Haystacks, 1907

by Armand Guillaumin

Noted for their intense colours, Guillaumin’s paintings are represented in major museums around the world. He is best remembered for his landscapes of Paris, the Creuse département, and the area around Les Adrets-de-l’Estérel near the Mediterranean coast in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France. Guillaumin was called the leader of the École de Crozant, a diverse group of painters who came to depict the landscape in the region of the Creuse around the village of Crozant. One of these depictions, titled Landscape in Crozant, is housed in the Art Institute of Chicago. His bust is in the square near the village church.

Dimensions: (unframed) 21.3 x 28.5 ins/ 54.1 x 72.4 cm
Signature: Signed ‘Guillaumin’ (lower left); dated (verso)
Medium: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 6043 Categories: ,

This stunning work by Armand Guillaumin is the epitome of his later expressive works with its bold colour palette and short punchy brushstrokes, reminiscent of the Fauves. Guillaumin has been called the ‘lost’ Impressionist due to being relatively unknown despite being one of the original Impressionists who exhibited at the first Impressionist Exhibition in 1874. Here, one can see the interest in light and en plein-air painting but the brushstrokes are looser and more vigorous. The lyrical zest and vigorousness of his brushstrokes resemble his paintings to those of Van Gogh, his contemporary and friend, and influenced the young Matisse. Guillaumin, who was the son of a working-class family, was always interested in the spaces inhabited and used by the working class, like here, where the haystacks hint at industry in the idealistic landscape.  He shows it as a place of ambiguity, where conventional distinctions between urban and rural, city and country are no longer clear.

Galerie Druet, Paris;

Private Collection, France;

Private Collection, United States;

Private Collection, United Kingdom

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Jean-Baptiste-Armand Guillaumin was born in Paris on 16 February 1841. Soon after his birth, his family moved to Moulins, where Armand received his first schooling. In accordance with his father’s wishes, he was sent to Paris to study business and placed under the care of his aunt and uncle. With the family’s approval, he also attended drawing courses during this period. He worked for the Orléans Company, while continuing to paint and attending classes at the Académie Suisse where he met Cézanne and Pissarro. In 1868, he was still able to combine his work as a government official in the Ministry of Public Affairs with his painting. He took part in the first Impressionist Exhibition in 1874, showing three landscapes, among them Sunset in Ivry. The paintings he showed at subsequent Impressionist Exhibitions between 1877 and 1886 reveal his close links to the Impressionists.

Guillaumin discovered the town of La Creuse in 1887 and decided to settle there. In 1891, he won 100, 000 French francs in the lottery, a windfall that enabled him to devote himself exclusively to painting. From this point on, he made numerous visits to Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, Agay, Brittany, and the Auvergne. In 1904 he travelled to the Netherlands which inspired a number of paintings.

Although Armand Guillaumin was regarded as a secondary artist within the Impressionist movement, his paintings are composed in strong, vivid colours, and his images of factory buildings, railway stations, and similar locations are imbued with a convincing atmosphere. His painting lost some of its intensity during his years in La Creuse, with greens and purples becoming more dominant in his palette. Guillaumin died in Paris on 26 June 1927.

 

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Georges Serret & Dominique Fabiani, Armand Guillaumin, Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint, Paris, 1971, no. 576, illustrated n.p.

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