Early in 1884, Claude Monet traveled to Bordighera, a town on the Italian Riviera, close to the border between Italy and France, for a working visit of three weeks that turned into nearly three
months. In a letter to the sculptor Auguste Rodin describing his efforts to translate into paint the brilliant Mediterranean light, Monet declared he was "fencing, wrestling, with the sun."
Although he was entranced by the light and by the unfamiliar plants and trees in the south, Monet had difficulty in finding motifs. At Bordighera it seemed that everything was overgrown and he was tormented by the suspicion that he was in the wrong place. Often under these circumstances Monet would make conventional picturesque views as if to prepare himself for future exertions. In Bordighera, 1884, the windswept lines of the pine trees make a frame for the distant town in a painting that takes us back to sentimental souvenirs of the Grand Tour.