“Poppy Field in a Hollow near Giverny” by Claude Monet
“Poppy Field in a Hollow near Giverny” by Claude Monet was painted in 1885. Just 80 km (50 mi) northwest from Paris, with rolling hills and cultivated fields of poppies and wheat.
Monet roamed this region during his first few years after arriving at the village of Giverny. Although Monet had started to plant in his garden shortly after he moved in Giverny, his garden had not yet developed.
It had not yet bloomed to a stage that could match the surrounding countryside. Monet instead turned to the nearby poppy fields, which offered a dynamic and varied display of natural color and beauty for his inspiration.
Giverny sits on the “right bank” of the River Seine and is best known as the location of Claude Monet’s garden and home. Claude Monet noticed the village of Giverny while looking out of a train window.
He made up his mind to move there and rented a house and the area surrounding it. In 1890 he had enough money to buy the house and land outright and set out to create the magnificent gardens he wanted to paint.
Some of his most famous paintings were of his garden in Giverny, famous for its Japanese bridge, the pond with the water lilies, the wisterias, and the azaleas.
Beginning around 1887, several American Impressionist artists also settled to work in Giverny, drawn by the landscapes, the atmosphere, and the presence of Monet.
The term Decorative Impressionism was coined in 1911 to describe the work of a “second wave” of American painters who exhibited in America as the “The Giverny Group.”
Unfortunately, World War I marked the end of the art colony in Giverny.
Giverny is near Vernon, where the Battle of Vernon took place during 1944. During the battle, British forces lost 600 men in 4 days, Germany lost 1,600 men, and 12 French Resistance fighters were killed.
The goal of the Allies was to cut the retreat of the occupying forces. They did this by destroying the bridges over the Seine river, as well as the railroads.
Thus 60 years after this painting, of the field of red poppies, blood was again being spilled in the hollows.
Oscar-Claude Monet was a founder of French Impressionist painting, and the term “Impressionism” is derived from the title of his painting Impression, “Soleil Levant” or “Impression, Sunrise,” which was exhibited in 1874.
Monet adopted a method of painting in which he painted the same scene many times to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons.
Monet is known for having produced a series of paintings, all versions of the same subject and perspective.
Examples include his series of the “Valley of the Creuse” series and his famous series of “Haystacks” and “Water Lilies” paintings.
From 1883 Monet lived in Giverny, where at his home, he developed a garden landscape that included the lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works.
In 1899 he began painting the water lilies, first with a Japanese bridge as a central feature, and later in the series of large-scale paintings, with the water lilies as the main feature.
This series occupied him for the last 20 years of his life.
The remembrance poppy was inspired by the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields.”
It’s opening lines refer to the many poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the churned-up earth of soldiers’ graves in Flanders, a region of Belgium.
A Canadian physician wrote the poem in 1915 after witnessing the death of his friend, a fellow soldier, the day before.
“In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.” – John McCrae
In 1918, Moina Michael was inspired by the poem and published a poem of her own called “We Shall Keep the Faith.” In tribute to the original poem, she vowed always to wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance.
For those who fought and helped in the war. She then campaigned to have the poppy adopted as a national symbol of remembrance. As a result of hers and many other people’s efforts, it was adopted by many veterans’ groups.
“We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a luster to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead” – Moina Michael
Poppy Field in a Hollow near Giverny
- Title: Poppy Field in a Hollow near Giverny
- Artist: Claude Monet
- Year: 1885
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: Height: 651 mm (25.62 ″); Width: 813 mm (32 ″)
- Museum: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
- Name: Oscar-Claude Monet
- Born: 1840 – Paris, France
- Died: 1926 (aged 86) – Giverny, France
- Nationality: French
- Movement: Impressionism
- Notable works:
- Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond
- Water Lilies (Honolulu Museum of Art)
- Farmyard in Normandy
- The Basin at Argenteuil
- A Cart on the Snowy Road at Honfleur
- Water Lilies, (National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo)
- Camille Monet on a Bench
- The Houses of Parliament (Effect of Fog) – (MET)
- “Houses of Parliament, London” (Art Institute of Chicago)
- “The Houses of Parliament, Sunset” (National Gallery of Art, DC)
- London, Houses of Parliament. The Sun Shining through the Fog
- “Seagulls, the River Thames and the Houses of Parliament” (Pushkin Museum)
- Haystacks at Scottish National Gallery
- Stacks of Wheat (End of Day, Autumn) at Art Institute of Chicago
- Stacks of Wheat (End of Summer) at Art Institute of Chicago
- “Meules, milieu du jour” (National Gallery of Australia)
- “Wheatstacks, Snow Effect, Morning” (Getty Museum)
- Garden at Sainte-Adresse
- Poppy Field in a Hollow near Giverny
- The Gare St-Lazare (The National Gallery, London)
- “La Gare Saint-Lazare” (Musée d’Orsay)
- “Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare” by Claude Monet (Art Institute of Chicago)
- Le Pont de Argenteuil (The Argenteuil Bridge)
- Impression, Sunrise
- Japanese Bridge Paintings by Claude Monet – Musée Marmottan Monet
- Water Lilies by Claude Monet – Musée Marmottan Monet
- Gardens at Giverny Paintings by Claude Monet – Musée Marmottan Monet
- Weeping Willow by Claude Monet
In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
A Tour of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
- ” Mrs. Fiske Warren and Her Daughter Rachel” by John Singer Sargent
- “Dance at Bougival” by Auguste Renoir
- Relief of a Winged Genie
- “The Fog Warning” by Winslow Homer
- “The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit” by John Singer Sargent
- “Madame Cézanne in a Red Armchair” by Paul Cézanne
- “Appeal to the Great Spirit” by Cyrus Edwin Dallin
- “The Slave Ship” by J. M. W. Turner
- “Poppy Field in a Hollow near Giverny” by Claude Monet
“In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae
The Story Behind John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields” poem
The Poppy Story
Helen Mirren – In Flanders fields
“If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”
– John McCrae
Photo Credit: 1) Claude Monet [Public domain]