OIL PAINTING: Grainstacks, Sunset , 1888
After three months at the Creuse Valley, Monet returned to his home at Giverny, near Paris, to continue his work on his Grainstacks (not Haystacks) series, which later would become his first public success. Monet also painted a lesser-known series of Poppies, vibrant with their interplay of complementary colors, red and green. Poppy fields were also a favorite subject of Renoir
, a close friend and former roommate of Monet.
The Grainstacks, with their extraordinary specificity, depict the transient effects of nature, from "Grainstack, Thaw, Sunset" to "Grainstack, Noon." Broad impasses of color -- hot yellow, muted lavender, pale blue -- line the background, while the grainstack takes all focus, sometimes even taking up half the painting. In "Grainstack, Sunset," however, the prominent feature is not the grainstack itself, but the dense color situated around its top.