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Group: Giverny

Artist: Claude MONET
Birth/Death: 1840–1926

Title: Waterlilies
Date Made: 1914-17

Lender: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

In his large oil studies for the Grandes décorations Monet explored different effects of light on water and different compositions of waterlilies, reflections and willows, reeds, agapanthus and lilies. Photographs show that some of these were painted by the pool, whereas the large paintings were painted in the studio. Waterlilies was probably an early study, since it retains the foreground bank. The position of waterlily leaves is indicated by rapid loops of paint, augmented by rough patches, curls, and flecks of colour. The sudden gleam of reflected clouds is animated by huge, almost expressionistic, scrawls of paint. This vigorous calligraphy owes something to the speed of execution of large-scale Japanese brush painting, although oil paint allowed Monet to make changes, which sometimes obscured the earlier phases of painting, and sometimes revealed them as records of the way he thought himself into the motif.

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