Painter Claude Monet was born in Paris on 14 novembre 1840
. His family moved to the seaport city of Le Havre ("The Haven"), in Normandie when he was five. His father wanted him to go into the family grocery store business, but Claude Monet wanted to become an artist.
He first became known locally for his charcoal caricatures, which he would sell for ten to twenty francs. On the beaches of Normandie, he met fellow artist Eugéne Boudin, who became his mentor and taught him to use oil paints. Boudin taught Monet en plein air
, outdoor, techniques for painting.
When Monet travelled to Paris to visit la Louvre
, he would see many painters imitating famous artists' work. Monet, having brought his paints and other tools with him, would instead go and sit by a window and paint what he saw.
Monet served in the army in Algeria for two years of a seven-year commitment (1860 - 1862), but upon his contracting typhoid, his aunt, Madame Lecadre, intervened to get him out of the army if he agreed to complete an art course at a university.
Disillusioned with the traditional art taught at universities, instead in 1862 he joined the studio of Charles Gleyre in Paris, where he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frederic Bazille, and Alfred Sisley. Together they shared new approaches to art, which later came to be known as impressionism, featuring open spaces and light painted with thick brushstrokes.
During the Franco-Prussian War (1870 - 1871), Monet took refuge in England. There he studied the works of John Constable and J.M.W. Turner
. Turner, who died in 1851, had a remarkable influence on the painting style that came to be known as "Impressionism." Turner, fascinated with the violence and energy of nature, shows a freedom of brushwork reflecting this. Turner achieved a rare luminous, almost water-color quality in his late oil paintings. Thus many elements of the late Turner appealed to Monet and his circle.
Monet influenced art by trying to paint his personal, spontaneous response to outdoor scenes or events. Earlier artists had also painted outdoor studies rapidly--almost in shorthand. But they used such studies as "notes" for more elaborate pictures painted in the studio. Monet was the most important of the artists who first allowed their initial impressions of outdoor scenes to stand as complete works. He was especially concerned with the effect of outdoor light and atmosphere. This concern can be seen in his La Grenouillere
(1869) and Old St. Lazare Station
, Paris (1877).
Upon returning to France, in 1872 he painted Impression, soleil levant
, Impression, Sunrise, depicting a Le Havre landscape. It hung in the first impressionist exhibition in 1874 and is now displayed in the Musée Marmottan-Monet, Paris. From the painting's title, art critic Louis Leroy coined the term "impressionism".
Monet's fascination with light led him to paint several series of pictures showing the effect of sunlight on a subject. For example, he painted views of the Rouen cathedral under changing atmospheric conditions and at different hours of the day. "Rouen Cathedral, Full Sunlight
," is one of twenty in his Rouen Cathedral series.
In 1883, Monet settled in Giverny
in haut Normandie
. There, at his country home, he painted garden scenes. In addition, he painted a series of large pictures of water lilies. The freely brushed colors of the lilies influenced later abstract painters. Due to cataracts, Monet was almost blind when he painted the les Nymphéas
, "Water Lillies." Thinking of the sufferings World War I had caused, Monet gave his "Water Lillies" series to France "as a bouquet to my country." This series is popularly sold as posters, but what the posters cannot convey is the size of these paintings. They fill entire walls where they are housed at l'Orangerie
in Paris. (Forth image
on the left.)
He died at his farm in Giverny on le 5 décembre 1926