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Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin was born in February 1841, in Paris. He was sent to school in Moulins, which was essential to his future, for it was when he began to devolve an interest in art. The main reason was because of the region’s mountainous landscape. It was also when he began his lifelong friendship with Eugene Murer, who would later become a distinguished Impressionist collector.
By 16 years old, Guillaumin was already back in Paris, working as a clerk at his uncle’s shop, while studying art under the sculptor Caillouet. Such studies would create friction between him and his family, causing him to look for another job, although still studying art, now at the Academie Suisse in 1861, where he came in contact with Courbet and made more lasting friendships with Oller, Pissarro, and Cezanne. Even at the beginning of his career, Guillaumin was already regarded as an accomplished draughtsman, using economic and dynamic movements to create his compositions. Guillaume exhibited at the first Salon des Refuses in 1863, participating in six of the eight exhibitions.
By the year 1880, The Impressionist group was beginning to fragment, with groups forming around Pissarro and Degas, which artists were drawn to either side. Gaugin, who was becoming a rather prominent voice in the artistic community, sided heavily towards Pissarro and made great efforts to include Guillaumin by his side. Manet and Renoir would join the Impressionist Exhibition of 1882, along with Guillaumin, Pissarro, Gauguin, among others; Degas’ absence was duly noted at the time. By 1885 Guillaumin, although being highly revered as an artist, began to outgrow the Impressionist movement he participated in since its birth. The group crumbled mainly because of Gauguin’s difficult temper and intolerance, which destroyed it from inside.
In 1886, Guillaumin would marry and settle in Paris. By the end of the decade, Guillaumin would become a mentor and close friend of Vincent van Gogh, who would also be a keen stimulus and influence to Guillaumin’s subsequent artworks. At the beginning of the 1890s, Guillaumin began experimenting with more striking colors, anticipating the Fauvism.