Blue Water Lilies

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"Nymphaea" is the botanical name for a water lily. Monet grew white water lilies in the water garden he had installed in his property at Giverny in 1893. From the 1910s until he died in 1926, the garden and its pond in particular, became the artist's sole source of inspiration.

Never was the artist's brushstroke so free, so detached from the description of forms. A close-up view of the canvas gives a feeling of total abstraction, because the brushstrokes are stronger than the identification of the plants or their reflections. The viewer has to make a constant visual and mental effort to piece together the landscape suggested in the painting. The unfinished borders accentuate this insistence on painting as a surface covered with paint, which was not lost on artists after the Second World War, particularly American painters exploring "abstract landscapes" and "lyrical abstraction."

1916-1919, Musée d'Orsay

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