The Water Lilies 
Painting Music

The Water Lilies colored musical scores

Presentation of the Series since its creation

What if the Water Lilies hadn't revealed all their secrets? 

Over a hundred years ago, Claude Monet gifted France his Water Lilies, the final Impressionist compositions of a painter in the twilight of his life, created as modern art was emerging. Criticised, rejected by critics and Parisian society, and ignored by the public, they later became a national treasure.

Having rediscovered the Water Lilies "as a painter," and with a very special permission from the Musée de l'Orangerie, Gabrielle Thierry had the incredible opportunity to come  and paint in the oval rooms a hundred times in order to "reinterpret" them. This was a unique authorization in the museum's history!

These 300 hours spent in front of these 8 monumental paintings were moments of great emotion and creation. The series, created between 2010 and 2012, consists of as many "Colored Scores" and spans over 22 linear meters of painting.

Artist in Residence at the Musée de l'Orangerie

Here are a few images of Gabrielle Thierry's work immersed in the oval halls of the Musée de l'Orangerie, among the public or alone in the secret of the Water Lilies.
With the museum team, a unique installation of Gabrielle Thierry's colored musical scores alongside Claude Monet's paintings, a unique moment of communion between the two arts... Music in suspension.

"La Musicalités des Nymphéas"  ©️ADAGP/gabriellethierry.com

At the museum, in video and music 

This video is in two parts:
- how the works were produced at the Musée de l'Orangerie between 2010 and 2012, the dyptic paintings are transported on a easel to the annex of the first oval room, visiting school groups, etc...
- 4 of these 8 new "Nymphéas" are on display at the Musée with their colorful music: Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Liszt, Shostakovich, Schubert.

The Water Lilies Gallery

Colored musical scores

The body of work created from the Musée de l’Orangerie is significant. Each panel by Claude Monet is transcribed onto canvases at a quarter scale. The 8 paintings and diptychs form a set of over 22 linear meters. The process is lengthy; Gabrielle paints with extra-fine oil paint on linen canvases, employing a technique inherited from the Renaissance. Gabrielle Thierry is the only artist to have worked in front of Monet's works at the Musée de l’Orangerie. Additionally, about 15 gouache studies on paper were also drawn there. (Complete corpus available upon request)


Musical Qualities of the Water Lilies, Les deux saules , Oil on canvas - diptych 50x424cm / 16,9x167 in

F.Schubert - Moments Musicaux n°3

Musical Qualities of the Water Lilies, Matin clair aux saules , Oil on canvas - diptych 50x320cm / 16,9x 126 in 

J.-S.Bach   - Inventions n°1”  BWV 772, par, Piano

Musical Qualities of the Water Lilies, Matin clair aux saules, Oil on canvas - diptych 50x320cm / 16,9x 126 in 

F.Liszt - La Vallée d’Obermann

Musical Qualities of the Water Lilies, Reflets d’arbres, Oil on canvas - 50x212cm /16,9x83,5 in

D. Shostakovich - String Quartet No. 8 - Op. 110, I. Largo

Musical Qualities of the Water Lilies, Soleil Couchant , Oil on canvas - 50x150cm /16,9x59 in

Music : Castelnuovo-Tedesco - Tonadilla sul nome di Andrès Segovia

Iris & B.Gerald Cantor Art Gallery

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, presented the complete series of the French artist's Water Lilies in the exhibition "Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies/La Musicalité des Nymphéas" in 2017.

Iris and B.Gerald Cantor are great collectors of Rodin, and their commitment to French art is unwavering. Lectures, workshops, and concerts were organized to immerse the public in the music of the Water Lilies. The public was able to discover these works from a new perspective, to see the music of its water landscapes, to listen to the colors, and to understand the evocative power of synesthesia and abstraction.

A commission named" Last Reflection of Ophelia" and preparatory drawings joined the prestigious collection of the Cantor Art Gallery. The Water Lilies returned to France for an exhibition.

From Impressionism to geometric abstraction

For Gabrielle, Monet's Water Lilies are semi-abstract landscapes imbued with a music of their own, sensitive and discreet. Gradually, the audience is immersed in the reflections of this pond, with the feeling of being transported to another world. For Gabrielle, the aesthetics and emotions are very close to that of music. She sees and hears the movements of Schubert, the structure of Bach, the colors of Beethoven, and the dark thoughts of Shostakovich in them. These Water Lilies are imposing not only because of their size, but also because of the strong and powerful music that sometimes emanates from them. For the artist, there is in Monet's painting a complex construction made of multiple forms, arranged like a musical space - geometric, abstract, and inherently colorful.


L'esthétique musicale de l'eau, Luxembourg

The musicality of Les Nymphéas, a poetics of reflections on water in "L'esthétique musicale de l'eau, Ophelia", Luxembourg University

"Breaking, the Waves: Water (Issues) in Contemporary Verbal and Visual Arts", Melusina Press, 2023 (In French)



Inhexaustible source 
of inspiration

Monet's Water Lilies have been a source of inspiration for many artists. This is the only inspiration in geometric abstraction. 

"Les Nymphéas, une inexépuisable source d'inspiration", Article published in the "Revue Internationale d'Art et d'Artologie" specializing in aesthetics and the "Effet de vie" of works of art. 2018


Forme et réception

"Color partitions in Claude Monet's Water Lilies, and the Aesthetics of forms in music", 

Forme et Réception. Rencontres interartistiques de l'Effet de vie, edited by Marc-Mathieu Münch (Université de Loraine, Metz) - in French

Published by Honoré Champion, 2004

Clin d'œil on TV5 monde

Culture Prime'

As part of #dessinetafenetre, the confinenement project, director Frantz Vaillant wanted to highlight the Water Lilies project.

On TV5 Monde, Culture Prime, February 2021, over 300K views!

 Friends of the Musée d'Orsay

"The colors of water... on the road to Giverny"

The Société des Amis du Musée d'Orsay in association with "Normandie Impressionniste" has organized a visit to the "Signac" exhibition in Giverny for its members and benefactors, in April 2013. 

On this occasion, it is proposing a visit to Gabrielle's studio in Andrésy, on the road to Giverny, where "Friends" will be able to discover, among the latest works, the "Partitions colorées des Nymphéas" series.

Piano Concert Exhibition

Exhibition, music and talk at the Piano Hanlet

Exhibition of the colored score "Les 2 saules" from the series "La Musicalité des Nymphéas" at Hanlet Pianos during the "Peindre la Musique" exhibition,
Numerous concerts were given to mark the 150th anniversary of Les Pianos Hanlet.
"Les 2 Saules" were "played" by pianist Aïda Mouradian during the musical conference given on this occasion. 

Info + : www.pianoshanlet.fr


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