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Monet's Water Lilies - 250 different pieces were painted and are on display in galleries around the world.

Updated on June 12, 2018
Susan Hambidge profile image

Susan enjoys travel, art, writing, and natural products. She lives outside of London.

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Monet's Obsession

Claude Monet, the French Impressionist artist, moved to his house in Giverny, Northern France in 1883 where he developed an interested in gardening. He became more and more interested in different flowers, plants and trees and went on to purchase a piece of adjacent land in 1893 where he developed a huge pond and a Japanese garden. The pond, filled with water lilies, became his obsession. He was spellbound by the way changing light and different seasons altered the water, the refections and the lilies themselves. Monet painted the scene roughly 250 times in total and, towards the end of his life it, became his only subject. Amazingly most of the work was done while he was suffering with cataracts meaning he could see very little.

Many of the water lilies works have been purchased by private collectors around the world. In fact one piece sold at a Sotherby’s auction in June 2014 for an amazing £32 million/$54 million. But there are plenty of places where the public can see Monet’s water lilies for themselves for free or for a small token price.

"I am only good at two things, and those are: gardening and painting. ”
- Claude Monet

France is the Best Place to see Monet's Water-Lilies

Paris, France, is perhaps one of the most fitting places to see these huge, beautiful canvases because this was Monet’s birthplace. There are a few galleries displaying some of the Water-Lilies and the Musée Marmottan Monet is one of the best ones. There are five canvases from the Water-Lilies collection here that were donated by Michel Monet, the son of the artist. In total, this museum holds 94 of Monet’s paintings, 29 drawings plus some photos, a sketchbook, palette and personal letters. This amazing display of the Impressionist’s work is found at 2 Rue Louis Boilly, 75016, Paris and the entrance fee is approximately €10 per adult. Find all you need at their website http://www.marmottan.fr/uk/

The Musée de l’Orangerie holds eight Water-Lilies and they are displayed in two amazing oval rooms so you feel completely immersed in the water as you view the artwork. These rooms are tranquil, calm spaces and you can spend time taking in all the detail of Monet’s paintings; almost drowning in the colours and swirls of the water and the lilies. The canvases are huge, some measuring 2 metres tall by a staggering 17 metres wide. The gallery is in Jardin les Tuileries, Paris and the entrance ticket costs €9.

A visit to the Musée d’Orsay is a must for art lovers. This incredible, three-storey museum holds paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, Manet and Klimt - the list just goes on and on. There are 88 pieces of Monet’s work on display here too. The Blue Water Lilies can be found in room 36. The address is 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, it is overlooking the Sienne. The ticket is €10 and you can buy a combination ticket for the l’Orangerie if you plan to visit both for €15.There are some great places in this building to have a snack, drink or full meal too.

"It took me time to understand my waterlilies. I had planted them for the pleasure of it; I grew them without ever thinking of painting them.”
- Claude Monet

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Monet's Art in New York

In New York there are a couple of places to catch a glimpse of the Water-Lilies collection. The Metropolitan Museum of Art on 5th Avenue has a great example of the Japanese Bridge over the lily pond alongside some other works by Monet. The entrance ticket here costs roughly $25.00.

The Museum of Modern Art has three panels of one canvas, and there is a second piece too of the Water-Lilies series. This gallery has some very striking works of art on display too and is well worth a visit. Found at https://www.moma.org/visit/index it costs $25 to get in.

" My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.”
- Claude Monet

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London Galleries that Display Monet's Water Lilies

In London, the Tate Modern houses one canvas of the collection. It can be found on level 3 in room 10. This gallery is free to enter, donations are always welcome though. The Tate is a vast building on the Thames and often has quite controversial pieces on display. Their website is http://www.tate.org.uk/

Also in London, at the National Gallery, are 26 of Monet’s paintings on display, three of which are from the water lilies series. There are other Impressionist pieces here too, like canvases from Pissarro, Renoir and Degas, plus a great many others. And this museum is right in the middle of the iconic Trafalgar Square, so the setting couldn't be better. The entrance is free.


Detail
Detail

Around the World

Around the world there are more places that display a piece of Monet’s series of Water Lilies. Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in Holland, Toledo Museum of Art in Monroe Street, Toledo, OH, Honolulu Museum of Art, National Gallery of Australia, Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts in Bostson, Art Institute of Chicago, Dayton Art Insitute in Ohio, Denver Art Museum and Los Angleles County Museum of Art.

As you can see, the series has been bought, donated and borrowed for institutions around the globe - it is considered a very important collection of work.

Claude Monet
Claude Monet

© 2014 Susan Hambidge

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    • Susan Hambidge profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hambidge 

      3 years ago from Hertfordshire, England

      They vary a bit in size but they are all big canvases. Thank you for stopping by Trish.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 

      3 years ago from The English Midlands

      Very interesting. What surprised me about these beautiful paintings was the size. I hadn't realised that they were so large.

    • Susan Hambidge profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hambidge 

      4 years ago from Hertfordshire, England

      Oh Flourish - you missed an opportunity there! I'm going to keep an eye out for more of them - there are 250 to find. It's a bit like a sophisticated 'Where's Wally' haha

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 years ago from USA

      I cannot believe I visited Dayton of all places and didn't go see his work! Especially for those who cannot make it to Europe, it's good to know there are opportunities right here. I have been fortunate enough to visit Giverny.

    • Susan Hambidge profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hambidge 

      4 years ago from Hertfordshire, England

      Thank you Nell. I've seen a few but there are so many more still needing a visit.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi susan, fascinating to read about, and yes i would love to go and see his paintings, I just love them! he is what you call a real artist not like some of them today, wonderful!

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