Water Lilies

Claude Monet (French, Paris 1840–1926 Giverny)

Oil on canvas
39 3/4 x 78 3/4 in. (101 x 200 cm)
Credit Line:
The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1998, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    This work is one of four pictures of water lilies that, quite exceptionally, Monet finished, signed, and sold in 1919. Much of his late work was not finished, and few paintings were released for sale. In a letter he reported that he was not yet pleased with the paintings, but that he was working on them "with passion."

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): Claude Monet 1919

  • Provenance

    the artist, Giverny (1919; sold in October to Bernheim-Jeune); [Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 1919–21; stock no. 21.742, photo negative no. 09719; sold share in January 1921 to Durand-Ruel, stock no. 11873, photo no. 9394]; [Bernheim-Jeune and Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1921–22; in 1922, Durand-Ruel sold their share back to Bernheim-Jeune]; [Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 1922–ca. 1928; sold to Canonne]; Henri de Canonne, Paris (ca. 1928–at least 1936); Garabjol, Paris (until 1967; sold in November to Wildenstein); [Wildenstein, Paris and New York, 1967–68; sold on May 6 to Annenberg]; Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, Rancho Mirage, Calif. (1968–98; jointly with MMA, 1998–his d. 2002)

  • Exhibition History

    Paris. Bernheim-Jeune. "Exposition Claude Monet," January 21–February 2, 1921, no. 44 or 45 (as "Nymphéas").

    New York. Durand-Ruel. "Exhibition of Paintings by Claude Monet," January 4–21, 1922, no. 9 (as "Le bassin aux nymphéas, Giverny").

    Paris. Durand-Ruel. "Tableaux par Claude Monet," January 6–19, 1928, no. 83 [added to the 2nd ed. of the cat.].

    Paris. Paul Rosenberg. "Exposition d'oeuvres de Claude Monet," April 2–30, 1936, no. 30 (as "Grands nymphéas," lent by Monsieur Henri Canonne).

    London. Tate Gallery. "The Annenberg Collection," September 2–October 8, 1969, no. 23 (as "Nympheas").

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Monet's Years at Giverny: Beyond Impressionism," April 19–July 9, 1978, no. 75 (as "Water Lilies").

    Saint Louis Art Museum. "Monet's Years at Giverny: Beyond Impressionism," August 1–October 8, 1978, no. 75.

    Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 21–September 17, 1989, unnumbered cat.

    Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 6–August 5, 1990, unnumbered cat.

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," August 16–November 11, 1990, unnumbered cat.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," June 4–October 13, 1991, unnumbered cat.

  • References

    Claude Monet. Letter to Gaston and Josse Bernheim-Jeune. August 25, 1919 [reprinted in Ref. Wildenstein 1985, p. 403, letter 2319], mentions that he is working on a series of landscapes [including this picture] that may interest them.

    [François] T[hiébault].-S[isson]. "Art et curiosité: Une exposition Claude Monet." Le Temps (January 7, 1928), p. 4, mentions it as the newest of the 82 works being exhibited at Durand-Ruel from January 6–19 and produced not more than eight years ago.

    Arsène Alexandre. La collection Canonne: Une histoire en action de l'Impressionnisme et de ses suites. Paris, 1930, p. 47, colorpl. 6.

    M. Roy Fisher. The Annenberg Collection. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1969, unpaginated, no. 23, ill. (color).

    Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet. Milan, 1971, ill. p. 81.

    Robert Maillard in Denis Rouart and Jean-Dominique Rey. Monet, Water-Lilies: Or the Mirror of Time. New York, 1974, unpaginated, ill. [French ed., 1972].

    Charles S. Moffett. Monet's Water Lilies. New York, 1978, pp. 7, 13 n. 24, colorpl. 15, notes that the four signed and dated "Water Lilies" of 1919, including this work, were the only water lilies panels sold by Monet during his lifetime


    Robert Gordon and Charles F. Stuckey. "Blossoms and Blunders: Monet and the State." Art in America 67 (January–February 1979), pp. 103, 110, fig. 1 (color), state that Bernheim-Jeune and Durand-Ruel jointly purchased four small-scale "Water Lilies," including this picture, in October 1919 and exhibited them in Paris and New York beginning in 1921.

    Robert Gordon and Andrew Forge. Monet. New York, 1983, ill. p. 277.

    Monet: A Retrospective. New York, 1985, colorpl. 112.

    Daniel Wildenstein. "1899–1926: Peintures." Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. 4, Lausanne, 1985, pp. 88–90, 288–89, 324 under no. 1983, 403 (letter 2319), no. 1891, ill.

    Christian Geelhaar in Claude Monet: Nymphéas. Exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Basel. Basel, 1986, p. 114 n. 169.

    Catherine Barnett. "A Very Private View: Inside Walter Annenberg's Personal Paradise." Art & Antiques 6 (March 1989), p. 106, ill. (color).

    Colin B. Bailey in Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1991, pp. 60–61, 169–70, ill. (color and black and white), notes that it belonged to a group unrelated to Monet's decorative series or to a panel then in progress, but painted "specifically for the art market"; identifies the other three "Water Lilies" sold in 1919 as W1890 (sale, Christie's, London, June 24, 2008, no. 16), W1893 (cut in half prior to 1944; each half in a private collection), and W1894 (sale, Christie's, New York, November 11, 1992, no. 38).

    Jérôme Coignard. "Le Salon de peinture de Mr. et Mrs. Annenberg." Beaux arts no. 92 (July–August 1991), p. 69.

    Gary Tinterow. "Miracle au Met." Connaissance des arts no. 472 (June 1991), p. 38.

    Charles F. Stuckey. Claude Monet, 1840–1926. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1995, p. 250.

    Daniel Wildenstein. Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism. 1, 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, p. 410.

    Daniel Wildenstein. "Nos. 1596–1983 et Les Grandes Décorations." Monet: Catalogue raisonné–Werkverzeichnis. 4, 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, pp. 898–99, no. 1891, ill. (color), states that it was purchased by Bernheim-Jeune in November 1919.

    Ira Berkow. "Jewels in the Desert." Art News 97 (May 1998), pp. 146–47, ill. (color).

    George T. M. Shackelford and Mary Anne Stevens in Monet in the 20th Century. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston, 1998, p. 218.

    Paul Hayes Tucker in Monet in the 20th Century. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston, 1998, pp. 69, 75, 79, fig. 49 (color), cites it as an example of a finished painting and compares it to an incomplete working sketch.

    Pierre Georgel. Monet: Le cycle des "Nymphéas," catalogue sommaire. Exh. cat., Musée National de l'Orangerie. Paris, 1999, pp. 46–47, 225, fig. 48.

    Gary Tinterow in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1998–1999." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57 (Fall 1999), pp. 5, 60–61, ill. (color).

    Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art. Christie's, New York. May 8, 2000, p. 107, fig. 3 (color).

    Eric M. Zafran in Claude Monet (1840–1926): A Tribute to Daniel Wildenstein and Katia Granoff. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 2007, p. 130.

    Impressionist / Modern Evening Sale. Christie's, London. June 24, 2008, pp. 78–79.

    Colin B. Bailey in Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. 4th rev. ed. [1st ed., 1989]. New York, 2009, pp. 86, 89–94, no. 18, ill. (color) and p. viii (color, installation photo).

  • Notes

    This painting is one of a group of eleven paintings of approximately the same size, all of which take the same segment of the lily pond as their motif (W1890–1900).

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History