Water Lilies, 1916 by Claude Monet
The subject is not important to me; what I want to reproduce is what exists between the subject and me. ”
The water-lily pond at Monetís home in Giverny, north-west of Paris, became the principal motif of Monet's later paintings. Filling the canvas, the surface of the pond becomes a world in itself, inspiring a sense of immersion in nature. Monetís observations of the changing patterns of light on the surface of the water become almost abstract. The paintings were not fully appreciated in Monetís lifetime, and when they were reassessed in 1950s, some critics viewed them as precursors of Abstract Expressionism.
In his effort to capture just the right amount of light and dark, Monet always worked on several canvases at once and furiously followed the changing daylight. He painted
intently, disregarding all the topical trends, and declared to his astonished contemporaries.
Near the end of his life, as a result of his intense efforts to place what he painted in the proper light and shade, he banished the subject from his paintings, bringing about the birth of abstract art.