By 1890, Monet was able to buy the house and a large garden at Giverny which he had rented since 1883. With enormous vigor and determination, he swiftly set about transforming the gardens and creating a large pond for waterlilies. Upon their maturation, these waterlilies offered a wealth of inspiration that Monet went on to explore for the rest of his life (see fig. 1).
His carefully designed garden served as a microcosm in which he could observe and paint the changes in weather, season and time of day, as well as the ever-changing colors and patterns (see fig. 2). John House wrote: "The water garden in a sense bypassed Monet’s long searches of earlier years for a suitable subject to paint. Designed and constantly supervised by the artist himself, and tended by several gardeners, it offered him a motif that was at the same time natural and at his own command—nature re-designed by a temperament. Once again Monet stressed that his real subject when he painted was the light and weather" (John House, Monet, Nature into Art, New Haven, 1986, p. 31).
The present Nymphéas fragment is recorded in the fifth volume of Daniel Wildenstein's catalogue raisonné as a document of Monet's process.
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