Frederic Bonin-Pissarro - Going with the Flow

The World and I, August 2000 | Go to article overview

Frederic Bonin-Pissarro - Going with the Flow


"I need to paint. It makes me extremely happy," says 36-year-old Frederic Bonin-Pissarro. This is not surprising, as he is the great- grandson of Camille Pissarro, one of the founders of Impressionism and the progenitor of no less than seventeen artists.

Although the family name has no doubt lent a certain cachet to Frederic's work, reproducing his forefather's style has never been his aim (as it has been with others in the lineage). When Frederic was growing up in Paris, he recalls, Camille Pissarro was not well known there, having been overshadowed by such figures as Monet and Renoir; widespread recognition came only after a retrospective in the mid- 1970s. Frederic learned of his forebear through family stories told by his own father, Claude, who is also a painter and was young Frederic's first art teacher.

Frederic attended the prestigious cole Nationale des Beaux Arts de Paris and found inspiration in many artists, but ultimately he developed a style reminiscent of Post-Impressionist expressionism and Fauvism. Painting from memory and imagination, employing free brushwork and a vivid palette, he goes for a visceral evocation of his subject, poetic and sensual. "I'm extremely emotional in what I do," he says. "I just throw basic lines on the canvas and then go with my feelings."

Feelings, in fact, are the raison d'?tre for his art. "I'm not trying to say anything in my work," he emphasizes. …

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