Following his move to Giverny in 1883 and the exhibition in 1900 of his first series of paintings of the water garden (including 'The Water-Lily Pond'), Monet conceived the idea of an ambitious decoration recreating the effect of the garden on a larger scale. A studio was built in 1916 to accommodate the large canvases the painter was working on.
After his death a group of nineteen of these paintings were presented to the nation and installed in the Orangerie in Paris. This work is one of a number of canvases painted at the same period, but not included in the final scheme. Almost abstract in effect, it shows a close-up of the surface of the pond with groups of lilies highlighted against the shadows of trees in a rich colour harmony of green, blue and pink.