Armand Guillaumin, the Forgotten Impressionism Artist
Jean Baptiste Armand Guillaumin (February 16, 1841 – June 26, 1927) was an impressionism artist and an active member of the French Impressionism movement. He was friends with all the giants. He hung out and painted with Paul Cezanne, Camille Pissarro, Vincent Van Gogh and Edouard Manet. While his friends became celebrated artists, Armand Guillaumin, who is no less talented, was largely forgotten.
Who was Armand Guillaumin?
Armand Guillaumin was a 19th century artist born in Paris but moved to Moulins with his family at an early age. In his late teens, his father sent him to Paris to stay with his aunt and uncle and to study business. In his spare time, he studied drawing in the evenings.
At the age of 20, Guillaumin enrolled into evening classes at the the Académie Suisse. Here he met fellow students Cézanne and Pissarro. They all remained good friends throughout the rest of their lives.
Guillaumin & his Close Association with the French Impressionism Giants
Armand Guillaumin exhibited in the first Salon des Refusés in 1863 together with Pissarro and Cézanne. He quickly established himself in the social circle of Emile Zola and was meeting and sharing ideas with other like minded impressionists.
Guillaumin was also an active participant in the Edouard Manet circle that met regularly at the Café Guebois in Paris. His own home was also often a meeting place of artists such as Cezanne, Signac, Monet, Gauguin, Pissarro, Van Gogh and Renoir.
The French artist took part in the first Impressionism exhibition in 1874 and continued over the following years to exhibit his paintings in most of the Impressionism exhibitions that followed.
A State Lottery Changes Armand Guillaumin’s Life & Painting Career
Guillaumin came from a modest background. For many years, he was unable to take up painting as a full time career as he needed to find another way of financially support himself. For a long time he worked in a night job so that he could paint during the day.
In 1891 Guillaumin’s luck changed. The artist won a huge state lottery prize for 100,000 francs. This finally gave him the means to leave his job and paint full time. The prize also enabled Guillaumin to travel and paint throughout France, around Holland and other places in Europe. He also managed to sell his artworks to Parisian art dealers like Auguste Portier and Theo Van Gogh.
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Even in his later years, Armand Guillaumin continued to paint and produce many beautiful canvases. With his family, they spent the winter months in the warmer and sunnier, Cote d’Azur. When he returned to Paris in the Spring, Guillaumin brought with him his bright colored canvases portraying the beautiful Mediterranean region of Southern France.
During these years, Guillaumin’s artworks were characterized with bolder and more vivid colors. In fact, these artworks are considered more Fauvism than Impressionsm in style.
Armand Guillaumin died in Orly, Val-de-Marne, just south of Paris in 1927 at the age of 86. He is considered one of the last survivors of the 19th century impressionists.
Artistic Legacy of the Impressionism Artist Armand Guillaumin
Guillaumin never received the worldwide fame of his impressionism friends. However he was a trailblazing artist, embracing everything the impressionists stood for. He painted outdoors capturing the ever changing light effects on nature. He depicted the way light touched the streets, the water, the skies and people. Together with Monet, Pissarro and Morisot, art critics agree that he was a true impressionism artist.
Where to Find Armand Guillaumin’s Artworks:
Today you can find Guillaumin’s paintings in many prestigious art museums around the world. Below is a partial list:
- The Art Institute of Chicago
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- Hermitage Museum, Russia
- Musée D’Orsay, Paris
- Musée d’art moderne André Malraux, Le Havre
- Tate Gallery, London
- The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
For more articles about the lesser known French Impressionists (but just as talented as the big names we all know), check out my articles below: