To be included in the forthcoming supplement to the Monet catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint et dessiné being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute.
The winter of 1884-1885 was cold and snowy, and within the immediate vicinity of Giverny Monet painted nine pictures showing the landscape under a blanket of snow or in icy conditions (Wildenstein, nos. 961-968). As spring neared and the weather improved, Monet ventured further afield, and following the road leading eastward towards Grasny, he set up his easel near the small hamlet of Falaise. He painted the present work and ten others in this area (Wildenstein, nos 969-979), depicting the small farmsteads nestled in the rolling hills of Val de Falaise. Closely related to W. 970 (fig. 1) dated 1885, the present work presents the same low flat foreground, the slopes of the hillside to the left. Partially hidden in the landscape and central to both works is the property known as Les Roches, situated at the entrance to the hamlet of Falaise.
With a career that spanned the latter half of the nineteenth century, Alphonse Portier was one of the most active and influential art dealers of his time. Portier's modest beginnings as a pigment merchant on the rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette belied his keen eye; well before the Impressionists achieved public recognition he identified the talent of Manet, Monet, Degas and van Gogh. He was especially fond of the work of Sisley and Pissarro and from the beginning of their careers strove to place their works in collections where they would be properly appreciated and counted amongst his closest clients, de Camondo, Rouart, Chéramy, Depeaux, Princesse de Polignac and the Havemeyers.
In 1885 Portier paid a visit to Monet at his home in Giverny where he exchanged a work by Degas for one of the artist's paintings. Whilst unconfirmed it seems possible that Portier collected the present work in exchange for his Degas.