Poplars at Giverny, Sunrise, 1888 by Claude Monet

The poplar trees that lined the bank of the river Epte had been a favourite of Monet's for many years. In 1891, having completed his monumental and critically acclaimed haystacks series, he started on a new series depicting the poplars under the subtle effects of changing light and seasons.

The trees that were the subject of the paintings were actually put up for sale by the city of Limetz, who owned them, but Monet made a deal with the purchaser to delay cutting them so that he could continue to paint the trees through the autumn. Using a shallow rowboat that had slots in the bottom capable of holding several canvases at once, Monet painted twenty-four pictures of the poplars from his floating studio.

The interplay of decorative composition and vivid colours, which go begond nature, seem at once to represent the actual landscape and also the 'idea' of the landscape with an almost dreamlike quality.