Monet’s waterlilies

Claude Monet
Waterlilies (Nymphéas) (1903)
oil on canvas
73.0 x 92.0 cm
Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris
Gift of Michel Monet, 1966 (inv. 5163)
© Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris, © Bridgeman-Giraudon / Presse
Claude Monet
Waterlilies (Nymphéas) 1903
oil on canvas
81.5 x 100.5 cm
Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo
Ishibashi Foundation, 1961 (F.P.22)
Photo: Bridgestone Museum of Art

While visiting the Universal Exhibition of 1889 in Paris, Monet first saw the new varieties of hybrid waterlilies being bred by the botanist Joseph Latour-Marliac. Shortly after Monet commenced work on his pond, in 1894, he placed an order for water-loving plants with Latour-Marliac and a life-time passion for aquatic cultivars commenced. Monet’s care was such that to avoid the low temperatures and the killer frosts of a Norman winter, he had the waterlilies lifted from the pond in autumn, where they were kept in specially designated hothouses, and returned to the pond each spring. Eventually it dawned on Monet that his garden and especially his waterlily pond provided him with all the inspiration he needed. In 1903 Monet commenced his famous series of waterlily paintings that were eventually exhibited in Durand-Ruel’s gallery in 1909. Several of the paintings from this enormously successful exhibition are displayed in Monet’s Garden.

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