Rock Needle Seen through the Porte d'Aval, Étretat, 1886
oil on canvas
65.2 x 92.1 cm
Gift from the Marjorie and Gerald Bronfman Collection, Montreal, 2009
National Gallery of Canada (no. 43002)
Photo © NGC
In the Fall of 1885, Monet took up residence in Étretat, a small fishing village and resort town on the Normandy coast. He likely began this painting at that time, then shipped it with some fifty other canvases to his studio in Giverny where he continued work, signing it in 1886. The lighting and tide conditions correspond to late afternoon, as the sun sets behind the cliff. Given the angle of view, Monet could only have been working from a stretch of shoreline that is exposed for a short time at low tide.