With its collections of ancient, modern and contemporary art, the Musée de Grenoble offers you a chance to traverse the history of western painting from the 13th to the 20th centuries. Included are major masterpieces of classical Flemish, Dutch, Italian and Spanish painting; one of 20th century Europe’s richest collections; and all the great post-1945 contemporary art trends, right up to the most recent artworks of the 2000s.
In 1883, Claude Monet went to live in Giverny, a small village in the Val de Seine, now well known, and created a garden teeming with flowers whose colourful harmonies would inspire many of his paintings. Like an outdoor studio, no less, this garden was enlarged in 1893 with a new parcel. The stream called the Epte passing close by enabled Monet to build the famous water lily pond. With all the care of a horticulturalist, the painter lovingly cultivated his water garden, installing various varieties of aquatic plants, water lilies, reeds, and irises, thinking at great length about the right mixtures.
The artist focused more and more on this pond and the vegetation encircling it. He spent many long hours on its banks, at different times of the day, recording the endless variations of light on water.
The museum’s work is part of a series of four pictures, depicting the northeast bank of the pond. Here, there is no longer any room for the sky, and the motif invades everything. The background is filled with a curtain of weeping willows which closes off the space like a tapestry. Climbing roses brighten the left side of the canvas while trees are reflected in the transparent water. The curve of the bank encloses the pond and its water lilies. The interplay of reflections closely interweaves these two worlds of luxuriant vegetation. The picture’s surface, covered with long and vigorous strokes, is offered to the eye in a busy host of colours, organized at a distance, in essentially green and blue shades.
Pond at Giverny, 1917
© Musée de Grenoble