Claude MONET

Oscar-Claude Monet was born on 14 November 1840, in Paris. Monet spent his childhood in Le Havre, Normandy, where his father ran a successful ship-chandlering and grocery business. As an adolescent, Monet sold caricatures and executed sketches of sailing ships but his career as a painter fully began once he was befriended by Eugène Boudin, who would introduce him to painting en plein air. In 1859, Monet moved to Paris, where he attended the Académie Suisse and met Camille Pissarro. Monet’s studies were interrupted by military service from 1861-62, which he spent in Algeria, and once finished, he returned to Le Havre to paint en plein air alongside Boudin and Johan Barthold Jongkind.


Monet continued to study in Paris later that year in the atelier of Charles Gleyre, where he met Frédéric Bazille, Alfred Sisley, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Monet achieved some early success, exhibiting in the Paris Salon in 1865, 1866 and 1868, but he would return to Le Havre in 1867 due to financial difficulties, leaving his pregnant companion, Camille-Léonie Doncieux, in Paris. The couple would marry in 1870, but shortly afterwards Monet left for London to flee the Franco-Prussian War. Joined by Pissarro, Monet would hone the loose brushwork and sensitivity to colour that would become integral to his Impressionist technique in paintings of the Thames and the Houses of Parliament. Significantly, Monet also met the dealer Paul Durand-Ruel whilst in London, who would become his gallerist and champion of the Impressionist movement. Monet returned to France at the end of 1871, where he settled in Argenteuil with his family.


The years Monet spent in Argenteuil would mark the height of the Impressionist movement. In 1873, he co-founded the Société Anonyme des Artistes with Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro, Edgar Degas, and Pierre Prins. The society held it’s first exhibition the following year in 1874, where Monet submitted his painting Impression, Sunrise, 1872 (Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris); the work caused a sensation, with critic Louis Leroy using the work’s title to ridicule the group as “impressionists”, however the artists would soon appropriate the term and use it to describe the group’s new artistic vision. Monet exhibited with the Impressionists irregularly throughout the 1870s and 80s, also showing at the Paris Salon (1880), Galerie Durand-Ruel (1883), and Galerie Georges Petit (1889). In 1891, Durand-Ruel exhibited Monet’s Haystacks to great critical acclaim, meanwhile Monet continued to explore light and colour in his series of poplars and paintings of Rouen Cathedral.


In 1890, Monet purchased a house at Giverney, where he installed the water-lily garden and Japanese bridge. The garden at Giverney would preoccupy Monet for much of his late career, forming the subject of numerous series of paintings. Monet visited London three times between 1899 and 1904, where he painted atmospheric views of the Thames. In 1908, Monet began his series of views of Venice. In 1915, Monet began working on his cycle of monumental murals of water lilies – Grandes-Décorations – to be hung in a specially created gallery in the Orangerie, Paris. These were installed and presented to the public in May 1927, five months after his death on 5 December 1926, in Giverney.


Monet’s work can be found in the following selected international collections: the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Philadelphia Museum of Art; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo; the State Hermitage, St. Petersburg; the Albertina, Vienna; Palazzo Ruspoli, Rome; Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris; Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris; the National Gallery, London; the Tate Collection, London.


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