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Claude Monet, Irises

Key facts
Full title Irises
Artist Claude Monet
Artist dates 1840 - 1926
Date made about 1914-17
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 200.7 × 149.9 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1967
Inventory number NG6383
Location On loan: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, Chimei Museum, Tainan City, Taiwan
Collection Main Collection
Claude Monet

Irises were among Monet’s favourite flowers, and he cultivated many different species, planting them in both his flower garden and his water garden. This is one of approximately 20 views or irises surrounding the banks of the lily pond that Monet painted around 1914–17. It is as though we are standing on the Japanese bridge and looking down at the winding path bordered by flowers.

The painting was evidently rapidly executed, with the garden path laid in first and the flower border worked over its edges. The white ground is left uncovered in places and the brushwork is loose, with the thick purples, blues and greens applied with bold, even crude strokes. The effects may have been partly the result of the double cataracts, which at this date were altering Monet’s vision. It is not clear whether the artist regarded the picture as finished, since it remained in his studio at his death.

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