Claude Oscar Monet painted the landscape Poplars On The Banks Of The River Epte in 1900 and is now at the National Gallery of Scotland. This artwork belongs to a series of nine paintings of poplar trees near Giverny, where the artist lived with his family. He began the series in 1887 with the masterpiece Sunlight Effect Under the Poplars. Six of the nine paintings of this series was painted in 1891, and they all depict the river of Epte as well.
While painting Poplars On The Banks Of The River Epte, the last of the series, the owners of the property were selling the gigantic trees. Since Monet was not done painting his landscape – and his financial situation was excellent – he decided to buy the trees. Of course, he eventually sold them to the merchant who was initially interested in the purchase, after he finished his work. This particular painting is optimistic and perfectly closes the series.
As an Impressionist, Monet wanted to observe the fleeting effects of sunlight over a landscape, so he worked mainly en plein air – meaning he painted outdoors. Although during some time the artist preferred to finish his works in his studio, his art never lost its Impressionistic style. Monet had a great passion for nature, and it came naturally that he preferred to be emerged in his surroundings to portray them on canvas. The influence of the Orient was also significant for Monet’s artistic production, along with most Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, especially the Japanese woodcut prints.
In the oil painting Poplars On The Banks Of The River Epte, Monet divided the painting almost in half with the placement of the trees in the background. The line of poplars curve as they follow the banks of the river into the distance. The rich tonalities of green and brown reflect into the water, as does the blue sky. Monet doesn’t use the same tone of blue on the sky, as it is slightly a bit more yellow, and the clouds hold strokes of ochre. The brush strokes used by the modern painter are similar to the technique used by the Pointillists, where the image was formed with spots of color – Monet goes beyond this method and creates a unique style.
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