Paul-Emile Pissarro was born in 1884, the fifth and youngest son of Camille Pissarro. Brought up in an artistic household, inevitably he began drawing at an early age. A white horse drawn when he was just five years old received much praise from the writer Octave Mirbeau. Camille was so impressed that he kept it as part of his private collection. Paul-Emile was very influenced by Cézanne. He remembered his father telling him and his brothers repeatedly that "If you want to paint, look at Cézanne", and he knew Cézanne's work at first hand from the landscapes and still-life paintings that hung in the family dining-room at Eragny. They also met several times in Paris.
It was during the late 1920's and early 1930's that Paulémile reached the peak of his artistic development, arriving at the individual style for which he is best known. During this period he abandoned the pure colours and divided brush stroked of Impressionism for a palette of mixed tones, broader gestures and, eventually, the palette knife.