Claude Monet


Poplars, Three Trees in Autumn, 1891

About the Artwork

During much of 1891 Claude Monet worked on a series of paintings depicting the tall, thin poplar trees that lined the River Epte near his home at Giverny, France. Painting from a small boat, he worked on several pictures at once, exchanging one canvas for another as light and weather conditions changed during the day. When he learned that the poplars were in danger of destruction, he and a wood seller bought the trees, his partner agreeing to spare them until Monet had completed his work. Moving up and down the river, the artist chose certain groups of trees, capturing them and their shimmering reflections in the water under changing intensities of sunlight and shadow; this painting is one of several, full of the golden light of autumn, that focus on three poplars in the foreground and a great arc of trees curving away beyond. Monet's second great series exploring motifs in the French countryside--his "Grainstacks" had come a year before--some fifteen "Poplars," including this canvas, were first exhibited to rapturous acclaim at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in Paris in February 1892. Christopher Riopelle, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 209

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