The French landscape painter and etcher Jean-Baptiste-Armand Guillaumin was born in Paris on February 16, 1841. He spent his youth in Moulins-sur-Allier. At the age of 17, he came to his uncle in Paris as a merchant apprentice. During his breaks and in the evenings, Guillaumin took drawing lessons from the sculptor Louis Denis Caillouette (1791 – 1868).
Beginning in 1860, he had a position at the head office of the French railroad company. Starting the following year, he attended the Académie Suisse. He kept contact with Paul Cézanne (1839 – 1906) and Camille Pissaro (1830 – 1903). With Pissaro, Guillaumin cultivated a life-long friendship. In 1868 he took a position in the Bureaux des Hôtes de Ville.
He surrendered enthusiastically and on his own to his artistic leanings, and for the most part he educated himself. Guillaumin painted the area of Montmartre, at that time still charmingly rural, and at the banks of the Seine at Meudon.
Besides these landscapes, he also created portraits and still lifes. As a member of the group of Impressionists, the painter had works in the first Impressionist exhibit in 1874 with Nadar (1820 – 1910) together with Camille Pissaro, Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) and Alfred Sisley (1839 – 99). Subsequently, he participated in most of the exhibitions by the Impressionists.
After the art seller Auguste Portier took him on board, buyers gradually began to appear. Winning the main prize in the national lottery in 1891 gave Guillaumin financial stability. The first marine paintings appeared, from the Atlantic Coast in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, in 1892. Later he went on repeated excursions to the Creuse department, to Normany and to the Netherlands. The artist displayed his work at numerous special exhibits, for example in 1894 at Durand-Ruel, in 1901 at Bernheim jeune, in 1907 in the Galerie Druet, and in 1911 in the Galerie Blot. He also exhibited in 1905 and 1906 in the Salon d’Automne. In Germany too, works by Guillaumin were displayed in 1895 at the Munich Sezession and in 1901 at the Berlin Sezession, for example.
Jean-Baptiste-Armand Guillaumin died, the last survivor of the group of Impressionists, on June 26, 1927, in Orly near Paris.