In 1865, in the countryside near Paris, Monet worked on Luncheon on the Grass, a large canvas apparently inspired by Edouard Manet’s already famous picture of the same name painted in 1863. This influence is reflected both in the subject, a picknicking party, and in the huge size (465 x 640 cm), not altogether characteristic of Monet’s early work.
The size must have been intended to impress the public or, at any rate, to give prominence to the painting. Interestingly, the artist chose for his plein-air work Chailly-en-Biere in the neighbourhood of Barbizon, the cradle of the illustrious mid-century school of landscape painters.
The fact that the future Impressionists turned to the same localities for inspiration can be interpreted as evidence of their link with the French tradition of landscape painting. Monet was not satisfied with his finished work and, returning to Paris, he left the canvas in the custody of his landlord at Chailly as a pledge.