Although dated 1890, this work was actually painted the following year. In the spring of 1891 Monet began work on a series of 23 paintings depicting the poplars which lined the left bank of the river Epte, near Limetz, south of Giverny. On 18 June the town decided to auction off the trees. Monet persuaded a wood merchant to buy them jointly with him, on the condition that they were left standing for a few more months to enable the artist to finish his series.
The works were painted from a flat-bottomed boat which Monet borrowed from fellow artist Gustave Caillebotte. From this low vantage-point the trees are viewed silhouetted against the sky and their formal qualities are stressed.
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