Claude Monet (1840-1926), Nymphéas Orangerie 06, Le Matin aux saules (détail) Vers 1915-1926 Musée de l’Orangerie Photo © Musée de l’Orangerie, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/ Sophie Crépy Boegly

The Water Lilies. American Abstract and the last Monet

To celebrate the centennial of the donation of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies to France, the Musée de l’Orangerie showcases a selection of Claude Monet’s celebrated works along with twenty works of early American abstract artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Joan Mitchell, and Ellsworth Kelly, in an outstanding exhibition: “Water Lilies. American Abstract and the last Monet”.

In 1955, American art historian Alfred Barr brought one of Monet’s large panels of “Water Lilies” (W1992) into the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The reception of the painting resonated with the birth of American Abstract Expressionism and was viewed in the context of Pollock’s paintings. Monet’s “Waterlilies” presented “a bridge between the naturalism of early Impressionism and the highly developed school of Abstract Art.”

The exhibition focuses on the definitive moment in the history of art when Monet’s great decorations were rediscovered and the New York School of Abstract Art was finally recognized.

Cécile Debray, chief curator, director of the Musée de l’Orangerie

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