The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by Mme Bazetoux.
Paul Vitry, Henri Lebasque, Paris, 1928, p. 208
Painted in Lagny, a town about twelve miles outside of Paris, the present work is a brilliantly executed composition of rural laborers. Completed circa 1899-1900, Moissonneurs aux environs de Lagny is monumental in scale and subject. The work is similar to the countrysides depicted by Van Gogh and Millet and is directly influenced by Pissarro’s work in Pointoise from the 1870s and 1880s.
Lebasque entered the Paris art world in 1885 and learned to incorporate strict elements of draughtsmanship into his scenes of domestic life. “According to his biographer, Paul Vitry, Lebasque took his first lesson from Camille Pissarro, the aging Impressionist master, who later praised Lebasque’s work at the Salon des Indépendants in 1903. Lebasque also extracted much from formal technique examination, as practiced by George Seurat” (Lisa A. Banner and Peter M. Fairbanks, Lebasque: 1865-1937 (exhibition catalogue) Montgomery Gallery, San Francisco, 1986, p. 12).
The present composition shows the influence of Pissarro and the Impressionists in its subject matter and luminous coloration. Lebasque presents us with an intimate, casual scene, whereby the figures are harmoniously integrated into their setting through the style of execution. Moreover, a sense of spontaneity and movement pervades the canvas with his use of fleeting brushstrokes.
However, the organization of color and arrangement of complementary colors shows Seurat’s Neo-Impressionist influence. Although the scene is one of labor, Lebasque skillfully renders a scene of peacefulness and beauty, elements that appear throughout the artist’s oeuvre.
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