In the late 1880s Monet rented a house with surrounding gardens in Giverny and after a few years he purchased the property and the surrounding land and built up his gardens. He continued to build and design landscapes in his Giverny property and his gardens evolved over the years which eventually included lily ponds. The water lilies and the pond became the main inspiration and subject of his paintings during this period, the masterpieces of his last years as a painter and the opening path to abstract art. The early paintings of the period start with a series of vertical paintings displaying the Japanese bridge of his garden which he built over the narrowest part of his pond. The Water Lilies series is large-scale paintings with the water lilies of his gardens shown in changing light and seasons. The Weeping Willow series was during the World War I to show the sadness of the war and portray the fallen French soldiers which can be shown in the shadowy colors of the paintings. In the Water Lilies paintings, Monet plays with light and colors to show the lilies, reflections, water and the movement in the landscape, opening the path to freedom of expression and later on the Expressionist movement. The reflections of sky and the scenes from the gardens in the water are mostly the focus of the paintings as the colors are blended with one hue smoothly transitioning into another. The lilies are painted on the water so beautifully as if one is looking at the beautiful landscapes of his gardens in Giverny and yet no element has a definite shape or is in its traditional form and composition.
Below are a few paintings from the Water Lilies Collection from our visit to the Kimbell Art Museum which is currently on the display till September 15th.