Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
Haymaking (also known as The Haystacks), 1889
Oil on canvas
36 x 29 in. (92 x 73.3 cm)
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Courtauld Gift, 1932

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Haymaking, also known as The Haystacks, was painted in Brittany in 1889, two years before the artist’s famous journey to Tahiti. Gauguin represents several peasant women in traditional regional white bonnets, working among the haystacks, as a herdsman slowly leads two oxen away from the scene. Elements are evoked rather than precisely described. Picturing peasants in this abstracted manner, Gauguin sought to tap into a power and authenticity he felt was lacking from both Academic art and Impressionism with an intensely simplified painting, dominated by stylized, flattened shapes and a yellow mass of hay forming the high horizon.
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