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Hughes Claude Pissaro (B. 1935)

Biography of Artist

Hugues Claude Pissarro, also known as Isaac Pomié, is the grandson of Camille Pissarro and son of Paulémile Pissarro. Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine and immersed in an artistic environment, he spent his childhood with brushes in hand. Carrying on a family tradition established by Camille, Paulémile frequently took his son on painting excursions, accompanied by his numerous artist friends, and these proved formative to Hugues’s painterly development. 

Initially taught by his father, Hugues first exhibited his work at the age of fourteen. Predestined by his educational background to become a professor of art for much of his professional life, his temperament was notably moulded by formal training at prestigious French establishments such as the "Ecole du Musée du Louvre" and, in particular, at the "Ecole Normale Supérieure" a unique French institution dedicated to the pursuit of achievement and excellence to which only the academic elite have access.  This educational background led him to follow a long career as an art professor and, in 1965, accept an invitation to teach art in Monaco. 

Throughout his teaching career, Hugues was also a prolific artist, exhibiting on several occasions in Paris and London. Like many of his family predecessors, the scope of his work and talent, as engraver, lithographer, author, landscape painter and portraitist, is wide ranging. Indeed, he was even commissioned by the White House in 1959 to paint President Eisenhower. 

Hugues’s work has evolved through a variety of different styles and techniques, including abstract, avant-garde, minimalist and conceptual art. He is perhaps best known for his Impressionist-style works, known collectively as ‘Petit Claude’, which have been exhibited throughout the world since 1985. 

At the end of 1989, Hugues began to develop a more contemporary style, known as ‘Grand Claude’, and he initially adopted the pseudonym Isaac Pomié to separate these works from his Impressionist ones. The contemporary works are distinguished by their large canvasses, which have become a trademark, and Hugues’s technique of applying colours with great speed, straight from the tube, to achieve a thick, robust texture. Further refinement is added by scraping away some of the paint once it dries, the end result having a remarkable effect. One of his artistic idiosyncrasies is to precede each painting by a small study, executed in oil or in mixed media. 

Splitting his time between Ireland and Normandy, and working in self-imposed virtual solitude, Hugues still keeps abreast of events and developments in the art world. Indeed, he is a valued and respected contributor to several art publications. 

Married in 1958 to Katia, an established art dealer, he has three children: Joachim, an art historian; Lionel, an art dealer; and Lelia, an artist who is carrying on the family tradition into the fourth generation.

Finally, what better witness to his motivation and success than the testimony of the artist himself: " the need to find tranquillity, peace, solitude and isolation far removed from the suffocation and oppression of unnatural urban life ….savouring the joy and beauty of untrammelled nature on long country walks, paying daily tribute to my father who instilled this appreciation in me ….regret that I have had such a relatively short period of time in this, my present style of painting ….my sole reason for existence is to paint."