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The Guillaumin family had left Paris in 1844 and gone to Moulins to live. In 1856 Guillaumin went back to Paris to learn drawing at the Ecole Municipale under the sculptor Caillouet, before becoming an employee of the Paris railway in 1860 and going to live at Montmartre. Not long after, he began attending the Academie Suisse where he met Francisco Oller, Pissarro and also Cezanne, who used to take him now and then to the meetings at the Café Guerbois. In 1863 Guillaumin exhibited along with Cezanne, Edouard Manet and Pissarro at the Salon des Refuses. In 1868 he finally gave up his work with the railways to concentrate on painting. He worked at Ivry, Charenton, Bercy and La Rapce (his painting Barges at Bercy dates from
1871). In 1872 he often used to go to Pontoise to see Pissarro. In 1874 he exhibited three works (among them Sunset at fury, painted about 1873) at the first Impressionist exhibition, and also showed at their exhibitions in 1877, 1880, 1881, 1882 and 1886. In 1877 Pissarro introduced him to Gauguin, and in 1882 he discovered Damiette, near Orsay, where he went to paint regularly for fifteen years. He met Signac in 1883 and then Seurat, and painted with them on the quays, but he did not meet Van Gogh until 1886. Up to 1892 he used to paint in the small villages in the Seine-et-Oise and Essonne districts or else in Paris. In 1891 he received a hundred thousand francs from an option debenture in a Building Society and so was able to travel. He went first to Saint-Palais in 1892, with subsequent visits in 1893 and 1909. Between 1893 and 1913 Guillaumin went to Crozant in the Creuse and to Agay in the South of France. He visited the Auvergne (1895, 1898, 1900), the Orne (1893, 1903), the Loing (1896), the Eure (1900), Rouen (1904) and also Holland (1904). In 1907 and again in 1913 he stayed at Le Trayas in the Var, but spent the following winters at Agay. After 1913 he went to Crozant more frequently, spending the winters in the south, and often going to Paris. His work is strongly Impressionist in style and composition, and the colours are very bright, though his winter scenes tend to be more subdued.