Claude Monet (1840-1926), was a French painter, recognized, together with Pissaro
as being one of the creators of Impressionism
and was probably the artist most dedicated to observing the Impressionist
principles. His works epitomize the genre and are considered some of the
Monet was born in Paris on November 14, 1840 but all his impressions as
a child and adolescent were linked with Le Havre, the town to which his
family moved about 1845. His father had a grocery store there. In his youth
he painted caricature portraits and exhibited them in the art supplies
store in which Eugène Boudin
worked at the time. Eventually Boudin persuaded the young Monet to paint
in the open air with him and become a landscape painter. His family was
not against his wish to become a painter, but his independent views, criticism
towards academic art and refusal to enter a decent school of art led to
constant quarrels with his family. After finishing his military service
in Algeria (1860-1861) Monet attended the Académie Suisse and there
made the acquaintance of Pissarro
. Later, in
1862, he entered the Atelier Gleyre, where he met Bazille
. In 1860s, the young
artists frequented the Café Guerbois, a place often visited by Emile
Zola and Edouard Manet
An important turning point in Monet’s artistic career came in 1869, when
he and Renoir painted La Grenouillere
a floating restaurant at Bougival. The canvases they produced marked the
emergence of a new artistic movement, Impressionism, called so later.
In 1870, Monet married his model Camille Doncieux
(died in 1879), who bore him his son Jean
in 1879 their second son, Michael, was born. Camille sat for many of Monet's
pictures, e.g. The Walkers,
in the Garden
(all four are Camille),
Walk. Lady with a Parasol, La Japonaise,
and many others. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 and a short
civil war (Commune) that followed, Monet lived in London and was introduced
to Paul Durand-Ruel, a celebrated art dealer, who did much to popularize
Impressionist works. In 1874, in an atmosphere of increasing hostility
on the part of official artistic circles, Monet and his friends formed
a group and exhibited on their own for the first time. One of his works
at this exhibition, Impression: Sunrise
gave its name to the Impessionist movement.
The following years saw a flourishing of Impressionism. Monet took part
in the group’s exhibitions of 1874, 1876, 1877, 1879 and 1882. In those
years he created such masterpieces as La Gare
and Rue Saint-Denis,
Festivities of 30 June, 1878
. However, his canvases found few
buyers. Desperately poor, he constantly looked for places where life was
cheaper, and lived at Argenteuil from 1873 to 1878, at Vétheuil
from 1879 to 1881, at Poissy in 1882, and at Giverny from 1883 until his
In the late 1880s, his painting began to attract the attention of both
the public and critics. Fame brought comfort and even wealth. During that
period the artist was absorbed in painting landscapes in series: The
Rocks of Belle-Ile
(1886), Poplars on
the Bank of the River Epte
on the Banks of the Epte
on the Bank of the River Epte
(1891). Light is always the ‘principal
person’ in Monet’s landscape, and since he was always aiming at seizing
an escaping effect, he adopted a habit of painting the same subject under
different conditions of light, at different times of day. In this way he
painted a series of views, all of the same subject, but all different in
color and lightning.
In 1890, Monet bought the property at Giverny and began work on the series
of haystacks, which he pursued for two years. Monet painted the stacks
in sunny and gray weather, in fog and covered with snow: Haystack,
Snow Effects, Morning
End of the Summer. Morning.
at the Sunset near Giverny
(1891). In 1892 he married Alice
(died in 1911) his old friend.
Monet’s renowned series of the cathedral at Rouen seen under different
light effects was painted from a second-floor window above a shop opposite
the façade. He made eighteen frontal views. Changing canvases with
the light, Monet had followed the hours of the day from early morning with
the façade in misty blue shadow, to the afternoon, when the sunset,
disappearing behind the buildings of the city, weaves the weathered stone
work into a strange fabric of burnt orange and blue: The
Rouen Cathedral. Portail. The Albaine Tower.
Rouen Cathedral at Noon
Rouen Cathedral at Twilight
Rouen Cathedral in the Evening
In 1899, Monet first turned to the subject of water lilies: The
White Water Lilies
(1917), the main theme of his later work. Fourteen large canvases of his
Water lilies series, started in 1916, were bequeathed by him to the State.
In 1927, shortly after the artist’s death, these canvases were placed in
two oval rooms of the Musée de l’Orangerie in the Tuileries Gardens.
Claude Monet. by Ye. Georgievskaya. M. 1968.
Claude Monet. Paintings in Soviet Museums. Aurora. Leningrad.
Claude Monet. by V. Kulakov. Moscow. 1989.
Years at Giverny: Beyond Impressionism by Daniel Wildenstein,
Daniel Wildenstien, James N. Wood (Introduction), Charles S. Moffett. Abradale
Nature into Art by John House. Yale Univ Pr, 1988.
Or the Triumph of Impressionism by Daniel Wildenstein, Gilles
Neret (Editor). TASCHEN America Llc, 1999.
(Art and Ideas) by Carla Rachman. Phaidon Press Inc., 1998.
of Monet's Garden: Bringing the Beauty of Monet's Style to Your Own Garden
by Derek Fell (Photographer). Friedman/Fairfax Publishing.