La Couseuse (Woman Sewing) features three sketches of a seamstress absorbed in the task before her, whilst Bretonne (Breton Woman) shows a woman standing in profile. Amiet’s supple, sure draughtsmanship recalls both Paul Gauguin’s and Honoré Daumier’s – it is in Pont-Aven that the young Swiss artist discovers with admiration the great French caricaturist’s lithographies. Amiet’s line sets off areas of flat unworked colours and underscores the outlines of forms in a synthetist style that offers a simplified, reconstructed view of reality.
An indispensable practice in Amiet’s work, drawing constitutes the basis of all his compositions following his arrival in Brittany. In an 1892 letter to his father, the artist explains, “In the past, when I saw something that struck me, I would immediately sit down and begin painting; and when I had finished, I would be surprised not to find the impression that nature had inspired in me… From now on I shall work altogether differently. When I begin a picture, I ask myself first what joining of lines, what juxtaposition of tones inspired this or that impression in me. All that is very difficult to determine”.