Documentation regarding the condition of Les Nymphéas [The Water Lilies] and restorations

Quelques visiteurs dans la seconde salle des Nymphéas, 1930
© Albert Harlingue / Albert Harlingue / Roger-Viollet
Corps de texte

The physical condition and the various restorations or other operations performed on Les Nymphéas [The Water Lilies] at the Orangerie are recorded in the museum documentation. Correspondence, restoration reports, summaries and statements of condition are the main types of document available in this archive. Once they had been mounted and installed on the walls of the building in 1927, the question of the condition of the paintings does not appear to have been considered before the Second World War, when the possibility of taking the works down and putting them in a safe place was assessed.

The plan was abandoned owing to the fragility of the pictorial layer, and in August 1944, some panels were hit by shells during the Liberation of Paris. Henceforth, work began on both the masonry and the damaged areas of the pictorial layer.

At the end of the 1940s, questions began to be asked about climate and light control in the environment where the works were kept. Numerous operations and condition reports followed and continue to this day, ranging from simple dusting to using the very latest techniques.

While most of the documents in this archive are in paper format (written reports, analog photographs, drawings on paper or tracing paper, etc.), the most recent statements are in the form of digital documents and photographs.


The Water Lilies after August 25, 1944
Les Nymphéas après le 25 août 1944


In addition, researchers can find further information in the documentation of the C2RMF (French Museums Research and Restoration Center) (Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France).