The quaint town of Lavacourt, situated on the opposite shore to Vétheuil, proved particularly appealing and Monet painted at least sixteen views of the town during the autumn and winter of 1878-79. La Seine à Lavacourt focuses on the verdant shores of the towpath that ran along the riverbanks there and is a wonderful testament to the full, rich light that is characteristic of the region. According to David Joel: ‘On sunny days, as the sun rises higher and the land gets warmer the morning mists are dispelled, and the breeze created is funnelled up by the white cliffs forming a circular wind system, often rising to ten thousand feet. This system can bring all sorts of summer cloud formations unique to this area of Normandy, which may or may not vanish by sunset. Thus the skies are constantly changing and fine sunsets and effects are created. They differ by the hour’ (David Joel, Monet at Vétheuil 1878-1883, Woodbridge, England, 2002, p. 50).
Soon after arriving in Vétheuil, Monet's family relocated to a more spacious residence at Les Tourelles together with the Hoschedés. Monet remained here for almost five years, enduring a period of dire financial hardship over the winter of 1878-79 and of personal grief at the death of his wife Camille in the fall of 1879. Despite these adversities, Monet continued to paint and he produced several stunning depictions of Lavacourt and its environs over this period. As Paul Hayes Tucker notes: ‘The place appeared to agree with him. Over the time he was there, he produced nearly three hundred paintings—one every four days. This was a remarkable output, surpassing the number of pictures he completed during his seven years at Argenteuil by a large margin. Most of these new canvases, however, were vastly different from those earlier works, as Monet now sought out spaces in and around this rural village which revealed its quiet secrets—the backwaters of the Seine, the orchards that dotted the surrounding hills and the well-trodden dirt paths of the little town of Lavancourt [sic] just across the river’ (Paul Hayes Tucker, Claude Monet, Life and Art, New Haven & London, 1995, p. 101).
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