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13 May 2017 / leggypeggy

Monet’s water lilies on show in Paris

Monet's Water Lilies

The Orangerie des Tuileries in Paris seems destined to spend its life housing plants in one form or another. It started life in 1852 when it was first built to provide shelter for the orange trees that lined the garden of Tuileries Palace.

The trees mustn’t have lasted long in Parisian winters, because the Orangerie got side-tracked for several decades, serving different functions (such as an exam hall, exhibition hall and concert hall). Then in 1920 it was chosen to house a completely different type of plant—large painted panels known as Nyphméas or Water Lilies by French impressionist Claude Monet.

Over the last 30 years of his life, Monet focused on painting the water lilies in the flower garden at his home in Giverny. About 250 of his paintings feature these flowers (many were painted when Monet had cataracts),

But the Orangerie paintings were done especially for that location. They were considered such an important contribution to the setting that Camille Lefèvre, the architect in charge of the renovation, followed Monet’s instructions to the word when designing the two elliptical rooms that house the masterpieces to this day.

Monet, water lilies

Lefèvre then designed the rest of the building to be an exhibition hall. I’ll write about that soon and share some of the images that are included in what is now known as the Walter–Guillaume collection.

But for now I’ll share some of the pics (including some close-ups of some panels) from the day we visited the water lilies. I haven’t added captions. We were lucky enough to go on the first Sunday of a month when many museums offer free admission.

P.S. Over the years I’ve seen many of Monet’s water lily paintings, but all of these were new to me.

P.P.S. I hope you like the Little Miss who features in many of my photos. She was taking in everything and seemed to pop up everywhere. I wonder if she’ll remember this day when she’s much older. Do you have childhood memories of seeing art exhibitions?

Monet at Orangerie


Leave a Comment
  1. Eddy Winko / May 13 2017 5:05 am

    I haven’t seen much ‘art; but when I have (in real life) I’m often taken aback by the scale and this is a classic example. I hope to see it one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / May 13 2017 5:45 am

    A spectacular exhibition – I especially love the photo of the toddler pointing out the art. That’s the way to start children. Thanks for a wonderful journey to the site.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 13 2017 3:20 pm

      The toddler really added to the joy of our visit. And I don’t even know her!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / May 13 2017 5:48 am

    BTW, my earliest memories of art exhibits I was about 7 or 8 -that’s when my parents took me to local museums in Trenton, New Jersey – and when I fell further in love with art. Even today when I visit museum, I linger – as in, I can barely be moved from one painting to the next, much less from one gallery to the next – I want to suck in the art to my bones. That takes time. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. IreneDesign2011 / May 13 2017 5:57 am

    Wow for a beautiful experience, Peggy 🙂
    I do really like Monét’s pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. beetleypete / May 13 2017 5:59 am

    That’s the way to show Impressionist Art! Very nice indeed, Peggy.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alison and Don / May 13 2017 6:40 am

    I don’t have memories of seeing art exhibitions, but I definitely remember being in the Orangerie looking at Monet’s beautiful paintings, and of the gloriousness of his home and garden in Giverny. He was genius!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 13 2017 3:25 pm

      Oh, now I’m jealous. I haven’t been to his home in Giverny yet. Maybe next month. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alison and Don / May 14 2017 1:28 am

        Oh do go! It’s absolutely gorgeous. The gardens are exquisite.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / May 14 2017 1:50 am

        We’ll try. Thanks for the encouragement.


  7. spearfruit / May 13 2017 6:46 am

    The exhibition is amazing, and very interesting facts along with it. Thank you Peggy, for allowing me to see these and learn something new today. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Colors of my life / May 13 2017 8:27 am

    I like the details. You said it was painted in early 1900?

    Amazing the way he captured it. The photos didn’t did the justice since it can’t. Something can’t be captured through lens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 13 2017 3:27 pm

      So true, the lens can capture only so much, but never all. The exhibition opened around 1920, so Monet had to have painted them before that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Colors of my life / May 13 2017 6:07 pm

        Wow wow wow..Glad you shared something which is that old and unique. I don’t know how they are maintaining it. It’s also very interesting

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / May 13 2017 7:00 pm

        Maintenance must be an issue, but they are doing it well because the colours are so vibrant to this day.


  9. gerard oosterman / May 13 2017 8:44 am

    Mesmerizing. And Monet suffered cataracts! Old Vincent was deaf and so was Beethoven. No disability for genius.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 13 2017 3:28 pm

      Good point, Gerard. It prompts me to think of people who are talented foot and mouth painters.


  10. Vicki / May 13 2017 10:06 am

    Those paintings are enormous and of course, having studied art at school, I’m familiar with them. I admit I didn’t know there were so many though. I’ll bet if the parents talked about those paintings to their child, she’ll remember the conversations (just as one little girl I looked after working as her live-in Nanny remembered all the galleries and shows I took her to during the daytime).

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 13 2017 3:31 pm

      Like you I never knew there were 250 water lily paintings. And I agree that the child is more likely to remember the experience if the adults spoke of it and explained the art. It seemed to me that the parents were enjoying and sharing the experience too.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Akuokuo / May 13 2017 10:20 am

    Wonderful photos, story and exhibit! Looks like it’s chilly there…?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 / May 13 2017 11:02 am

    It has been many years since I first saw this lovely painting. Now, as an artist losing my sight, it was so nice to see your closeup enlargements. Monet, as you may know was particularly fond of painting water, so this gave him great pleasure I know. During his early years, when he signed his name with a small “m” he did many water paintings. Thank you for this Peggy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 13 2017 4:04 pm

      Thanks so much for commenting. It makes me happier than ever that I included the close-ups.


