Monet’s water lilies masterpiece to be shown in UK for the first time

Painting from Paris is included in an exhibition at London's Dulwich Picture Gallery dedicated to Helen Frankenthaler to show similarities in painting style between the two artists

Claude Monet’s Water Lilies and Agapanthus (1914-17) Courtesy of the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris

One of Claude Monet’s most celebrated paintings, Water Lilies and Agapanthus (1914-17), will be shown in the UK for the first time in an exhibition of works at Dulwich Picture Gallery in south London dedicated to the late Abstract Expressionist artist Helen Frankenthaler.

The Radical Beauty show (15 September-18 April 2022) examines Frankenthaler’s revolutionary approach to the woodcut, positioning her as one of the “medium’s great innovators”, say the exhibition organisers. The Monet painting, loaned by the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, will go on show alongside Frankenthaler’s 1979 piece Feather which comes from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation in New York.

Monet's work depicts the wispy agapanthus plant that grew along the sides of the pond at his Giverny home. The painting was acquired by the museum in 1966 when Monet's son Michel donated more than 100 canvases by the Impressionist master.

Helen Frankenthaler’s Feather (1979) Courtesy of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, New York; and Gagosian, London.

“Both artists have a shared interest in pictorial space and its effect on viewers. Viewing their work is a physical experience and we’re excited that this connection will be drawn out through the display at Dulwich Picture Gallery,” says Marianne Mathieu, the head curator at Musée Marmottan Monet, in a statement.

The links between Abstract Expressionism and Impressionism were explored in a 2018 exhibition, The Water Lilies: American Abstract Painting and the last Monet, at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. The show included Helen Frankenthaler’s Riverhead piece (1963) and Monet’s Nymphéas bleus (1916-19).