Painted Art: Famous Artists from the 1800s

Painted Art: Famous Artists from the 1800s


The period of the 1800s produced some of the greatest painted works in history by famous artists that we still revere today. Regardless of whether one is an art aficionado or not, most of us can appreciate the beauty, boldness, or sheer emotionalism captured within a fine painting. In the 1800s, there were plenty of budding artists, some of whom didn’t have the benefit of receiving praise or fame for their work until they had died. Some of these artists’ works continue to stand out as original, unmatched pieces with a vision unique to their crafters. The following sections touch on four famous artists from the 1800s: Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Vincent van Gogh.

Camille Pissarro


Camille Pissarro was born in 1830 in the Danish West Indies on the island of St. Thomas. This is now part of the US Virgin Islands. Pissarro’s style fell within both the impressionism and post-impressionism categories. He is often regarded as one of the main “inventors” of the impressionism movement and had even formed a society with other well-known painters who also fancied the impressionism style. He went to school with artists Paul Cezanne and Claude Monet and forged quick friendships with the men. They bonded over their preference of painting everyday people in common, airy settings with a lack of grandeur in their work. Pissarro, Monet, and Cezanne disliked the standards set by their primary art exhibition hall, The Paris Salon, and in fact had most of their “open air” works rejected by the Salon.


Over the years, Pissarro tried a few different techniques and styles, including neo-impressionism, but ended up falling back into his natural tried-and-true methods. Pissarro eventually married and had seven children. He continued painting throughout his life, even when a chronic eye infection made it difficult for Pissarro to go outside in cool or moist weather.  Pissarro died on November 13, 1903 in Paris and was buried in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.


Claude Monet


Claude Monet was born in 1840 in Paris, France. Like Camille Pissarro, Monet also preferred to paint landscapes and people in a manner that was unassuming and natural. Most of his early paintings were created in a style closer to what was popular at the time, however his later paintings, such as Bridge Over a Pond of Water, Poplars on the Epte, and Water Lilies, display a heavy impressionism influence. In fact, many art historians claim Monet to be “father of impressionism,” although he was one of many famous artists to shape this style. Monet was part of the small group of impressionist artists who joined Pissarro in the opinion that paintings could portray a natural and striking beauty without complete grandeur and conformation to standard colors and techniques.


Monet married Camille Doncieux, the model in his The Woman in the Green Dress and Woman in a Garden paintings, in 1870. Together they had two sons, the second being born just two years after Camille had come down with tuberculosis. The second pregnancy was a blow to her already-bad health and she died in 1879. Monet painted his wife on her deathbed which was titled Camille Monet on her Deathbed. Monet became remarried to Alice Hoschede and they eventually moved to Normandy. There, Monet planted a garden and continued to paint for the remainder of his life.


Edgar Degas


Edgar Degas, yet another friend of fellow French impressionists Pissarro and Monet, was born in Paris, France in 1834. He had developed a love for painting early in life and had a few of his earlier paintings exhibited at The Paris Salon. Degas spent some time in New Orleans here he stayed with his uncle. During his time there he created a painting titled A Cotton Office in New Orleans. Although the painting was probably not his best or most revered work, it was ironically the only painting of Degas’s that was bought by a museum during his life. As his own paintings sold Degas found the means to purchase paintings by some of his favorite artists, including Pissarro, Daumier, Manet, Van Gogh Delacroix, Ingres, and Cezanne.


Degas had poor vision which only became worse as he got older. As anti-Semitism became more pronounced in local media, Degas soon realized his own anti-Semitic feelings and ended all of his friendships with Jewish individuals. Degas never married nor had children and failed to produce paintings after 1912. He eventually lost most of his vision and spent his days wandering the streets until his death on September 27, 1917.


Vincent van Gogh


Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous artists known not only for his works, but also for the anguish that plagued his life. Van Gogh was born in the Netherlands in 1853. His work was primarily post-impressionist in nature. Van Gogh’s technique is most noted for his characteristic use of bold and unblended brushstrokes and for the use of bright, attention-grabbing colors. Much of van Gogh’s work involved portraits and still-lives. Van Gogh’s most notable paintings were created toward the end of his life, such as The Starry Night, The Sower, Wheatfield Under Clouded Sky, Starry Night Over the Rhone, and several self-portraits. Due to the hundreds of letters passed between Vincent van Gogh and his brother, Theo van Gogh, historians have been able to gain a very deep insight into the personal sufferings and unhappiness that van Gogh suffered during his life. Vincent experienced months of severe depression and unhappiness, followed by months of complete inspiration and brilliance. Speculation suggests that van Gogh suffered from a mental health disorder called “bi-polar disorder,” in which the sufferer experiences unexplained and unwarranted periods of depression followed by periods of extreme happiness and delight.


Van Gogh was a heavy drinker and smoker and suffered from chronic illness as a result of these practices. In what was probably a “down period” brought on by his mental condition, van Gogh used a razor blade to remove parts of his ear. When he returned from the hospital in January of 1889, he began suffering from hallucinations and became extremely paranoid, believing that he was being poisoned. The next year he presumably shot himself in the chest. Although he managed to stumble back to a nearby inn, he died a few days later of infection.