  13. Chez @ Chez Moi / May 13 2017 3:09 pm

    How lucky you are to have seen this! I remember studying Monet in art history class many years ago. We did a whole term on the Impressionists and Monet was one of my favourites. Such dreamy images.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 13 2017 3:33 pm

      That’s a perfect description—dreamy. And yes, we were very lucky to see these pieces.


  14. The Whitechapel Whelk / May 13 2017 5:36 pm

    Well-written and lively as ever. I think Melania Trump visits an orangerie on a fairly regular basis you know. A complexion like hers doesn’t lie.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. derrickjknight / May 13 2017 5:45 pm

    A great record, both verbally and pictorially, Peggy

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The Year I Touched My Toes / May 13 2017 6:26 pm

    OH so gorgeous. I haven’t been here. t+Thank you for sharing Peggy. There is something about photos of people in galleries viewing the art. I love them. I have some collecting waiting for new myblog…. whenever that happens. What a beautiful space it looks. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 13 2017 6:54 pm

      It’s a wonderful space and I was impressed with the exhibition hall downstairs—coming soon! And yes, I love pics of people viewing art.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Green Global Trek / May 13 2017 6:46 pm

    Mmmmm one of my very favorite museums in Paris! The actual gardens, if you go get a chance to go to? are of course absolutely lovely to see. Especially after seeing the paintings!


    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 13 2017 6:55 pm

      I’ve been to those lovely gardens before, but somehow never in to the museum. A time for everything. 🙂


  18. shehannemoore / May 13 2017 7:32 pm

    Breath taking. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for this

    Liked by 1 person

  19. pvcann / May 14 2017 12:06 am

    wonderful, saw the travelling show in 98, but not this beauty, great to see it through your lens.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. susan@onesmallwalk / May 14 2017 12:21 am

    Peggy – How could I not know these paintings were so large??? A lifetime looking at photos of the real things has narrowed my perspective.Thanks for bringing me back to reality 🙂 – Susan

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 14 2017 1:48 am

      Most of Monet’s water lily paintings are much smaller, but these are huge.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Christy B / May 14 2017 2:29 am

    Spectacular! I can only imagine how exciting it would be to see the water lilies in person

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 14 2017 5:22 am

      The paintings are amazing to see in person, and I think it would be wonderful see Monet’s garden in Giverny.


  22. lexklein / May 14 2017 3:36 am

    I enjoyed these paintings in Paris a few years ago with my sister, but any Monet exhibit takes me back to a time when your question about the little girl remembering comes into play. When my daughter was about 4-5 years old, she went through a very short period of separation anxiety, and one day I gave in and took her with me to a huge, blockbuster Monet exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. We got in before the crowds, and she was mesmerized by the paintings, especially the water lilies. She has never forgotten that special day with mom, and years later, when we went to Monet’s garden, it was like déjà vu for her!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 14 2017 5:23 am

      What a wonderful memory for both of you. Thanks so much for sharing it here.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Brenda / May 14 2017 6:32 am

    My goodness, you are hitting some wonderful museums! I don’t know if I’m more envious of the waterlilies or the tapestry. So much beauty to absorb. And it looks like that little munchkin in pink is getting an early start on appreciating the wonders of Monet. I am very much enjoying your trip vicariously.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 14 2017 6:35 am

      Thanks Brenda. It was such a delight to see one so young be so animated by the art. I wonder when we’ll be seeing her work on a wall. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Deb / May 14 2017 11:41 am

    So beautiful, would love to view them in person. Your Little Miss looks like a cutie, I wonder if she will remember when she’s older. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 14 2017 1:43 pm

      She is showing plenty of interest. I hope she does remember.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Deb / May 14 2017 2:11 pm

        That would be wonderful. Who knows maybe she’ll become an artist.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Forestwoodfolkart / May 14 2017 10:04 pm

    Like others, I never realized that they were so BIG. I had one of the Monet water lillies print in my room for years. Interesting about the cataracts too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 15 2017 1:10 am

      These particular water lily paintings are huge, but others are much smaller—maybe 1/4 the size. I thought the cataracts were interesting too. I wonder if the paintings reflect what he really saw?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Forestwoodfolkart / May 15 2017 7:11 am

        Absolutely, my thoughts too! Still a fantastic painter given that piece of information.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. wfdec / May 14 2017 11:02 pm

    I know Monet is important in many ways and his painting brilliant, But I have seen Picasso’s Guernica and I need never look any other place.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Redazione / May 15 2017 7:03 am

    Reblogged this on Meet The Artists – Art Box.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. milliethom / May 15 2017 7:30 am

    Another great museum, Peggy and I enjoyed reading a little bit about Monet himself. My parents weren’t ‘into’ art, so art galleries didn’t feature in my life as a child. I think most children would be fascinated by Monet’s colourful paintings. They’re definitely eye-catching.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 15 2017 3:46 pm

      Art was part of my childhood, but I suppose it helped that one of my cousins was a well-known American artist. My grandmother loved to paint too.


  29. Catnip Blog / May 15 2017 1:18 pm

    Leggy P. Lovely lovely post, made even better by the “little Miss”.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. jeanleesworld / Dec 24 2020 11:26 pm

    These are so beautiful, Peggy! I hope the little one does remember this day–and that you’re having a lovely Christmas Day! xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 24 2020 11:32 pm

      Thanks Jean. We’re having a loving Christmas even if family can’t be with us. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season. Sending hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

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