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Like 'The Little Country Maid', this painting was executed while the artist lived near Pontoise, north-west of Paris. During the 1880s he became interested in painting rural market scenes, several of which were based on the markets at Pontoise and its neighbouring villages. Such subjects allowed Pissarro to combine the study of the human figure with depictions of outdoor scenes of everyday rural life. Although he wrote to his son Lucien that he wished the painting to have a 'certain naive freshness', hence the light and informal brushstrokes, the central figure of the 'charcutière' was painted from the model and the pose carefully studied.

September 2004