Camille Doncieux posed for al four women in this painting, wearing hired dresses: the impoverished Monet could not afford clothes like these. Monet submitted the painting, which was painted at Ville d'Avray, for the 1867 Salon, but it was rejected. Artists such as Daumier and Manet also criticized the picture.
Monet was aiming to make two significant points with "Femmes au Jardin". This large size of canvas was traditionally reserved for historical or religious paintings that carried a moral message for the viewer. By painting an unremarkable modern scene, Monet was declaring that these everyday moments, painted in a realistic manner, were just as important in the art world as esteemed historical or religious subjects.
His second point was concerned with the spontaneity of art, and painting exactly what was in front of the artist. Instead of sketching the scene and then completing it in a studio, Monet painted the entire work in the open air. This became known as "plein-air" technique. So determined was he to make this painting seem real that he dug a trench in the garden in order to have the canvas at the right level.