Armand Guillaumin was a French impressionist painter and lithographer. Born Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin in Paris, France, he worked at his uncle's lingerie shop while attending evening drawing lessons. In 1861 he studied at the Académie Suisse. This was the place where avant-garde artists met and tried new things. Here he met Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro with whom he maintained lifelong friendships.
Guillaumin exhibited in the first Salon des Refuses in 1863 together with Pissarro and Cézanne and in the following two years Renoir and Monet amongst others were added to their ranks. Even at this early stage in his career Guillaumin was considered an accomplished draughtsman using economic and dynamic strokes to execute remarkably mature compositions. He was quickly accepted into the circle of Zola and the directions in which Manet was taking art drove his interest.
In the mid to late 1870's Guillaumin's handling of the brush becomes lighter and more complex and his palette becomes more luminous in a move away from the style of Manet and Courbet. Both Cézanne and Guillaumin wished to create something solid out of impressionism, to create a sense of underlying form in nature. By 1880 the Impressionist group was beginning to fragment, particular camps forming around Degas and Pissarro with artists drawn to either side. Gauguin was becoming a particularly vocal member of the artistic society of that time and sided heavily with Pissarro, making every effort to include Guillaumin in his cause. Despite their initial misgivings, Renoir and Monet joined the Impressionist Exhibition of 1882 with Guillaumin, Gauguin and Pissarro (also included were Sisley, Morisot, Vignon and Caillebotte) but Degas was conspicuously absent.
By the time of the last Impressionist exhibition of 1886 Guillaumin was receiving some rapturous critical appraisal. Paul Adam wrote in La Revue Contemporaine that he "was not aware of any other painter who has so correctly noted the corresponding values of the lights of the firmament and of the ground. their unification in colour appears to be perfect."
In 1886-7 Guillaumin became a close friend of Vincent van Gogh who was to provide an interesting stimulus to Guillaumin's work. Vincent van Gogh greatly admired Guillaumin as an artist and a person and he regularly visited him in his studio in Paris. During this time Guillaumin produced some pictures extremely rich in colour of which Country Lane in Damiette is a great example of.
The dated works representing Damiette cover the years 1882 to 1888, but the artist had already discovered this village of the Île-de-France around 1880 during one of his "escapes" to the countryside in search for new subjects. Here he painted a series of oils, three of which were shown in the exhibition at the American Art Gallery in New York in April 1886; among them was the Damiette, 1886 belonging to the Personnaz collection, which entered the Musée du Louvre in 1937.
The artist found inspiration in many subjects in Damiette: the houses and streets , the road, the fields, the trees in bloom, the peasants hoeing the land, planting cabbages or looking after the cows under an apple tree, depicted at various moments of the day and in different seasons. The Country Lane leading to the village was depicted several times under different daylight. Just like it is depicted in this painting with a man walking down the Country Lane and enjoying the richly colored landscape around him.