Around 1887, inspired by the lily pond in the garden of his house in Giverny where he had been living since 1883, Monet began to work on an extensive series of lily pictures. Monet adored the landscape around Giverny, 60 kilometers north of Paris, as he could find ideal motifs for his meadow and water landscapes there. Fundamental for Monet’s work on the Grande Décoration was, however, a piece of land with a small stream and pond he bought in 1893. The first series of lily paintings were exhibited by his Paris art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel in 1900; these were followed in 1909 by a second series of 48 paintings entitled Nymphéas, series de paysages d’eau. The painting in Essen belongs to a third series of large format studies of lilies which Monet began in 1914. These studies of nature were not intended for the public, serving instead as a ‘sketchbook’ for the artist – who had been suffering an ever-worsening eye disease since 1912 – for his work on large, decorative canvases. Still today we are fascinated by the extent to which Monet used isolated landscape motifs in order to further develop his painting and to depict both depth of the sky and the flowing movement of the light within the surface of the water (and thus the painting). Monet worked from 1916 to 1923 on a large format lily painting which he presented to his friend Georges Clemenceau and to the French nation in celebration of the victorious conclusion of the First World War. The painting is today in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.