Monet's wife Camille and their son Jean seem to merge in the landscape. Monet shows them twice,
as they progress in the meadow flowerished with Poppies. Nowadays, Argenteuil is a suburb of
Claude Monet painted The Poppy Field, near Argenteuil in 1873. Painted in the
wildflower fields outside Argenteuil, this painting reveals Monet's passion for color. With dabs of
red, he scatters the blooms in a natural profusion across the lush green fields.
In the foreground, he sketches in the figures of Camille and Jean with simple strokes of violet,
black, and white. Their figures appear again at the top of the hills in the distance, more a
suggestion of color than an accurate record of their appearance.
Monet diluted the contours and constructed a colourful rhythm with blobs of paint starting from
a sprinkling of poppies; the disproportionately large patches in the foreground indicate the
primacy he put on visual impression. A step towards abstraction had been taken.
In the landscape, a mother and child pair in the foreground and another in the background are
merely a pretext for drawing the diagonal line that structures the painting. Two separate colour
zones are established, one dominated by red, the other by a bluish green. The young woman with the
sunshade and the child in the foreground are probably the artist's wife, Camille, and their son
When he returned from England in 1871, Monet settled in Argenteuil and lived there until 1878.
These years were a time of fulfilment for him. Supported by his dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, Monet
found in the region around his home the bright landscapes which enabled him to explore the
potential of plein-air painting.
He showed Poppy Field to the public at the first Impressionist exhibition held in the
photographer Nadar's disused studio in 1874. Now one of the world's most famous paintings, it
conjures up the vibrant atmosphere of a stroll through the fields on a summer's day.