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Poplars in the sun
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Group: The Series

Artist: Claude MONET
Birth/Death: 1840–1926

Title: Poplars in the sun
Date Made: 1891

Lender: National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
Credit Line: Matsukata Collection

Poplars in the sun (exhibited in 1892 with the title, Poplars. Three trees — summer) is constructed from great loops of colour in the distant trees, and swooping curved strokes in the clouds; curved patches of paint, staccato parallel lines, scribbles and zigzags that together create a wonderfully airy impression of a bright cool day, a space full of light, of wind-stirred leaves and racing clouds.

Monet found a suggestive mode of seeing in the decorative subtleties of Hiroshige’s Horikiri iris garden. The linear structure of the irises is brought right up to the surface of the print, crossing it from top to bottom, just as occurs with the poplars and their reflections. The eye oscillates between surface pattern and depth, between the irises and the water, flowery field and trees beyond. Unusually for Japanese art, the modulations on the water in the print suggest reflected sky, as in Monet’s paintings.

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