Joachim Pissarro has written the following about Pissarro's depictions of rural life: "Pissarro's figures [....] do not purport to convey an exact account of what female and male peasants actually looked like in northern France during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. While they are not allegories, neither are they sociological documents. From this difficulty, which is both essential and highly characteristic of Pissarro's figure paintings - i.e., the fact that they are resistant to conveying any message and to being "read" as sociological or anthropological witnesses of the raw facts – the manifold interpretations of Camille Pissarro's work have arisen" (J. Pissarro, op. cit., 1993, p. 157).
Pissarro's dealer Durand-Ruel acquired this work from the artist shortly after its completion and sold it in 1888 to the East Coast textile magnate Catholina Lambert (1923-1834). Lambert built a palatial estate, known as Bella Vista or Lambert Castle, for his vast art collection in Patterson, New Jersey. Lambert lost much of his fortune during the construction of his castle, and was ultimately compelled to sell his collection at auction to pay off his debts.
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