Léon-Augustin Lhermitte "Old Harvester's Meal"

Old Pastel Master: Léon Augustin Lhermitte

Léon-Augustin Lhermitte "Old Harvester's Meal"
Léon-Augustin Lhermitte “Old Harvester’s Meal”

Léon Augustin Lhermitte (1844 – 1925) was a French realist painter and etcher whose primary subject matter was of rural scenes depicting the peasant worker. He was born in Mont-Saint-Père. A student of Lecoq de Boisbaudran, he gained recognition after his show in the Paris Salon in 1864.
Like his contemporary, Jean François Millet, Lhermitte took pastel to a higher degree of completion. While his earliest pastels were studies drawn from nature, his later pastels, including the one in this post, evolved into large-scale, finished compositions in their own right. Lhermitte was certainly one of the most accomplished masters of his generation.
Lhermitte’s innovative use of pastels won him the admiration of his contemporaries. Vincent van Gogh wrote that “If every month Le Monde Illustré published one of his compositions … it would be a great pleasure for me to be able to follow it. It is certain that for years I have not seen anything as beautiful as this scene by Lhermitte … I am too preoccupied by Lhermitte this evening to be able to talk of other things.”

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