By 1891 Arkhipov was an active member of the Wanderers, a group of Russian representational artists who painted themes dealing with the inequities and injustices of life under Tsarist rule. During this time he painted plein air landscapes along the Volga River using muted colors to create a moody effect. In 1899 Arkhipov created one of his most famous paintings, The Laundresses (also titled The Washer-Women). The painting captures the spirit of oppression that was felt by most of the factory workers during this time. The colors are muted, as the scene epitomizes the hopelessness of these women's existence. Around 1910 Arkhipov started painting a series of portraits of peasant women from his hometown region. In these paintings the figures are dressed in bright national costumes and painted with broad decisive strokes. From here forward the theme of peasant life would dominate his work for the rest of his life. During the last ten years of his life Arkhipov's peasant paintings conveyed happy Russian people.