Armand Guillaumin, a master of French Impressionism, was a leading figure in the École de Crozant and painted some of Crozant's landscapes. He died in 1927 in Orly, south of Paris. Armand Guillaumin mainly painted landscapes, and from 1874 onwards, He participated in Impressionist exhibitions and was a companion of Monet, Pissarro, and Cézanne (Cézanne copied one of his landscapes). While never reaching the fame of the other most famous painters of his time, his pioneering spirit and dedication to Impressionist technique made him one of the few artists that critics consider to be the epitome of true classic Impressionism, including Monet, Pissarro, and Morisot.
Armand Guillaumin was born in Paris to a working-class family, where he spent his childhood working menial jobs to support his career because of the family's financial difficulties. He began working in his uncle's lingerie shop at 15 and studied hard at night for painting lessons. In 1860 he became a railway employee in Orleans, Paris, and continued to paint in his spare time. In 1861, he studied at the Académie Suisse, where he met Paul Cézanne and Pissarro and maintained a lifelong friendship. In 1863, Guillaumin's work was exhibited at the Salon des Refusés, which exhibited works that the Paris Salon had rejected. Over the next two years, they were joined by Renoir and Monet, who subsequently participated in six Impressionist exhibitions in 1874, 1877, 1880, 1881, 1882, and 1886. In 1870, Guillaumin made a living as a painter, moving to a small village, Pontoise, where he could find night work. It allowed him to paint during the day using the natural light known to the Impressionists. Cézanne eventually joined the other artists in the village, and he and Guillaumin lived together briefly. During this time, they participated in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. In 1886, Guillaumin married and settled in Saint-Sulpice, Paris. The same year, he met Van Gogh's brother Theo, who helped him sell some of his paintings. Perhaps influenced by Van Gogh's bold style, Guillaumin's use of color shifted over the next decade, as he began to use brighter, more expressive tones to define his work, almost in anticipation of the Fauvism movement. After winning 100,000 francs playing the lottery in 1891, he resigned from the government to become a full-time painter. He traveled and painted throughout France and Europe, along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, especially in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer and Agay. In 1904, he also visited the Netherlands for two months.
Armand Guillaumin is known for his use of strong colors, and his works are displayed in museums around the world. Only a few painters were so direct and perceptive at the end of the nineteenth century. He always maintained his personality when painting, unaffected by other Impressionists. His painting style was brutal, unrestrained, bold, and bright, which was not favored at the time, but now Armand Guillaumin's work is noteworthy. His paintings' tones are warm and muted, and the sky is always tinged with roses and pinkish greens.
Guillaumin loved landscapes. He elaborated on his paintings and discussed them with Pissarro, and under his influence, Pissarro began to develop his own style. At the same time, Guillaumin adhered to his own painting style, with intense colors, strong contrasts of light and shadow, and transitions without hesitation, revealing the master's true and deep love for nature. His paintings of factory buildings, railway stations, and similar locations are filled with a convincing atmosphere. In the mid-to-late 1870s, Guillaumin's handling of the brush became lighter and more sophisticated, and his palette became brighter, moving away from the styles of Manet and Courbet. Both Cezanne and Guillaume wanted something solid from Impressionism to create an underlying natural sense of form. During his years at La Cruz, his paintings lost some intensity, and greens and purples became increasingly dominant in his palette.
Armand Guillaumin's masterpiece, Sunset at Ivry, depicts an autumnal landscape with absurd lines and brushstrokes blended with the transitional harmonious red and yellow tones, which could surge the viewer's heart and evoke a certain passion, pleasure, and visual enjoyment. In this painting, snow always contains a bit of earthy yellow, and the rows of winter trees have a purple-red tone, contrasting with the real snowfield. Nature in his works always contains vitality and warmth. His representative work, Hollow in the Snow, adds warm tones to the picture through the clothes of vegetation and characters. Guillaumin's later works are close to Fauvism, with more intense, simple colors, tending to be flat and decorative in style. His other masterpieces include Landscape, Saint Palais, Agay - Les Roches Rouges, La Seine, View of the Seine, Paris, Le Trayas, and Echo Rock.
Guillaumin traveled throughout France and Europe, often painting many mountain and coastal scenes in the early morning or sunset. As a result, his continued fascination with strong, vibrant colors and light effects grew. Most of Guillaumin's work at that time foreshadows the later works of the Fauves. In the late 1890s, Guillaumin's colors became more subtle, and his paintings more unified. World War I provided the only interruption to his travels, which he resumed at age 77, visiting his favorite regions of Agay and Crozante. During the 1920s, Guillaumin's painting creations declined, but he was not forgotten, and he held a retrospective exhibition at the Salon d'Automne in 1926. Guillaumin died in 1927 at the age of 86 in Orly, Val-de-Marne, making him the last remaining survivor of the Impressionist group.