The Magpie was created during the winter of 1868-1869 near the commune of Étretat in Normandy. Monet's patron, Louis Joachim Gaudibert, helped arrange a house in Étretat for Monet's girlfriend Camille Doncieux and their newborn son, allowing Monet to paint in relative comfort, surrounded by his family. The Magpie is one of approximately 140 snowscapes produced by Monet, and his largest winter painting.
The canvas depicts a solitary black magpie perched on a gate formed in a wattle fence, as the light of the sun shines upon freshly fallen snow creating blue shadows. The painting features one of the first examples of Monet's use of coloured shadows, which would later become associated with the Impressionist movement. Monet and the Impressionists used coloured shadows to represent the actual, changing conditions of light and shadow as seen in nature, challenging the academic convention of painting shadows black.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-1243: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 127mm)