In April 1884, Pissarro moved from Pontoise to Eragny, renting a large house on the river Epte. Living near the thriving farmer's market of Gisors, Pissarro began to focus again on the human figure and in doing so, he created far more intricate compositions than had been customary for him.
More than any other Impressionist, and probably more than any artist since Courbet and Millet, Pissarro understood the hard life of the peasantry, and he celebrated its virtues without romanticizing their toil. Indeed, Pissarro envisioned his vocation as an artist as being analogous to the unrelenting routine of the peasant; there was the need to apply oneself through determination and discipline, to understand the rhythms of nature and to undertake each task in its proper time. Pissarro's 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.
Paysannes causant, soleil couchant, Eragny is a vibrant and assured example of the artist's interest in the human figure and his use of the motifs to explore light and color. Christopher Lloyd has commented that:
Like Monet at Giverny, Pissarro's examination of the rural spectacles that surrounded him was intense. He luxuriated in the changing temporal conditions and found the fogs, frosts and snow of winter or the vibrant warmth and lush verdure of summer equally rewarding. Pissarro also began to paint in series, restlessly altering his position or line of vision, but relying basically for his visual variety on the changing seasons or the divisions of the day (quoted in J. Pissarro, Camille Pissarro, New York, 1993, p. 112).