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Monet, Claude Biography


Was the leading member of the Impressionist group, and the one who longest practised the principles of absolute fidelity to the visual sensation and painting directly from the object, if necessary out of doors. Cezanne is said to have described him as 'only an eye, but my God what an eye!' Monet was born in Paris but went as a child to Le Havre. There he met Boudin - whose work he did not then like - and was persuaded by him to become a landscape painter; at this time he also bought his first japanese prints, then newly coming into Europe. In 1859 Monet went to Paris to study, meeting Pissarro in the Atelier Suisse. From 1860 to 1862 he was in Algeria as a conscript, but in 1862 he met Jongkind - who influenced him considerably - and returned to Paris, where he met most of the major artists of his own time and non-academic persuasion: in 1862 Bazille, Sisley and Renoir, in 1864 Courbet, in 1865 Cezanne and Whistler, and 1866 Manet, whose work he had earlier admired. Then and for many years to come he was extremely poor. In 1870 to escape the Franco­ Prussian War Monet came to London, where he painted some views, and, in 1871,with Pissarro, he visited the National Gallery and the V & A, where they studied Turner and Constable, but, according to Monet himself, were not tremendously impressed. Monet returned to Paris via Holland and in 1872 visited Le Havre, where he painted An Impression, Sunrise, which, when exhibited in 1874 at what is known as the First Impressionist Exhibition, was used derisively to name the whole movement Impressionism. During the 1870s and 1880s Monet gradually became known and for the last thirty years of his very long life he was generally regarded as the greatest of the Impressionists. From about 1890 he began to paint series of pictures of one subject, the first being the Haystacks and the Poplars, representing them under various conditions and at different times of day; other series are those of Rouen Cathedral, the Thames, the second London series (1905), the Venice series (1908), and, most famous of all, the Water-lilies painted in the elaborate garden he had made for himself at Giverny from 1883.

Claude Monet’s famous oil paintings include:

  • Red Boats, Argenteuil
  • Regatta at Argenteuil
  • Poppies at Argenteuil
  • Water Lily Pond, Symphony in Green
  • Pears and Grapes
  • Water Lilies, Evening Effect
  • The Reader
  • The Cliff Walk
  • The Four Poplars
  • Water Garden at Giverny
  • Woman with a Parasol
  • The Cathedral in Rouen
  • Houses of Parliament, Effect of Sunlight in Fog

View Monet, Claude paintings here.

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