Our Artists

Claude Monet

A founder Member of the impressionist movement, Claude Monet revolutionised the art of painting by creating a new artistic style that broke with academicism.  Using light and colour as essential components of his paintings, Monet had to confront the critics before succeeding in imposing his work, the aim of which was to capture a fleeting impression.

Biography

Monet and the origins of Impressionism 

Born on the 14th November 1840, Claude Monet was a precocious artist and sure of his vocation despite his family’s reluctance.  At the age of 15 he met Eugène Boudin, who persuaded him to paint with him out in the open air.  He became his first master and instructor: “My destiny as a painter was fixed purely by the example of this artist, who was totally taken up with his art and independence.”

Monet joined the Gleyre studio in 1862 and it was here that he met Renoir, Sisley and Bazille, who formed the nucleus of the Impressionist group.  His desire for independence and his criticism of academic painting led him to produce some innovative works such as The cliffs at Saint-Adresse (1864), Camille (1866), Women picking flowers (1866), Luncheon on the Grass (1866) and The Magpie (1868).  Monet and his friends painted in the open air, in the Paris region and on the Normandy coast, mainly for the effects of light and the colour that fascinated them.  Constantly in search of inspiration and new pictorial themes, their main concern, however, was to manage to exhibit their paintings.
 

The birth of the Impressionist Movement in the face of the critics

1869 marked a turning point for Monet’s work when he painted a series of paintings with Renoir at La Grenouillère (Bathers at La Grenouillère, The Seine at Bougival in the evening).  These paintings, produced with rapid, vigorous touches of colour, were the start of a new artistic style, dominated by impression.
In 1870, Monet married Camille Doncieux, his model and the mother of his son, Jean.  The family went into exile in London during the war, where Monet discovered the painting of Turner.  On his return to France, he set up in Argenteuil and painted Regatta at Argenteuil (1872), Poppies (1873) and Woman with a parasol (1875). In 1874, when official art circles were becoming more and more hostile, Monet and his friends founded the Impressionist Group; the movement owed its name to the Monet’s painting Impression, Rising sun.  There followed decades of struggle, during which the painter had to bear the scorn of a public antagonistic towards any new form of art. Despite great financial difficulty, he continued to exhibit with his group and painted the watery landscapes of Argenteuil and Véthueil, and his masterpiece Saint Lazare Station (1877). Camille died in 1879, shortly after the birth of their second son, Michel. Monet completed his last portrait, Camille Monet on her deathbed.

The Giverny years (1883 – 1926)

Claude Monet moved to Giverny (Normandy) in 1883 and stayed there until his death in 1926.  His works began to draw the attention of the public and the critics, bringing him fame and fortune.  He married Alice Hoschédé in 1892.  Still fascinated by light, he began to paint “in series”, the same subject under different light conditions.  This was how he produced the series of haystacks over a period of two years: Haystacks, snow effect, morning (1890), Haystacks, end of summer, morning (1891), Haystacks in the sunset close to Giverny (1891), Haystacks at sunset close to Giverny (1891).  He also painted his famous series of views of Rouen Cathedral in the period 1893 to 1894.

Passionate about plants, he transformed his garden and built his famous lily pond.  Water lilies were the main theme of his last works: Water lilies (1899), The Japanese bridge at Giverny (1899), Water lilies (1914 & 1917).
The father of the Impressionist movement, Monet described it in his own way a short time before he died: “I have always hated theories...All I did was to paint directly, before nature, trying to capture my impressions of the most fleeting effects”.

Works

Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe, Luncheon on the Grass, 1866
Femmes au jardin, Women in a garden, 1866
La Grenouillère, Bathers at La Grenouillère, 1869
Régates à Argenteuil, Regatta at Argenteuil, 1872
Impression, Soleil Levant, Impression, sunrise, 1873
La gare Saint-Lazare, Saint Lazare Station, 1877
La Seine à Vétheuil, The Seine at Vétheuil,1880
Etretat: la plage et la porte d'Amont, Etretat: the beach and the Amont Gate, 1883
Effet de vent, série des peupliers, Poplars, wind effect, 1891
La cathédrale de Rouen, plein soleil, Rouen Cathedral, full sunshine, 1893
La cathédrale de Rouen, effet du matin, Rouen Cathedral, early morning light1893
Le bassin aux nymphéas, harmonie rose, The Water lily pond, symphony in pink, 1900
Londres, le Parlement. Trouée de soleil dans le brouillard, London, Houses of Parliament, sunlight through the fog, 1904
Nymphéas bleus, Blue Water lilies, 1919

Useful links

The Claude Monet Foundation
The Claude Monet Gardens
Musée Marmottan Monet

Claude Monet 's products at Nouvelles Images

> Prints and posters

Prints and posters The artist's garden at Giverny Prints and posters Spring Prints and posters Water Lilies Prints and posters Water Lilies, Effects at the Evening
Identity

Nationality(ies) : French
Born on : 14/11/1840
Died on : 05/12/1926
Profile : Painter
Artistic current(s) : Impressionism
Theme(s) covered : Love - friendship, Art of living, Flowers - plants, Still life, Landscapes - Nature, Portraits - Characters

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