The Artist's Garden at Vetheuil, 1880 - by Claude Monet

With very few exceptions, Monet did not paint his family in a landscape or garden setting between 1878 and 1880. The winter of Camille's death in 1879 was icy cold and saw the Seine freeze over, Monet took his canvas and painted scenes of the frosty countryside using short, rapid brushstrokes and frigid tones to create works saturated with a sense of isolation.

Spring comes early in 1880 and as it moved into summer Monet again began to paint his brilliantly coloured garden and meadow scenes, and began to include his children as well as the figure of Alice Hoschede. These paintings are sun-filled and strikingly coloured, composed of tiny, fragmented brushstrokes of pure, jewel-like tones of vibrant yellow, iridescent blue and blood red. His figures have regained their relationship to the landscape around them to such extent they appear an organic extension of the scene around them. The painting of his garden at Vetheuil with the youngest children and Alice in the background is particularly delicately constructed with a fineness and lightness that had been missing from his work of the preceding winter.