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In 1916 Monet had a new studio built at his home in Giverny in order to work on huge canvases of his water-lily pond, each of them more than two metres high. These monumental paintings were intended to form an entire decorative scheme, and he donated 22 of them to the French state after the First World War. They are now housed in two oval rooms in the Musėe de l’Orangerie in Paris. The rest of the large-scale water-lily canvases, of which this is one, remained in Giverny until after the Second World War. The Orangerie canvases tend to have recognisable details of trees and foliage which act as compositional anchors and help locate the viewer in the scene. However, this painting lacks any of these; distance and perspective are abolished and a limitless expanse of water occupies our entire field of vision.
Oil on canvas
H 200.7 x W 426.7 cm