atomictv David Bickerstaff
Artist, filmmaker and creative director of digital media for narrative environments

Artist works

Other projects

Father of Impressionism

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Kunstmuseum Basel

Cinema release from
24th May 2022

>> Play the TRAILER

Filmed and directed by David Bickerstaff
Produced by Phil Grabsky

HD video | 16:9 | 90 min

This film is centred around two exhibitions of Camille Pissarro’s work - one at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and the other at the Kunstmuseum Basel. The Ashmolean Museum generously opened their doors to us for this film. It is England’s first and oldest public museum of art and archaeology, and its collection spans from millennia B.C. to almost yesterday, predominantly European and Asian. They have some specific and famous treasures such as the Alfred Jewel, the Messiah violin (the best-preserved Stradivarius violin anywhere in the world, the lantern Guy Fawkes was actually holding when arrested under the houses of parliament and a great 19th-century collection of both British Pre-Raphaelites and Impressionists which is centred on the figure of Camille Pissarro and the Pissarro family archive.
The Pissarro family archive includes letters, drawings, etchings and some paintings. We had exclusive access to this archive which gave us an invaluable insight into the personality of Pissarro as a devoted family man, a kind, generous, but stubborn man, inclusive, well-read, socially and politically aware. He was an anarchist and didn’t believe in any form of hierarchy. The film is peppered with readings by actors. Extracts from Pissarro's letters to his family, associates and artist friends. Responses from his wife who, despite having to live hand to mouth most of the time while looking after their 8 children, stood by him until he died in 1903. We hear from critics who both vilified and supported the Impressionist movement of which Pissarro’s had a pivotal role. He brought the group together for first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, which eventually evolved into the most recognised artistic moments of modern times. Pissarro was the only artist to show in all 8 Impressionist exhibitions. He was the eldest of the artists and was known by his peers as the Father to us all. 

Music by Asa Bennett
Written by David Bickerstaff and Phil Grabsky

Pierre Maubouché - Camille Pissarro
Caroline Crier - Julie Pissarro
Stephane Cornicard - Writers and Critics&

Hugh Hood, David Bickerstaff

Paris - second unit
Daniel Meyers - Cinematographer
Federico Troisi - Camera Assistant

Basel - second unit
Luka Dogan - Cinematographer

Storm postproduction

Contributions by
Claire Durand-Ruel - Camille Pissarro Expert
Colin Harrison - Senior Curator of European Art, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Josef Helfenstein - Director, Kunstmuseum Basel
Jelle Imkampe - Research Assistant , Kunstmuseum Basel
Olga Osadtschy - Assistant Curator, Kunstmuseum Basel
Alexander Sturgis - Director, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Agnes Valencak - Head of Exhibitions, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

  Atomictv © David Bickerstaff