|Claude Monet, Poplars Along the River Epte, Autumn, 1891|
|Claude Monet, Poplars (Autumn), 1891|
|Claude Monet, Poplars, Four Trees, 1891|
(Metropolitan Museum of Art)
|Claude Monet, Poplars (Wind Effet) 1891|
The S- curve that was outlined by the top of the trees in the background was a crucial element in these paintings, not only did it add motion to the image but also the S-curve had associations with the Rococo. Ingres had used the S-curve in his female figures for beauty and grace. Monet and his audience at the time would, of course, recognize this which caused some critics and artists to disapprove of the Poplars Series as too pretty and too decorative. But at the end of 19th century, decorative was favorable and they sold really well. Viewers actually loved these paintings because of the S-curve and the decorative aspect which reminded them of France's dominance during the Rococo period.
|Claude Monet, Poplars on the River Epte, 1891|
(Philadelphia Museum of Art)
A Decorative Arts museum was built in Paris around 1882 and there was a reawakening to the need to reinforce France's superiority in the decorative arts, which had peaked in the 18th century. Monet may be reclaiming this dominance through his Poplars.
Monet's concern regarding the Poplars seems to be parallel to the Grainstacks, in that there is more to them than just the effects of light and atmosphere on a landscape. They are also about community, nationalism, France's dominance and the prevailing taste that appealed to a wide audience - helping to secure Monet's position as one of the most dominant artist of his time and add to his prosperity.