Water Lilies 1914-26
Oil on Canvas
Three Panels 6' 63/4" x 13' 11 1/4" overall 41' 10 3/8"
Claude Monet's Water Lilies on view at MOMA through April 12, 2010
When Monet was 42 years old, he cultivated a flower garden and Japanese Water Lily pond that became the main subject of his art for the duration of his career. His first paintings of water lilies were naturalistic and in 1909 the first exhibition of these paintings were well received. After the outbreak of World War I, Monet lost both his wife and son and he was beginning to lose his eyesight. In 1915 Monet built a studio to accommodate canvases up to fifteen feet long where he worked on more abstract versions of Water Lily paintings. When the paintings were first exhibited in 1927, they were rejected by the critics and disregarded for many years. This work was re-discovered in the mid 20th century and are now recognized as some of the most important works of their time and of Monet's career.