York Art Gallery

National Treasures: Monet in York ‘The Water-Lily Pond’
10 May – 8 September 2024

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Monet’s ‘The Water-Lily Pond’ will be the central feature of a major new exhibition at York Art Gallery to mark the 200th anniversary of the National Gallery on 10 May 2024.

Painted by one of the founders of the Impressionist movement Claude Monet (1840-1926), ‘The Water-Lily Pond’ (1899) will be the centrepiece of an exhibition which will bring together key loans from regional and national institutions alongside collection works, and a large-scale commission by contemporary artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan. Monet’s canvas will be explored in the context of 19th-century French open-air painting, pictures by his early mentors, and the Japanese prints which transformed his practice and beloved gardens in Giverny. By displaying canvases by those contemporaries he inspired, as well as more modern artworks and a new commission, the exhibition will reveal how Monet’s radical approach to painting had, and continues to have, an enduring influence on artists.

In 1893 Monet bought a plot of land next to his house in Giverny. He had already planted a colourful flower garden, but now he wanted to create a water garden “both for the pleasure of the eye and for the purpose of having subjects to paint”. He enlarged the existing pond, filling it with exotic new hybrid water lilies, and built a bridge at one end, inspired by examples seen in Japanese prints. The water garden became the main obsession of Monet’s later career. The National Gallery’s 1899 ‘The Water-Lily Pond’ painting was amongst his earlier canvases on this theme.

In the Gallery, Monet will be joined by works from our own collection, key loans from national and regional museums, and a vibrant new commission by contemporary artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan. In the gardens nearby, a wildflower meadow has  been planted with frames around the gardens to encourage audiences to get creative and engage in open-air sketching.

National Treasures is a key strand of the National Gallery’s programme celebrating the Gallery’s Bicentenary. Each partner venue will receive a masterpiece from the Gallery’s collection. For the duration of the displays, 35 million people – more than half the UK population – will be within an hour’s journey of a National Gallery masterpiece.

The exhibition at York Art Gallery is supported by wealth management company JM Finn and Little Greene Paint Company as the official paint partner.

More information about Michaela Yearwood-Dan can be found here

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926), The Water-Lily Pond, 1899 © The National Gallery, London