Remember the wretched summer Claude Monet was having in Sainte-Adresse in 1867? Much had transpired in his life over the next fifteen years. He had gone on to marry Camille after the birth of their son, Jean, but had a rough go of it selling his work. By 1878 the financially strapped Monets and their two children (a second son, Michel, was born that same year) found themselves living communally in a house in Vétheuil with the equally money-challenged Hoschedé family -- Ernest, Alice and their six children.
But wait, there's more. After Camille Monet died in 1879, Claude and the boys continued to live with the Hoschedés. The group moved to Poissy in 1881 and, in the summer of 1882, Monet had sufficient funds to rent a cottage for them all in Pourville-sur-Mer. So here we are: three adults and eight children in a seaside abode.
This view is from west of Pourville and includes part of the village, the cliffs between it and nearby Dieppe, and the headlands stretching beyond the harbor there to the northeast. Judging by the heavy use of purple, light present at the top of the western slope and shadow coming from behind him, Monet seems to have painted this in the gathering twilight. (And confidentially, twilight sounds ideal. Dawn would have been good, too. Even a lunar eclipse at 2:57 AM was doable in this situation. No matter how much one loves to paint or lives to paint, "Au revior, teeming cottage masses, I must go and paint now!" would've been handy as an excuse for staying out of that crowded dwelling early, late and all day, every day.)
Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926). Shadows on the Sea. The Cliffs at Pourville, 1882. Oil on canvas. 57 x 80 cm (22 7/16 x 31 1/2 in.). MIN 1753.
© Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen/Ole Haupt