Ludovic-Rodolphe Pissarro, born in Paris in 1878, was Camille Pissarro’s fourth son, and encouraged by his father he began drawing from nature at an early age. He was familiarly known as Rodo and generally signed his works ‘Ludovic-Rodo’ (or early on in his career, just ‘Rodo’).
The impact of Camille’s art and teaching on Rodo was obviously considerable, and his artistic production encompassed a wide range of media, including oil painting, tempera, watercolour, gouache, wood engraving, drawing and lithography. He also exhibited regularly at the Salon des Indépendents over a forty year period.
In 1894, at the age of sixteen, Rodo published his first wood engravings in the anarchist journal, Le Pere Peinard, and when Camille left France for the safety of Belgium during the anarchist upheavals of that year Rodo joined him there.
Rodo moved into his first studio in Montmartre with his brother Georges in 1898 and found the night-life of Paris, and the habitués of the cafes, theatres, circuses and cabarets of the area, compelling subjects for his work. With his younger brother Paulémile he met artists such as Kees Van Dongen, Maurice de Vlaminck and Raoul Dufy, and in 1905 he participated in the first Fauve exhibition at the Salon des Indépendents.
At the outbreak of war in 1914 Rodo moved to England, and over the next few years he lived mainly in and around West London. He worked closely with his brother Lucien to establish, in 1915, the Monarro Group which was formed with the aim of exhibiting work by contemporary artists inspired by Impressionism. Many of the works produced by Rodo while he was in England were of major London landmarks. After 1924, when Rodo had already returned to France, he divided his time between Paris and Les Andelys in Normandy.
Despite his rich artistic heritage and his achievements as an artist, Rodo is perhaps best remembered for his contribution to art history. For twenty years he researched and compiled a catalogue of his father’s paintings – a project that was finally published in two volumes in 1939 and which is still considered to be the definitive reference book on Camille’s work. Rodo told Lucien that the compilation of this catalogue was a fascinating task, revealing as it did “the work of the artist, its highs and lows, its progress as a whole through acquired experience”.
Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro, a painter and print maker was born in Paris on November 21, 1878 and died in 1952. He was the son of the famous French impressionist, Camille Pissarro. He exhibited regularly at the Salon of Independence, at galleries in Paris and in London and many museums of modern art.
AAAA Bal Bullier (Skater)
Bal Bullier was the site of two annual balls held to raise money for needy artists; the first sponsored by the AAAA (Aide Amicale aux Artistes) and the other by the Union of Russian Artists. The Russian group, headed by Iliazd, Mikhail Larionov, and Natalie Gontcharova, designed posters, thought up themes like Bal Transmental, and Bal Banal, and produced and sold elaborate programs with poetry and artwork.
Each year of the costume ball, an important artist was selected to do an original color lithograph poster to promote the AAAA Ball. For the 1929 fund raising ball, Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro was the selected artist. It is interesting to note the initials of the organization were carved in the ice by the ice skater.
The historical significance of this costume ball is noted in a fascinating book titled Kiki's Paris - Artists and Lovers 1900-1930 by Billy Kluver and Julie Martin, copyright 1989, published by Harry Abrams. The book is currently available at the David Barnett Gallery
Chaumière a Berneval, 1920
After Rodo returned to France, he split his time between Paris and the countryside of Normandy. It was in 1920 while in the Normandy town of Berneval that Rodo painted "Chaumière a Berneval", a landscape view of the "chaumiere's" or thatched-roofed cottages beside the river. This painting is an exquisite example of his masterful use of color and brushwork to suggest the clouds and shimmering reflection of light on the water. The influence of impressionists like father Camille Pissarro and Claude Monet is evident in the use of layered color to capture the ephemeral effects of light falling on the cottages, trees and water. The bold strokes of color in the water, on the riverbank and the blue streaks across the sky also reveal the influence of Fauvist friend Maurice de Vlaminck.
"Chaumiere a Berneval" has been acquired by the David Barnett Gallery from the Pissarro family.