By Fr. Crastre, Frederic Taber Cooper
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Her expressive and intellectual features are treated with a vigour which does full justice to the classic beauty and virile energy of the sitter. "The work as a whole," wrote the critic of the Revue des Beaux-Arts, "possesses supreme distinction and an admirable delicacy of colouring. The silvery tones of the whites, the warm grays of the draped gown lead up to the freshness of the delicate, rose-like flesh tints, beneath the crown of close curled locks that seem at once massive and weightless.
HAYEM (Museum of the Luxembourg) A marvel of discernment and of rendering. The face, to be sure, has a strong originality; but there is no slight merit in having expressed with such striking truth the piercing intelligence of the eyes that twinkle behind the lenses of the spectacles, and the energy, tempered with satiric humour, of his whole odd physiognomy. Nevertheless, Bastien-Lepage was no studio painter; it was not from the height of a window that he chose to contemplate nature, but in the open fields, in the very heart of the furrows; and it was there also, in the midst of the wheat and the rye, that he set up his easel and painted his peasants in action, in the daily fulfilment of their thankless task.
It is scarcely necessary to add that this work is a transcript of the soil of Lorraine, that good natal soil which he loved so profoundly and to which he returned eagerly, year after year. Bastien-Lepage was exclusively the painter of the rural aspects of Lorraine; he loved its horizons, its fertile and undulating plains. And when, occasionally, he ventured into allegory, the background was still Lorraine, and the characters were developed in the familiar setting of his native village, Damvillers.
Bastien Lepage by Fr. Crastre, Frederic Taber Cooper