This volume is on the whole acceptable as an introduction to Pissarro. Christopher Lloyd is one of the most eminent Pissarro scholars, and his big book on the painter in the Skira/Rizzoli series is one of the most authoritative we have (see my review on this website). That was a comprehensive historical analysis of Pissarro's development as an artist. This volume presents an introductory discussion of about 20 pages, with 17 illustrations, followed by an album of paintings, and I must say that the introduction is an excellently condensed version of the treatment in the larger book, including even the most succinct (two-paragraph) explanation of Pissarro's difficult relationship to anarchist politics that I have seen. There are forty-eight full-color plates and eighteen comparison illustrations, mostly black-and-white, presenting other paintings by Pissarro and by those of his coevals from Boudin to Seurat. No doubt Lloyd himself has chosen the paintings to be reproduced, as his text refers to the plates in order. Some of the black-and-white comparison illustrations here were full-color plates in the big Skira book and vise-versa, which was apparently a function of the need to shorten the text yet maintain a comprehensive survey of the evolution of Pissarro's painting. That has been done, and it should be clear that it is painting that we are talking about here: although Pissarro produced an immense amount of graphic work, its only appearance in this book is in one charcoal and pastel drawing presented as a study for one of the oils. The reproductions are very good and seem to be mostly quite true to color. Each plate has a commentary--and possibly also a comparison illustration--on the facing page, but therein lies the problem. Whereas Lloyd himself wrote all the commentaries on the pictures in the Skira volume, for this book Phaidon has had them all written in-house by one of their editorial staff, Amanda Renshaw. Ms. Renshaw is now Editorial Director and Deputy Publisher of Phaidon Press and the principal creator of "The Art Museum," Phaidon's imaginary museum, which claims to be the largest data-base of world art history ever assembled and which was launched in late summer 2011. I cannot assess any of that, but I do know that the notes she has provided here do not do justice to the paintings and are distinctly inferior to the level of Lloyd's discussion. One example is Pissarro's famous 1874 portrait of Cezanne, in which the sitter is flanked by images on the wall behind him. The note duly states that one image is "a contemporary political caricature of Adolphe Thiers . . . ," leaving it at that, and does not even mention one of the others, which is that of Gustave Courbet, who was at that very moment being hounded out of France because of his activities during the Paris Commune. All commentators on Pissarro's paintings consider this one of his most overtly political statements, but Ms. Renshaw is either unaware of this or doesn't think it worthy of mention-- either of the possibilities exposes the inadequacy of her comment. Another example is the wonderful "Two Female Peasants Chatting" from 1892, in which the young women are resting momentarily from their labor and are deeply pensive about something. After a brief comment on the composition, the note points out that Pissarro "has also studied the contrasts between the two figures." What are the contrasts? "One stands while the other is seated, and one has her head covered while the head of the other is bare." (94) That is perfectly true and lacks nothing in terms of banality. The notes to some of the other paintings are not so superficial, but that is mostly when they are able to take their cue from Christopher Lloyd's comments in his text. All of which is a great pity, because it forces a difficult decision on us: If one wants a good and serviceable introduction to Pissarro's paintings with a few dozen pretty good reproductions and an intelligent text written by a noted authority in about 125 pages--should one choose this one or John Rewald's very comparable book in the Abrams series (see my review on this website; I am referring here to the second, "concise" edition of Rewald's study)? It's probably a toss-up: Rewald has 126 pages, Lloyd 128. Rewald has 40 color plates and 47 b&w illustrations, Lloyd has 48 color plates but only 37 b&w illustrations. Rewald's introductory essay is a good bit longer than Lloyds, but the reproductions are not only fewer but also not as good. Rewald is in general not as painterly analytical as Lloyd, but at least he has written his own specific commentaries and not left them to an in-house editor. Now, if one had both these books they would complement one another very well; not many of the plates or the other illustrations repeat. Better yet would be to have one or another of the original, larger versions, and best of all to have both of them--but that's a different decision.