My Paris Favorite: Claude Monet, the Water Lilies, and L’Orangerie

“Thanks to water, [Monet] has become the painter of what we cannot see. He addresses that invisible spiritual surface that separates light from reflection. Airy azure captive of liquid azure … Color rises from the bottom of the water in clouds, in whirlpools.”

Claude Monet, Water Lilies, Paris and L’Orangerie

This month, I’m sharing some of my favorite photographs from Art around Europe that I was able to see during my time living there.

My family and I visited L’Orangerie in Paris and were able to see Claude Monet’s Water Lilies paintings. The exhibit is stunning, and these are my photographs of the Water Lilies.

all photographs: paintings of Les Nympheas by Claude Monet from Musee l'Orangerie, Paris
all photographs: paintings of Les Nympheas by Claude Monet from Musee l’Orangerie, Paris

Even after walking along the Seine, through the Tuileries Gardens, around the Eiffel Tower and Arc D’ Triumph and Trocodero, and after mass at the Notre Dame on Ile d’Cite,  Musée de l’Orangerie in Jardin des Tuileries was my favorite in all of Paris, even after I’ve visited the city many times.

Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L'Orangerie, Paris
Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L’Orangerie, Paris

For as long as I can remember, Claude Monet has been one of my favorite artists; his Impressionistic style has always resonated with me deeply. As a teen, I bought posters of the Water Lilies and kept them framed and hanging on walls of my room, wherever I moved. So to see Monet’s actual work, up close and personal, was a dream.

Jennifer Lyn King at L'Orangerie in Paris with Monet's Water Lilies
Jennifer Lyn King at L’Orangerie in Paris with Monet’s Water Lilies

It is difficult to explain in mere words the substantive presentation of Monet’s Les Nympheas (The Water Lilies) … so I’m including several photographs, along with quotes from Monet, to better portray his masterpieces and their sheer beauty.

Water Lily, by Claude Monet,
Water Lily, by Claude Monet,

“It took me time to understand my waterlilies. I had planted them for the pleasure of it; I grew them without ever thinking of painting them.” -Claude Monet

photo of Monet's Water Lily paintings in L'Orangerie, Paris
photo of Monet’s Water Lily paintings in L’Orangerie, Paris

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.”

Monet, L'Orangerie, Paris
Monet, L’Orangerie, Paris

“I can only draw what I see.”

Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L'Orangerie, Paris
Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L’Orangerie, Paris

“Everything I have earned has gone into these gardens.” (on his gardens at Giverny)

Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L'Orangerie, Paris
Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L’Orangerie, Paris

“Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.”

Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L'Orangerie, Paris
Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L’Orangerie, Paris

“It took me time to understand my waterlilies. I had planted them for the pleasure of it; I grew them without ever thinking of painting them.”

Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L'Orangerie, Paris
Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L’Orangerie, Paris

“I know that to paint the sea really well, you need to look at it every hour of every day in the same place so that you can understand its way in that particular spot and that is why I am working on the same motifs over and over again, four or six times even.”

Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L'Orangerie, Paris
Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L’Orangerie, Paris

“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.”

Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L'Orangerie, Paris
Claude Monet, The Water Lilies, L’Orangerie, Paris

Starting the Discussion: What art inspires you? Who is your favorite artist? Do you have a favorite art museum you go to for inspiration?

Published by Jennifer Lyn Art

About Jennifer Writer Author Photographer Artist Corporate Marketer Happy Wife & Mom World Traveler Grateful.

14 thoughts on “My Paris Favorite: Claude Monet, the Water Lilies, and L’Orangerie

  1. That’s beautiful,Jennifer. Thanks for sharing. Reminded me that last time visited the museum was in 1987. It’s definitely time again!

  2. What gorgeous photos! I loved Monet as a child too and still find his work so calming. Your photos are great- thanks for letting us feel as if we were there!

  3. Monet is one of my favourites…. saw some of his water lilies in New York 2 years ago and was amazed. The detail in the flesh is wonderful…. one of my favourite books is “Light” by Eva Figes , a wonderful evocation of light and how a painter like Monet might have seen it.

    1. I also thought his actual work had a different depth to it, especially as the daylight moved and changed in intensity. The colors of the Water Lilies looked different. Yes, seeing Monet’s work in person is unforgettable. I hadn’t heard of Light. Thank you for the book recommendation, Christine!

  4. Stunning. I, too, am a Monet fan. I visited the museum in the late 1980s, and your photos provided a splendid revisit. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great photos!Wasnt it forbidden to take photos in Orangerie? Or maybe its a knew rule they did. I went to Paris this may.Anyways,i took many photos hiding myself though. :))

    1. I visited L’Orangerie in 2010, and at the time, we could pay for a photo pass, which I did. I haven’t returned since then, but most of the museums I visited wouldn’t allow photos. I was delighted to be able to photograph the Water Lilies, though. Thanks, Ayse.

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