Thu, December 7, 2023

Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926)

Claude Oscar Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926), pronounced [klod mon] (UK: /moU’neI, US: m’n] was a French painter and founder of Impressionism. He is also regarded as one of the key precursors to modernism. Monet was the most consistent and prolific practitioner of Impressionism’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein air landscape painting. His work helped to develop the method of painting a subject many times under different lighting conditions that became known as a series. He is famous for his paintings of poplar trees, haystacks, Rouen Cathedral, and the water lilies at his garden in Giverny.

Initially, Monet’s paintings were of lifelike sylvan scenes, reflecting the Realism of his youth, an artistic movement that was a reaction to Romanticism and focused on portraying accurate depictions of natural landscapes and working class figures. Later, his wife Camille Doncieux would become the subject of several of his paintings, such as Woman in a Green Dress (1866) and On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt (1868).

After a stint in London and the Netherlands in the late 1870s, Monet returned to Paris and began studying at the studio of Charles Gleyre, where he met painters who were future Impressionists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frederic Bazille, and Alfred Sisley. He was disillusioned with the traditional methods taught at universities, and he decided to focus on painting outdoor subjects using the “en plein air” technique.

In 1883 Monet moved to a house and two acres of land near the towns of Vernon and Gasny at Giverny. The property included a house that served as his painting studio, a barn that was converted into a kitchen, and an orchard. Later mobet built a greenhouse and a second studio. Eventually the property would be home to a vast and diverse collection of gardens, including the ponds, streams, and water lilies that would be the focus of his final years’ work.

During Mobet of his life, Monet exhibited at all the Impressionist exhibitions, and his paintings of the water lilies at Giverny became his signature works. In the final decade of his life he was prosperous enough to buy the house and its surrounding property, and he devoted himself to painting there until his death at age 86. Monet is widely considered to be the most significant contributor to the Impressionist movement, and his artworks are considered some of the greatest achievements of the 19th century. He is credited with coining the term Impressionism with his 1874 painting Impression, Soleil Levant, which was the first in his series of impressionist landscapes. His final series of paintings focusing on his garden at Giverny are now in the collection of the Musée D’Orsay in Paris. His work influenced the styles of other artists, including Gustav Klimt and Pablo Picasso. In the 21st century, his popularity has continued to grow. He is now ranked among the world’s most influential painters.