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Claude Monet

water lilies, setting sun



When France emerged victorious from the First World War in 1918, Claude Monet was a septuagenarian artist, respected for his work

but considered by many as

me a man  of the past: after the

revolution of Cu bism, the Impression-

ism that turned the world upside down

art forty years earlier already does

part of the story. However, despite

his advanced age, Monet  wants to take

share in the news  celebrant, at his

way, victory  hairy ones.  


Through his friend Georges Clémen-

this water,  he proposes to offer  to the French State an en-

seems of works that occupy it  for three years

already and which he calls his "Great decorations".

These huge canvases  - some, attached to juxtaposed panels, measure up to 17  meters wide - represent the water lilies in its ponds from Giverny to

different times of the day. Works  at the limit of abstraction , which prove that the vigor and audacity of

      old man are intact. The project accepted, the

      painter imposes his conditions: he demands that his  

      works - then still running -

      be exhibited according to his instructions. and his ideas  

      are as precise as they are complex to implement.

      work. Monet indeed wishes to propose a

      unprecedented experience for spectators  by immersing them

      literally standing in the middle of his canvases thanks to

                    an elliptical attachment device

                    that. It will be necessary  not less than six

                    years of negotiations ,  of inter-

                    pathetic procrastination on the

                    choice of location, countless

                    plans reviewed by  Monet himself

                    and  from  months of work to finalize

ment to transform the Orangerie des Tuileries into an exhibition space. Finally, in 1924, two large oval rooms bathed  with overhead light  are ready to welcome the twenty-two giant canvases. But Monet will retouch his Water Lilies  until his death two years later, when they  will be installed in their custom-made case. For the first time in history, a painter has  made a scenographer of his own works, to immerse visitors, he said,  "in the center of a flowery aquarium" .

the Water Lilies, green reflections

Camille Lefebvre,

Plan of the Musée de l'Orangerie , 1922

Orangery, room n°2 , 1926

What we can take away:

Even the best of ideas and  the most stimulating of projects have little chance of generating support if they are presented at the wrong time, in the wrong place. To convince, federate and motivate, it is necessary to reflect on the most appropriate conditions for delivering our message, and to create a favorable context for  the attention and receptivity of our interlocutors... Even if it takes time and effort.

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