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Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Nymphéas

1903
Huile sur toile 73 × 92 cm
Signé en bas à droite : Claude Monet
inv. 5163
Legs Michel Monet (1966)
At the turn of the 20th century, the water-lily pond inspired Monet to paint a new series, which he titled Water Landscapes. From 1903 to 1907 he produced a series of easel paintings that were either square, round, or rectangular. They marked an important new phase in the master’s work in that their theme was not exactly the flowers but space itself. Monet was painting the watery mirror. To heighten the effect, he abandoned any reference to the bank: the compositions were no longer grounded in the earth. Like the clouds above it, the weeping willows and plants around the pond are present only as reflections in the water. The islets formed by the water lilies are barely sketched, their flowers reduced to simple touches of pure color that help create the image of a floating world. The result is an impression of immensity that contrasts with the relatively modest format of these canvases. The blue tones of this painting help date it to the year 1903.