by Ariane ~ July 21, 2008
When Claude Monet was 70 he conceived a crazy project: huge panels featuring his pond to be glued on the walls of a big oval room.
Somebody standing in the middle of this room would be surrounded by his relaxing work.
It took him ten years to achieve his aim. He had to build a new studio for these over-sized paintings, he became almost blind because of cataract, but he managed to paint 91meter long canvases (almost 300 feet long). They are two meter high, as high as Monet could paint when he stood. Two rooms were eventually necessary to accommodate them.
The Grandes Decorations can be seen in l’Orangerie Museum in Paris on the Place de la Concorde, opposite to Musée d’Orsay. They won’t travel ever, they cannot be dismounted. The museum has just been renovated for six years and these extremely valuable paintings didn’t move while the ceiling of their rooms were opened and transformed.
A last amazing detail about these amazing murals: Monet donated them to the French state to celebrate the victory of 1918. He donated a ten year work!