Claude Monet: Waterlilies and the Garden of Giverny (Masterworks), by Dr Julian Beecroft
Water Lilies (or Nymphéas, French) is a series of oil paintings by French Impressionist Claude Monet. The paintings depict his flower garden at his home in Giverny, and were the main focus of his artistic production during the last thirty years of his life. Many of the works were painted while Monet suffered from cataracts.
He began the series in 1914, at the age of 73, setting up his easel beside his pond in Giverny and staying put as World War I flared around him.
It has often been said that Monet painted the water lilies in near-total seclusion, but in fact he was surrounded by "a bustle of appreciative people, from his staff of gardeners, to his stepdaughter, Blanche, who lived with him until the end, to his dear friend Clemenceau, who was at his bedside, holding his hand, when he died. In art, as in so much else, it takes a village." (New York Times)
On 19 June 2007, one of Monet's Water Lily paintings sold for £18.5 million at a Sotheby's auction in London. On 24 June 2008 another of his Water Lily paintings, Le Bassin Aux Nymphéas, sold for almost £41 million at Christie's in London, almost double the estimate of £18 to £24 million.
He said, ‘It took me some time to understand my water lilies. I planted them for pleasure.’ And so he began to work on what is probably the most famous series of paintings the world has ever seen.