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Claude Monet, Water-Lilies

Key facts
Full title Water-Lilies
Artist Claude Monet
Artist dates 1840 - 1926
Date made after 1916
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 200.7 × 426.7 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1963
Inventory number NG6343
Location Room 41
Collection Main Collection
Claude Monet

In 1916 Monet had a new studio built at his home in Giverny in order to work on huge canvases of his water-lily pond, each of them more than two metres high. These monumental paintings were intended to form an entire decorative scheme, and he donated 22 of them to the French state after the First World War. They are now housed in two oval rooms in the Musėe de l’Orangerie in Paris. The rest of the large-scale water-lily canvases, of which this is one, remained in Giverny until after the Second World War.

The Orangerie canvases tend to have recognisable details of trees and foliage which act as compositional anchors and help locate the viewer in the scene. However, this painting lacks any of these; distance and perspective are abolished and a limitless expanse of water occupies our entire field of vision. The huge pale picture offers an immersive experience, its surface alive and shimmering with trails of green, ochre, violet, yellow, sky blue and pink.

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