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Claude Oscar Monet is considered one of the most captivating French painters of the beginning of modern art and born on November 14 in 1840 in a financially stable family in Paris, France. Monet’s family moved to Le Havre, because his father, Adolphe Monet, and uncle began a business selling ship supplies.
The French artist began his career very young, delving into the world of fun portraits becoming a caricaturist. In 1858, Monet had the experience of meeting who would become a significant influence on his career as a painter, Eugène Boudin, a landscape artist. Boudin taught Monet about painting outdoors – what they would later refer to as painting en plein air. Other artists would eventually work outside to sketch out plants and landscapes, but it was the Impressionists who made this technique famous, as they would complete a landscape painting on location – many times at one sitting.
After studying for many months in Boudin’s studio, Monet continued his studies at the Académie Suisse but was forced to stop in 1860, for about two years because of military service in Algeria. Before leaving, Monet was already attending gatherings with where great artists of the Realism would attend, like Gustav Courbet. When the artist returned from Algeria in 1862, Monet met with Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean Frédéric Bazille, and Alfred Sisley in Charles Gleyre’s studio in Paris. This group of artists would eventually win the hearts of the public, as well as the audience with their modern painting.
In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, Monet met with Paul Durand-Ruel, an influential art dealer in London, England. The next year, the artist and his newlywed spouse, Camille, moved to a commune in the suburbs of Paris, named Argenteuil, as he searched for beautiful natural surroundings, bathed in colorful sunlight. The couple stayed in Argenteuil for the next six years. During this period, the painter struggled with financial issues and would have dept collectors gather his belongings but was known to destroy his own artwork then have others take it.
In 1874, the group organized there first art show in which included Monet’s painting Impression Sunrise, done in 1872. The art critics of the time fell hard on the avant-guard group and named them the Impressionists because of Monet’s daring landscape but in a pejorative way. These modern painters went against the standards of the Classic Academies, which ruled upon the art standards of the time, but eventually, their work would become loved by the public and critics as well.
Monet and his colleagues of the Impressionism valued everyday scenes of nature, capturing the essence and experience of the surroundings with fast, expressive brushstrokes of bright and pure pigments. They strived to observe and capture the fleeting optical effects of sunlight over a landscape, instead of painting an idealized scene from inside a studio. Monet, the leading name in the Impressionist movement, gained financial and critical success by the late 1880s. The artist produced his most acclaimed paintings during the end of his life when living in Giverny, France, with his second wife, Alice. There he built a fantastical garden with a water lily pond, numerous amounts of vegetation, colorful flowers, towering trees, as well as a small bridge that went over the pond – inspired by the exotic work of the Japanese artists.
Monet passed away in December 1926, in Giverny, after years of cataracts.