The Path through the Irises, 1914-17. Claude Monet. Oil on canvas. The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 2001, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002.
Irises, among Monet's favorite flowers, lined the pathways leading up to the house and Japanese bridge on the artist's property at Giverny. This bird's-eye view of a garden path belongs to a series of monumental works painted during the First World War that capture the vital essence of these flowers with intensity and breadth of vision. Late in life, as his eyesight faltered, he dispensed with subtlety and "took in the motif in large masses," waiting "until the idea took shape, until the arrangement and composition inscribed themselves on the brain."