1865 (50 Kb); Oil on canvas, 30 x 60 cm (11 7/8 x 23 3/4 in); San Diego Museum of Art
This is an early work done a quarter-century before the famous Wheatstack series of 1890-91. In those later works, Monet succeeded in expressing the immutable essence of the Wheatstacks; here they are integrated into the overall landscape. The relative sizes of the Haystacks as well as the inclination of the low-lying clouds leads the eye forcefully toward the vanishing point of the rising sun. This leftward-leaning composition is accentuated by the exaggerated horizontality of the canvas. The muted colors and relatively finished brushwork, along with the pyramidal shapes of the haystacks, convey a sense of permanence that somewhat contradicts the depiction of something as transient as a sunrise. This is an important early reference point illustrating the artistic problems Monet worked to resolve as his style developed.