Portrait of Madame H. M. Barzun
Camille Pisarro often depicted peasant women at ease, perhaps representing his utopian view that peasant life held the basis for a harmonious, rational, and humane society. This reflects a broader cultural nostalgia for the past, as the Industrial Revolution was rapidly changing the lives of individuals, both positively and negatively. New technologies machinized labor, increasing efficiency, reducing average costs, and enabling more goods to be produced at affordable prices. However, as a result of these technologies, many people became unemployed, so they migrated from rural agricultural villages to cities to seek jobs in factories where they worked long hours in dangerous conditions for very little money. Pisarro’s Haymakers Resting is an idyllic image of peasant women relaxing in the shadow of a mound of hay with a sunlit field stretching behind them. It represents the fantasy that industrialization was making life easier as well as a longing for “simpler times.”
This resource is made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.