By 1890, Monet had become financially successful enough to buy the house and 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. Shortly thereafter, the gardens around Monet's Giverny home became the central theme of the artist's work. He paid exacting attention to the details of the garden, including maintaining the pond and plants in a perfect state for painting (see fig. 1). The curator Elizabeth Murray described the artist’s meticulous attention to his garden and its overall aesthetic impact, “The water gardener would row out in the pond in a small green flat-bottomed boat to clean the entire surface. Any moss, algae, or water grasses which grew from the bottom had to be pulled out. Monet insisted on clarity. Next the gardener would inspect the water lilies themselves. Any yellow leaves or spent blossoms were removed. If the plants had become dusty from vehicles passing by on the Chemin du Roy, the dirt road nearby, the gardener would take a bucket of water and rinse off the leaves and flowers, ensuring that the true colors and beauty would shine forth” (Elizabeth Murray, "Monet as a Garden Artist," in Monet, Late Paintings of Giverny from the Musée Marmottan (exhibition catalogue), New Orleans, New Orleans Museum of Art, 1995, p. 53).
On the late summer afternoons when his studio became unbearably hot, Monet would move his easel outdoors and into these lush surroundings at Giverny. Among his favorite motifs were the resplendent roses that adorned his property, including those represented in the present work and the related three images in its series. Depicting the house in the garden from the same viewpoint at various times of the day, this group reveals the west-facing side of the house with the artist's bedroom window clearly visible above the flowers to the right of the building. Painted sometime in the year before his death, La Maison à travers les roses demonstrates the richness of this subject and his unyielding interest in his garden during his final months. While each canvas during his late years was conceived as an individual work, the decorative impact of this painting was influenced by Monet's Grandes décorations project that he was working on during these years (see fig. 2). In some canvases, Monet would stay true to the colors of the actual scene, rendering flecks of white, green and pinks that arched over the pathway to his house. In others, he did little to differentiate the flora and their supporting armature, and his color choices were surprisingly incongruous. The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam acquired the first example of the series for their permanent collection in 1959 (see fig. 3).
Monet's palette is more vibrant than in his earlier floral compositions, and the handling is decidedly more loose and fluid, with flowers indicated by bold strokes of paint. Distinct from his earlier, pre-1910 depictions of his garden at Giverny, these later compositions are remarkably daring. The brushstrokes are heavily laden and equally applied across the surface of the canvas. This painterly technique brings the eye to the surface of the canvas and contends with the illusions of a receding space and a differentiation between the physical properties of the water, foliage and structure. The lasting legacy of Monet’s late work is most clearly seen in the art of the Abstract Expressionists, such as Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Jackson Pollock and Sam Francis, whose bold color planes and rejection of figuration is foreshadowed by Monet’s final works (see fig. 4). As Jean-Dominique Rey writes: "Late Monet is a mirror in which the future can be read. The generation that, in about 1950, rediscovered it, also taught us how to see it for ourselves. And it was Monet who allowed us to recognize this generation. Osmosis occurred between them. The old man, mad about color, drunk with sensation, fighting with time so as to abolish it and place it in the space that sets it free, atomizing it into a sumptuous bouquet and creating a complete film of a 'beyond painting,' remains of consequential relevance today" (Denis Rouart, Jean-Dominique Rey & Robert Maillard, Monet, Nymphéas, Paris, 1972, p. 116).