In 1879 Monet moved with his family to the village of Vétheuil on the north bank of the Seine. For the next three years the town, situated on a steep bank above the river and dominated by the tower of its twelfth-century church, became the artist’s central landscape motif. In the summer of 1881, following a particularly severe winter, Monet painted lush views of the town from the island of Saint Martin which was located in the Seine to the south of Vétheuil. The artist’s style in this period evolved from the blunt, broad strokes of the 1870s to delicate, rhythmic brushwork that reads like a gauze of spun sugar. The poplars in the background appear as twirling configurations of blue and green, while the clouds are painted in a broad and wet manner that suggests the flat quality of the sky at midday.
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