Sep 4, 2007

Female Peasant Carrying a Basket and Hay

Female Peasant Carrying a Basket and Hay

c. 1870

Albumen print from wet collodion negative

Image: 17.2 x 11.1 cm (6 3/4 x 4 3/8 in.); Mounted: 20.7 x 15.8 cm (8 1/8 x 6 1/4 in.); Matted: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1999.27



Giraudon was an important Parisian publisher of primarily photographs of works of art. In 1900, his firm boasted that it maintained a stock of some 115,000 photographs. During the 1870s, early in the firm’s history, he commissioned an artist to create a unique series of Jean-François Millet-like peasant studies that were most likely photographed near Barbizon. Indeed, Giraudon’s artist, probably a French painter who wished to remain anonymous, was one of the few and early practitioners to specialize in rural figure studies for artists in the 19th century. This engaging photograph displays the impressive breadth of interest that ranges from single to multiple figures at work or leisure and charming images of domestic and farm animals. The artistry of these images relies on the skillful use of light, the ability to render directly a subject in the landscape, and a perceptive depiction of human dignity.

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