Haymaker (c.1880) by Camille Pissarro

Haymaker - Camille Pissarro - c.1880

Artwork Information

ArtistCamille Pissarro
Dimensions21 x 12.5 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Haymaker

The artwork titled “Haymaker” is a creation of Camille Pissarro, executed around 1880. This piece is a genre painting, crafted using charcoal on paper, that measures 21 by 12.5 centimeters. As an exemplar of the Impressionist movement, it is held in a private collection. Despite its small dimensions, this artwork is a significant example of Pissarro’s interest in rural labor and the lives of peasants.

The artwork depicts a solitary figure engaged in the laborious task of making hay. The female subject is most likely a peasant, captured in a moment of her daily toil. She is shown in profile, with her body slightly bowed by the effort of her work, wielding a tool that appears to be a rake or a similar agricultural implement. Her attire is simple and indicative of the period and her social status, with a long skirt and a blouse covered by what may be an apron, while a hat shades her face.

Pissarro’s use of charcoal allows for a nuanced range of tones, from soft grays to deep blacks, evoking the textures of the woman’s clothing and the hay she is gathering. The background suggests a rural landscape, possibly a field, rendered in loose, sketchy lines that complement the central figure without detracting from her. The impressionist influence is evident in the artist’s focus on the play of light and the atmosphere of the scene, although the medium of charcoal naturally limits the scope for Pissarro’s signature color palette.

“Haymaker” is a prime example of Pissarro’s dedication to portraying the life of the working class and his commitment to exploring the interplay of light, form, and movement that defined the Impressionist movement. The empathy and dignity Pissarro accords to his subject are characteristic of his empathetic approach to art, bridging social realism with the aesthetic innovations of his time.

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