Monet first visited Pourville in mid-February 1882 from Dieppe, just four kilometres to the East, to where he had travelled earlier that month in search of new and challenging motifs for his paintings. 'Without doubt [Monet's] favourite site during the 1880s was the Normandy coast; it obviously was in his blood from his childhood in Le Havre and Saint-Addresse and was easily accessible from Vétheuil and later from Giverny where he moved in 1883. Of all the places he visited on the coast, several became his most frequented - Pourville, Varengeville, Étretat, and Dieppe... Their appeal lay primarily in their dramatic cliffs and stretches of beach, their simplicity, starkness and past history' (P. Hayes Tucker, Claude Monet, Life and Art, New Haven, 1995, p. 107).
In a letter to Alice Hoschedé from Pourville dated 15 February 1882, Monet wrote: 'The countryside is very beautiful and I am very sorry I did not come here earlier instead of wasting time in Dieppe. One could not be any be any closer to the sea than I am, on the shingle itself, and the waves beat at the foot of the house' (E. Kendall, Monet by Himself, London, 1989, p. 100). He channelled this enthusiasm directly into painting, working on several different canvases every day, and producing about one hundred works during his stay in the vicinity. Robert Gordon and Andrew Forge have commented that for Monet, '1882 was a year of almost superhuman productivity' (R. Gordon & A. Forge, Monet, New York, 1983, p. 95).
The present work dates from Monet's second visit to Pourville in the summer of 1882, a visit he eagerly anticipated, and is painted from the chemin de la Cavée. Monet rented the Villa Juliette, visible on the right in the background of the painting, where he stayed with Alice Hoschedé and her children. Monet had first met Ernest and Alice Hoschedé in 1876, when Ernest, a wealthy department store owner and art collector, invited him to the château of Rottembourg in Montgeron. A year later Ernest went bankrupt and fled to Belgium and Alice and Monet decided to bring up their children together, later marrying after Ernest's death in 1891. Germaine Salerou (1873-1968, née Hoschedé), the first owner of the present painting, was Alice's second born.