Water Lilies

Mark Tansey (American, born 1949)

1994. Oil on canvas, 60 x 192". 1994.009

Mark Tansey’s monochrome paintings are thoughtful and often witty “takes” on the history and theories of art. This is one of Tansey’s historic fictions about one of Modernism’s most respected icons—Claude Monet, whose great Impressionist pictures of water lilies were concerned with color and light. Tansey was inspired by reading about the 1910 flood of Monet’s water-lily garden at Giverny, France, and Tansey’s Water Lilies focuses on water and its many states—from the cracked ice invading the placid waters on the left to the turbulent waters flowing over a broken dam on the right. At the center top is the upside- down reflection of Monet, who is engaged in turning a wheel to control the flow of water.

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