heaves of Hay on the Field
  • Léon-Augustin Lhermitte
  • Mont-Saint-Père/Aisne 1844 - 1925 Paris
  • heaves of Hay on the Field, ca. 1890
  • Pastels on paper, mounted on board
  • signed with black chalk on the lower left: L. Lhermitte
  • 250 × 335 mm

Lhermitte grew up in modest circumstances in the countryside northeast of Paris. His family nevertheless made it possible for him to begin studies, in 1863, at the Ècole impériale de dessin in the capitol. There, his talent was quickly realised and acknowledged with accolades at the Salons.

After 1885, Léon Lhermitte worked exclusively on paper with pastel-coloured chalks, for with this medium he was best able to convey the rough character of his preferred motives from rustic country life. In 1886, the Parisian Galerie Georges Petit recognized his position as the most celebrated artist of the Société des pastellistes français with an exhibition. Along with Jean-François Millet (1814-1875), Lhermitte was the poster child, as it were, of the new artists’ group called the Pastellistes.

Agricultural motives, particularly of the grain harvest, fascinated Harpignies throughout his life. Thus, while he typically spent winters in Paris, he returned to nature during the summer at the very latest – most often to his hometown of Mont-Saint-Père, where he recorded and shared the lives of farmers in numerous pictures and pastels.