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Claude Monet's November 11

On November 11, 1918, at 5:15 a.m., the armistice was signed, which temporarily put an end to the fighting in the Great War. The ceasefire is effective at 11 a.m. The next day, November 12, Claude Monet wrote to Georges Clemenceau: “I am on the eve of finishing two decorative panels that I want to sign on Victory Day and have come to ask you to offer them to the State, through you; it's a small thing but it's the only way I have to take part in Victory. […] I admire you and embrace you with all my heart”

John Constable. The Gleaners Brighton. 1824 . Tate Britain
Claude Monet devant ses "grandes décorations". Photo © collection Philippe Piguet

From November 18, Clemenceau is in Giverny with Gustave Geoffroy to visit Monet. He chooses two panels whose series will be called Les Nymphéas. Four years later, Monet will have completed his donation with other "decorations", nineteen panels in total forming "12 compositions which will be modifiable during installation".

After having considered showing them for a time in a building set up in the gardens of the Rodin Museum, Georges Clemenceau and Paul Léon, director of the Fine Arts office, designed to display them by fitting out the Orangerie des Tuileries. That takes time. The Tiger is no longer in power, Monet's eyesight drops, he dithers, decides to give up, is scolded by Clemenceau, resumes work, works hard.

John Constable. Flatford Mill. 1816. Tate Britain
Georges Clemenceau à l'inauguration des Décorations de Monet à l'Orangerie des Tuileries. 1927. © DR

Monet will have kept his panels until his death in December 1926. Six months later, on May 17, 1927, his friend Clemenceau will inaugurate the decorations at the Orangerie des Tuileries, according to the installation desired by Monet with the help of the architect Camille Lefebvre.


Jardin des Tuileries

Place de la Concorde (côté Seine)

75001 Paris


Dans ses conférences d'histoire de l'art, Fabrice Roy conjugue le passé au présent, dans une évocation poétique et ludique du 19ème siècle français...



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