Claude Monet, Water Lilies, ca. 1914–1917
Oil on canvas, 65 3/8 x 56 in. (166.1 x 142.2 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, Mildred Anna Williams Collection, 1973.3
Dark blossoms and bright leaves drift among the reflected clouds on the water’s surface. No horizon is in sight. In the 1880s and 1890s, Monet developed a small natural pond on his property at Giverny into an extensive water garden inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e prints. This garden functioned as a kind of outdoor studio where he ultimately painted some two hundred fifty pictures, among them several of his most iconic works. This example likely dates to the mid-1910s but betrays no hint of the First World War raging not far from Giverny.
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