This painting bears perfect testimony to a style that evolved to reach a meeting point with the early work of the Impressionists. In particular, it is very close to the early work of Claude Monet, with whom Daubigny struck a close, almost paternal, friendship, introducing the younger artist to Durand-Ruel in 1870, and using his influence to get him accepted by the Salon in the 1860s.
Daubigny was a master at rendering atmosphere, and all his painting were executed sur-le-motif. This painting represents a subject treated several times in the early 1870s by the artist; it wonderfully translates the freshness of a spring day, but the tones are lighter than the more subtle middle-tones that often characterize his earlier work (see previous lot), and the brushwork is particularly energetic, applied with quick, short strokes, infusing the composition with a sense of movement.
Daubigny's new direction, and the reciprocal influence that existed between his and the "jeune école" (as he referred to his Impressionist friends), was presented on the public stage with his submission to the 1874 Salon, Les champs au mois de juin. As Moreau-Nélaton wrote: 'A lush field of glowing poppies inflamed the canvas, the gleam of which, following on from the provocative starkness of his snow paintings [submitted the previous year] seemed once again designed to invite controversy. His most ardent followers felt their enthusiasm wane in front of his loud boldness, and were grudging in their praise. Even Corot, breaking with his friendly indulgence, admitted himself to be blinded by this misplaced incandescence'.