Ludovic-Rodolphe Pissarro was born in Paris on the 21st November 1878 and was Camille Pissarro’s fourth son. He soon became known as Rodo and usually signed his work Ludovic-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”.
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