This painting, acquired by Paul Durand-Ruel as early as 1893, remained for a long time in the family of the famous art-dealer and friend of the impressionists. It is now part of the state collections thanks to a dation (payment in kind for inheritance tax), thus allowing the series of the Poplars, started right after the Haystacks and just before the Cathedrals, during the spring, summer and autumn 1891, to be represented in French collections.
This series includes over twenty paintings of the trees planted by the swamp in Limetz, on the left bank of the river Epte, about two kilometres upriver from Giverny. The instantaneous quality of these paintings was meant to render the force and brevity of the impression felt in front of nature, the variations of light, of the weather and seasons being central in the preoccupations of the "series" painter.
In this painting, the composition of which is outstanding, with the play of curves followed by the trees, Monet has chosen to represent only three trees in the foreground while accentuating the diagonal of the middle one. In most cases, the paintings composing this series were painted from a boat or close to the riverbank, hence a landscape observed from below; in addition, the foliage is here shaken by the wind, and the movement animating the motif participates in the decorative character of this composition. The verticality of the trees is highlighted by the chosen format, very long in height.