Camille Pissarro: Apple Harvest – 1888
Dallas Museum of Art, USA
On a sunny autumn day four labourers are engaged in bringing in the apple harvest – their attention focused on a lone tree set on a hill. As the man uses a long grappling pole to shake the branches, three women retrieve the fallen apples – all are enveloped in the welcome shade cast by the tree.
In 1884 Pissarro moved to Eragny-sur-Epte in Normandy and much of his output at this time celebrates the Norman countryside and the rhythm of the seasons. However, Eragny was within easy reach of Paris by train and it was there a year later that Pissarro met Seurat and Signac. So the move to Eragny coincided with a radical change in his style as he enthusiastically took up the pointillist method.
One can see in this painting that Pissarro is using the precepts of neo-impressionist colour theory, together with the pointillist technique – to create a dazzling surface which perfectly recreates the heat of an early autumn afternoon.