A letter from the Wildenstein Institute dated Paris, 25 October 1999 accompanies this gouache, which will be included in the Pissarro catalogue raisonné.
Whether depicted singly, in pairs or in larger groups, Pissarro's peasants engage in a communal and cooperative effort as they harvest the fruits of their labor. "These reaping scenes underscore two themes which find resounding evocation in the last two decades of Pissarro's work: plentitude and abundance and a certain satisfaction, both themes being intimately connected semantically with Pissarro's personal work ethic" (J. Pissarro, Camille Pissarro, New York, 1993, p. 183).
More than any of the other Impressionists, and probably more than any artist since Courbet and Millet, Pissarro understood the hard life of the peasant, and he celebrated its virtues without romanticizing their toil. Indeed, Pissarro envisioned his vocation as an artist as analogous to the unrelenting routine of the peasant. His approach to creativity was not that of the isolated and brooding genius; instead, he saw himself as a member of a community of like-minded individuals working towards a common goal. He assumed the role of teacher for younger artists as well as for his own sons. For a man of this positive outlook and exemplary work ethic, the harvest was a cogent symbol of his own life's work.