November 1, 2006, Katherine C. Adams, review of Pissarro, p. 75.
New York Times, November 29, 1990, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Monet's Cathedral, p. 20.
New York Times Book Review, December 6, 1992, John Russell, review of The Impressionist and the City, p. 18; December 5, 1993, John Russell, review of Camille Pissarro, p. 23.
Publishers Weekly, September 27, 1993, review of Camille Pissarro, p. 50.
Reference & Research Book News, November, 2006, review of Cezanne/Pissarro, Johns/Rauschenberg: Comparative Studies on Intersubjectivity in Modern Art; August, 2007, review of Manet to Matisse: Impressionist Masters from the Marion and Henry Bloch Collection.
Time, December 13, 1993, review of Camille Pissarro, p. 96.
CUNY Newswire,http://www1.cuny.edu/ (March 9, 2007), "Joachim Pissarro Named Director of Hunter College Galleries."
University of Texas Web site,http://www.utexas.edu/ (January 13, 2004), "College of Fine Arts Alumnus Named Curator at New York MOMA," profile of Joachim Pissarro; (March 27, 2008), "Quick Facts on Joachim Pissarro."