About this artwork

Autumn sunlight pervades the scene of crop gathering in the market gardens. Pissarro's contemporary subject, his use of bright colours, his avoidance of dark hues and the broken yet fluid brushwork are all characteristic of Impressionist painting. The picture is dated 1874, the year of the first Impressionist exhibition. Pissarro and family returned to Pontoise, north west of Paris, in 1872. New rail links brought villages, like Pontoise, within commuting distance of the city but also threatened the traditional way of life as suburban flower gardens began to replace market gardens. This may have influenced Pissarro's choice of subject.

Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro

Pissarro was slightly older than his fellow Impressionists. His dedication to painting and printmaking and his valuable encouragement and advice inspired young artists, including Cézanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh. Pissarro, born in St.Thomas in the Virgin Islands, attended school in Paris, and settled there in 1855. His early landscapes reflected Corot and Courbet's influence. His association with Impressionism developed from a wish to paint modern life subjects as he saw them, capturing the changing effects of light. In the mid 1880s he experimented with the pointillism pioneered by Seurat and Signac. Pissarro alone contributed to all eight Impressionist exhibitions from 1874 until 1886.