The Musée de l’Orangerie houses a set of remarkable paintings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries that is unique in France: 146 paintings in the Walter-Guillaume Collection accompany 8 panels in Claude Monet’s Water Lilies cycle.
The Walter-Guillaume Collection reflects the modernist taste of Paul Guillaume, an art dealer with a passion for African and avant-garde art. Close to Apollinaire, he was the assistant in France of Dr. Albert Barnes, and would become a collector himself. Along with works of artists he defended (Modigliani, Albert Derain) or helped discover (Soutine, Le Douanier Rousseau, Marie Laurencin, Utrillo), Guillaume purchased works by major figures of modern art (Cézanne, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso).
Installed in the Orangerie in 1927, just after his death, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies are the final and extraordinary touch of this great painter’s oeuvre. This exceptional series is presented in two oval rooms, with natural lighting from above, in accordance with the will of the artist, who donated his grand decorative cycle to France to celebrate the Armistice, which marked the end of World War One.
Featuring 100 magnificent color reproductions, this book tells the fascinating history of the Walter-Guillaume Collection and presents its major works, before relating the genesis of Monet’s Water Lilies cycle.
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