The Harvest, 1882 by Camille Pissarro

The Harvest, 1882 by Camille Pissarro
Courtesy of www.diego-velazquez.org

Pissarro was the most political of the Impressionist group, who called themselves the Independents. He helped organize them informally along the lines of an artisans union. He was the only one to take part in all eight shows they staged in defiance of the juried annual official Salon exhibitions in Paris.

The Harvest was one of the thirty-six works that Pissarro chose to exhibit at the Seventh Impressionist Exhibition in which all the mainstream Impressionists were represented, with the exception of Edgar Degas. By carefully positioning his figures on and around the receding lines of piles of hay, Pissarro has created a peaceful and rhythmical composition. Eight figures, four men and four women, are preparing the harvest. The concentration of figures on the lefthand side causes an imbalance in the composition, thus making our eye fix immediately on the standing woman wearing a red headscarf. The bushel of hay that she is holding is placed at an angle, leading from the corner of the picture and pointing towards the wide, open landscape on the righthand side.