(1840 – 1926)
photo by Nadar
On November 14, 1840, French painter Claude Monet was born. He is considered the founder of French impressionist painting as well as the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature.
At the age of 5, Claude Monet’s father announced that he would have to go into the family’s grocery business, but Claude thought otherwise. The young boy made clear that he was going to become an artist and six years later, he enrolled at “Le Havre” secondary school of arts. In this period, he became quite known for his caricatures, which he also sold. In these years, he also got to know Eugène Boudin, wo taught him to use oils paints and numerous painting techniques.
After school, Monet traveled to Paris and lived there for a couple of years. There are stories about the painter, telling that he noticed how fellow artists used to copy the illustrated paintings. Instead of doing the same, it is said that Monet took a seat by the window and painted what he saw outside. During this period, he got to know many artists, including Édouard Manet, who later became famous for his Impressionist paintings as well. Under the influence of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille and Alfred Sisley, Monet tried out several new approaches to art, like dealing with the light effects ‘en plein air’ that later became famous for Impressionism. Monet earned the first major recognition in Paris through the paintings ‘The Woman in the Green Dress’ and ‘Camille’, painted in 1867.
|Woman in a Garden
In the following years, Monet moved to England due to the Franco-Prussian War and was highly influenced by artists like William Turner or Joseph Mallord. Before spending a short time in the Netherlands, Monet returned to France. He painted pictures like ‘Impression, Sunrise’, which was displayed at the very first Impressionist exhibition in 1874.Through this picture, the term Impressionism was coined by Louis Leroy. During this period, Monet also started painting works of modern life, but a difficult period arose when his wife Camille passed away at very young age. Still, Monet managed to create several masterpieces including landscaped and seascapes. When Claude Monet discovered Giverny in the Normandy, he almost instantly moved there, started plating an impressive garden and spent the rest of his life at this place.
During his time in Giverny, Monet’s paintings began selling better and better. He started painting whole picture series such as ‘Haystacks’ and once more travaled around Europe for a while, creating important picture series. Claude Monet passed away on 5 December, 1926 and was buried in Giverny. Posthumously, several of his paintings were sold for multiple million dollars
At yovisto, you may be interested in the video lecture Impressionism Pt 1: The Heroicization of Modern Life by Dr. Parme Giutini at Otis College of Modern Art. Discover why the subject of gardens, Paris street scenes, ballet, and women with children, however, caused much concern in the 19th Century!
References and Further Reading:
- Monet at Metropolitan Museum Publications
- Claude Monet by himself
- Biography of Claude Monet
- Monet Collection at MoMA
- Claude Monet at Wikidata
- Timeline for Claude Monet, via Wikidata
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