Lonely Planet Writer

Monet’s famous waterlilies are going on display in the US in 2019

The year of 2019 is already shaping up to be an exciting time for art lovers in San Francisco and Fort Worth, as a special exhibition featuring Monet’s waterlilies (arguably one of the most-loved series ever created) will be travelling to both cities.

Water Lily Pond (Japanese Bridge),1899 oil on canvas.
Water Lily Pond (Japanese Bridge),1899 oil on canvas. Image courtesy of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

On show at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California from 16 Feb to 27 May and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas from 16 June to 15 September, Monet: The Late Years is the first exhibition in over 20 years dedicated to the final phase of the artist’s career. The exhibition will include 60 paintings, and will trace the evolution of Monet’s practice from 1913, when he embarked on a reinvention of his painting style that led to increasingly bold and abstract works, up to his death in 1926.

Monet in His Garden at Giverny, 1921. Image courtesy of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Assembled from major public and private collections in Europe, the United States and Asia, Monet: The Late Years will include more than 20 examples of Monet’s beloved water lily paintings. In addition, the exhibition will also showcase other unfamiliar works from his later years, several of which will be seen for the first time in the United States. “The last dozen years of Monet’s life were a challenging time for the painter, who contended with personal loss and the afflictions of old age in his 70s and 80s,” said exhibition curator George T. M. Shackelford, deputy director of the Kimbell Art Museum. “But they were also among the most triumphant of his long career, because in his mid-70s, Monet decided to reinvent himself, mining his past, yet creating works that looked like nothing he had ever done before.”

Wisteria, 1916–1919 oil on canvas. Image courtesy of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Thematically arranged, the exhibition opens with scenery from Monet’s outdoor studio at Giverny. Paintings from the late 1890s and early 1900s include depictions of the Japanese footbridge, the newly created lily pond and the artist’s house as seen from the rose garden—all sources of inspiration that he revisited later in his career. The exhibition includes pieces from the period between 1914 and 1919, when Monet returned to painting after a hiatus in work prompted by the loss of his second wife, Alice, and his eldest son, Jean. Opening with the vibrant 1914-1917 Water Lilies from the Fine Arts Museums’ collection, the section features a number of the dynamically rendered water lily paintings from this period, along with large-scale floral studies.

More information on the exhibitions is available at the Kimbell Art Museum website and the de Young Museum website.