Pond with Water Lilies
Oil on canvas
101.5 x 72 cm
Gift of The Jerusalem Foundation from the Sam Spiegel Collection
Accession number: B97.0483
During the 1890s, Monet renovated the garden at his home in Giverny, introducing improvements that allowed him to cultivate water lilies in a pond on his property. Around this time he embarked on a cycle of tranquil and contemplative waterscapes to which he would devote himself for the last twenty-five years of his life. The first series of these paintings, exhibited in 1899, had the pond as its main motif and included the Japanese footbridge that spanned it. By 1903, however, Monet was concentrating almost exclusively on the pond and its reflections, focusing more and more on the water surface alone.
Pond with Water Lilies presents a section of the pond, omitting the surrounding landscape completely. The water extends to all four edges of the canvas, leaving only the foreshortened lily pads to orient the viewer. On the calm surface of the water, reflections of clouds, sky, and trees provide reference points. True to the Impressionist credo of an unadulterated presentation of the visual, Monet makes no distinction between the illusory reflections and reality.
The culmination of this great series, to which Pond with Water Lilies belongs, was a group of mural-size paintings executed between 1914 and 1923, and eventually installed in a setting created especially for them in the Orangerie Museum in Paris.