Before Monet and his Impressionist cohorts color depicted on the canvas was understood to be a quality which emanated from the object depicted, thus giving it density and presence. However, following the work of the French Impressionists, including the frontrunner of the movement, Claude Oscar Monet, artists began to accept the presence of light under different conditions and at more varied natural shades and seasons.
Artists previously painted in the neutral environment of the studio, conjuring tricks of light with the skill of painterly reproduction and artistic license. Monet, along with his like-minded colleagues, began painting en plein air – outdoors. In his Haystack series, Monet would wake before dawn and work for a short period on each canvas as the light began to change and move across the resonant texture of the straw. He would repeat this day after day, capturing time, light, and movement across the surface of a variety of absorbed colors.
A Haystack is a reproduction of a scene that greatly fascinated Monet and was painted within a few miles of the artist's home. For most of his life, Monet studied the changing impressions of the local landscape, capturing with precision and felt clarity the variation of the seasons and the changing moods of static, impersonal objects.
In this particular painting, Monet created a series of horizontal stripes and was able to give a sense of perspective through the use of color. The bright layers of yellow, green, and orange on the bottom part of the canvas represent flat fields. The houses and treetops are painted in darker tones of brown and green. The far background also shows trees and some hills in faded tones of blue and green – as is the bland sky. The large haystack on the forefront is what breaks this structured composition.
The atmospheric reproduction of the movement of light and time in A Haystack imbues a seemingly conservative subject with an astonishing vibrancy as Monet finds power and life in such a ubiquitous scene. Haystacks were a common sight in Normandy in the nineteenth century, and after a short experiment with the subject, Monet painted a detailed and expansive series, returning to the studio to revise different effects to generate juxtapositions and forge a kind of harmony between the canvases.
Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of A Haystack, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of A Haystack that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.