René Auguste Seyssaud (1867-1952) was a French painter. He graduated from the École des Beaux–Arts in Marseille and then studied with Pierre Grivolas in Avignon. From 1892 he exhibited his works in Paris galleries. He spent both his childhood and part of his adult life living in the countryside, which became his inspiration. He painted scenes of rural life, landscapes, still lifes and figural and nautical compositions. Through his strongly brightened, bold palette, he is recognized as a precursor of fauvism*.
Description of the painting:
The painting “Harvesters in Lavande“ depicts a scene of field work in a Provencal landscape. The work is divided according to the diagonal running from the right edge of the picture plane to the left upper corner. It is formed by a hill line, against the background of which four figures are shown at work. Bent, they collect sheaves of grain from the field. They are dressed in white shirts and have straw hats protecting them. The background for them is a hill in shades of dark green and brown. The positioning of the farmers repeats its shape, they move up in the direction of the left edge of the painting. The left part of the foreground is covered with the unshorn grain. The right shows the earth burned by the hot Provencal sun. The right upper corner of the picture plane is occupied by a sea merging almost with the sky shown in intense blues.
The artist, creating “Harvesters in Lavande“, focuses on the color aspect. He uses contrasting combinations – the earth in shades of ocher with the over–illuminated, almost golden grain, which penetrate the grey–blue spots of shadow. The white shirts of the characters contrast with the dark green of the hill. The view is also diversified by the way of applying paint. The artist marks the grain with thick, vertical brushstrokes. The opposite is the smooth surface of the hill in the background, or almost uniform mirror of the water. The aerial perspective is used in the work, the artist placed the bright sheaves of grain in the foreground, the farthest element of the landscape – the sea, is shown in azure–blue shades. The picture is a captured frame of everyday work in the field.
Tekst: Katarzyna Bartosiak
Galeria Rogalińska Edwarda Raczyńskiego, oprac. M.Gołąb, A.Ławniczakowa, M.P.Michałowski, [katalog wystawy w Muzeum Narodowym w Poznaniu, listopad 1997-marzec 1998], Poznań 1997, poz. kat.365.