Monet's Palette in the Twentieth Century: 'Water-Lilies' and 'Irises'

  • Share this page

Ashok Roy
Technical Bulletin Volume 28, 2007


The National Gallery possesses two large canvas paintings by Claude Monet: Water-Lilies and Irises. Both were painted in his studio at Giverny. Towards the latter part of his career Monet changed his palette and method of painting and began to paint more simply and on a much larger scale than in his earlier work. At the same time he appears to have restricted his palette to materials which he believed would guarantee the better survival of his paintings. For this reason he abandoned chrome yellow pigments (with the exception of zinc chromate yellow) and consistently used cadmium yellows instead; he took up cobalt violet (cobalt arsenate) and no longer used ‘emerald green’ (copper acetoarsenite), only employing viridian for his later works. These changes in materials and methods from Monet’s pre-20th-century work are described.


cadmium pigments, Claude Monet, cobalt blue, cobalt violet, early twentieth-century painting materials, French ultramarine, Impressionist technique, Irises, Monet’s late technique, Monet’s palette, Monet’s studio, vermilion, viridian, Water-Lilies

Download article

Monet's Palette in the Twentieth Century: 'Water-Lilies' and 'Irises', Ashok Roy (PDF 8.85MB)



To cite this article we suggest using

Roy, A. 'Monet's Palette in the Twentieth Century: "Water-Lilies" and "Irises"'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 28, pp 58–68.

Get Adobe Reader

Problems opening files? Get Adobe Reader [External link]