Interpretive Resource

Artist Biography: Jean Baptiste Armand Guillaumin

A concise biography about Guillaumin's life and work.

National Gallery of Art. Micro Gallery—National Gallery of Art. Online Content. Washington, D.C., 2004.

Jean-Baptiste-Armand Guillaumin
French, 1841-1927
Guillaumin's art mirrored his work as a civil servant in the department of highways: bridges, quays, and landscapes along the Seine in Paris and its suburbs were typically his subjects.

He held this full-time job during the 1870s and 1880s, prompting Camille Pissarro to write, "Guillaumin...works at painting during the day and in the evening he digs his ditches; what courage!" In 1891, Guillaumin won a substantial lottery prize that enabled him to devote himself to his art.

The painter knew both Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne from his student days in Paris. In 1863 he showed at the Salon des Refusés with his compatriots, having been rejected by the conservative Salon jury. The first impressionist group show, held in the spring of 1874, included three of his paintings. Guillaumin went on to show work in six of the eight impressionist shows, and he advised several post-impressionist painters, including Vincent van Gogh, Paul Signac, and Georges Seurat.

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Education

High School

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