garden blooms inside
MoMA -- a room filed with all of Monet's late
paintings from the Water Lily collection. It is
perhaps the perfect show to take in now, a time for quiet
reflection in the midst of all the hullabaloo of the new fall
season. If one works in midtown, take a short afternoon
break for a serene walk in Giverny….
created his famous paintings of water lilies in the isolated
serenity of his garden in Giverny, in the picturesque Eure region
of Normandy. Using the pond in his garden as inspiration,
he attempted to give 'the
illusion of an endless whole, of water without horizon or bank,'
a limitless world of light and color, of dappled beauty.
Monet painted over 250 paintings of these flowers, each one a
variation on this botanical theme. They are a study in
persistence, a validation of the perfectionist impulse, reworking
the same theme or idea as if to uncover some great secret, a
progression towards some ideal.
paintings, oil on canvas, include a mural-sized triptych (Water
Lilies, 1914-26) which is all pure color and sensation:
sensuous greens, blues, yellows, creamy oranges, and
violets. Monet's deliberate blurred brushstrokes paint a
colorful mist where sky, air, water seem to merge. Monet's Water
Lilies border on abstraction, all
layering of color with subtle sophistication, shades of Bonnard: light is reflected from
both above and below, flowers are depicted as sensory color.
Prism-like, these paintings deflect, reflect, and refract both
light and color.
is known as a leading exponent of Impressionism, a movement
whose name is derived from the title of his painting Impression,
Sunrise (1872). From his haven at Giverny, Monet created a
water lily-world of his own. Clement Greenberg avers: "It
used to be maintained that Monet had outlived himself, that by the
time he died in 1926 he was an anachronism. But right now, any one
of the Water Lilies seems to belong more to our time, and
Water Lilies, at MoMA