Claude Monet spent the first half of 1888 in Antibes on the French Riviera, where he continued to experiment with painting scenes under varying conditions of light. In this work, painted from the Cap d’Antibes, the artist has adroitly conveyed the evening glow of the Mediterranean Sea. The raking late-day light is fashioned from bright pastel strokes of pigment on the underside of the trees and the ground below, while the rich palette of the cool green treetops provides a striking contrast to the other high-keyed colors. The staccato rhythm of the brushstrokes in the trees creates an overall decorative pattern, invigorating the scene with a vitality that keeps the viewer’s eye moving across the surface of the image.
Monet’s work in Antibes would eventually lead to his famous series paintings, such as the “Haystacks” and the “Poplars,” both from the 1890s. However, unlike these later, more abstract compositions, there is a naturalistic sensibility in this painting, which emerges from the artist’s attention to detail with his use of intense color sensations.
John Zarobell, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary (2002), p. 77.
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