A group of Claude Monet’s water-lily paintings are on show at Tate Liverpool this summer. Brought together from all over the world, it is the first time in over ten years that five paintings in this iconic series have been seen in the UK. They are a highlight of the exhibition Turner, Monet, Twombly: Later Paintings, which opens on 22 June.
Exhibition curator Jeremy Lewison says: ‘To have five major examples in an exhibition is incredibly rare. The water lily paintings mark the crowning moment of Monet’s career and are among the most celebrated of his paintings.’
Monet created the large pond in his garden at Giverny and planted it with the water lilies so he could paint them in all lights and seasons. Most of the second series of water lily paintings were made at a time of great loss for the artist. His wife, Alice, had died in 1911, his son Jean died in February 1914 and his other son Michel was called up to serve at the front - military action was so close that Monet could hear the guns from his studio.
Jeremy Lewison explains: ‘Painted during the First World War and after a period of intense mourning, they are pervaded by a sense of mortality, whereas nature eternally renews itself, human life is finite. Time appears to stand still in these paintings although intimations of sunlight reflected on the surface of the pond infer the time of day. Surrounded by paintings in his studio, Monet created his own consoling world, removed from the reality of painful external events, to heal the psychic pain of loss and bereavement.’