Claude Monet Painting

French Impressionist painter Claude Monet was born in Paris, France on November 14, 1849. In 1845 his family moved to the small Parisian town of Le Havre where young Monet became known as a caricaturist. He met landscape painter Eugene Boudin at a caricaturist exhibit in 1858, who became influential in Monet’s budding career.

In 1859 Monet visited Paris and met with the painters Delacroix, Daubigny, and Corot. Against his parents’ wishes, Monet moved to Paris to pursue his career as an artist. He worked at the Academie Suisse where he met fellow artist Camille Pissarro. Monet and Pissaro frequented the Brasserie des Martyrs, which became a gathering place for the vanguard of French painters in the 1850s.

Monet was called to Algeria for military service from 1860 to 1862. During the rest of the decade, he traveled through Europe experimenting with color and light. He also cultivated a variety of friendships with groundbreaking artists. Monet met Renoir, Sisley and Bazille in 1862 at Charles Gleyre’s studio in Paris. He also worked at the forest in Fontainbleau with Millet, Daubigny and Corot, and he met Manet in 1869 at Café Guerbais. Due to financial hardships during the 1860s few of Monet’s canvases survived—Monet would rather destroy his work than have a creditor collect it.

Monet and his new bride Camille traveled to London at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. They then settled in Argenteuil for the next 6 years. Monet’s landscapes at Argenteuil between the years of 1872 and 1877 are his most well known and popular works. During this period, Monet showed his art at many Impressionist exhibitions. During Monet’s first exhibition in 1874, a newspaper critic, inspired by Monet’s Impression: Sunrise, dubbed all of the artists in the exhibition “Impressionists”, which became the title of the new art movement. Monet’s paintings during the 1870s centered on the interplay of light and color, and his brushstrokes were short and full of color, which gave his paintings a textured, unblended quality.

In the 1880s the Impressionists began to dissolve as a group, although friendships remained constant. Monet’s wife died in 1879 and in 1883 he moved to Giverny. By the 1880s and 1890s Monet became financially and critically successful, and in 1892 he remarried to Alice Hoschede. Monet’s painting style continued to evolve and he gravitated toward a broader, more expressive style. During the last decades of his life, Monet’s eyesight and health began to fail, and by the 1920s he was virtually blind. In 1899 Monet began his famous series on water lilies, which were plentiful in his garden at Giverny. Monet became slightly obsessed with water lilies and tirelessly painted them until his death on December 5, 1926.