25 September, 2018

Famous Artists - Claude Monet  

Claude Monet (1840-1926) was a French impressionist painter who is credited as being one of the major influences of impressionist art in the 20th century.

Drawing inspiration from nature, his ability to portray the moment had over time became a hallmark and inspired the likes of Jackson Pollack and Willem de Kooning.

Monet Early Life

Growing up as a child he showed his creative ability by drawing caricatures of his teachers and people in his town and they became known for their detail. He and his parents moved to Le Havre and this is where he met Eugène Boudin who encouraged him to paint in a landscape orientation and played a huge role in his career.

Trivia - Monet developed a keen interest in painting in 'plein air' which was unconventional at the time.

To pursue his growing art ambitions, he moved to Paris in 1859 where he studied at Académie Suisse and met Camille Pissarro who later became one of his closest friends. 

After serving in the Army from 1860-62, Monet returned to Paris and met Paul Cézanne, Renoir, Manet and Whistler.

In 1870, Monet married Camille Doncieux and they had a son. At this time, the Franco-Prussian War was in full swing so the family moved to London.

Upon their return to France, the Monet Family moved to Argenteuil. Located on the Seine, it attracted other impressionist painters who sought inspiration from nature and this later became the cornerstone of the impressionist movement. 

The Start of Impressionism

The impressionist movement enabled artists to depict the ever-changing effect of light and weather on the same subject.

The term Impressionism was actually coined by accident! After an exhibition in 1874, a critic had called Monet's painting style an 'impression' which stuck and that exhibition is credited as being the first ever impressionist exhibition. 

The painting that led to the start of Impressionism was called 'An Impression, Sunrise', painted In 1872.

Trivia - Monet's wife died in 1879 and he moved into a home with Alice Hoschedé.

Monet frequently travelled from 1880-1883 and purchased a house in Giverny. This location would prove the inspiration behind paintworks such as the waterlily series and more. 

Iteration, Iteration, Iteration

From 1890, Monet became fascinated with his subjects to the extent he created a series of them. Painting them over and over again, it illustrated the effect that different conditions had on paintings. Some of Monet's famous series are Haystacks, Rouen Cathedral and Waterlilies.

One of Monet's biggest projects was a waterlilies series which came from The Orangerie des Tuileries Museum, in Paris.

The Waterlilly series was quite remarkable because Monet made use of Spatiality, new to painting at the time. This technique was a row of paintings that were displayed as a mural in their oval rooms.

Trivia - André Masson described it as the Sistine Chapel of Impressionism in 1952.

The project seemed to take its toll on Monet who was suffering from poor health and age. Developing ailments such as cataracts had an effect on the painter but he still chose to paint and finally sought medical surgery in 1923 after first suffering cataracts in his right eye in 1912.

Final Words

Monet spent over 60 years transforming life and perception into artworks. Using the innate beauty of nature, he was able to usher in a new movement that influenced a generation.

Similar to Van Gogh, Monet described himself as a failure after suffering from depression, poverty and illness. Despite recommended that he destroy his paintings, he kept painting until his final days.

Although he considered himself a failure, he's regarded as one of the greatest impressionists. Monet helped to transform art by throwing away convention and giving abstract art a new form.

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Monet - The Impressionist Pioneer
Monet - The Impressionist Pioneer
Monet - The Impressionist Pioneer
Monet - The Impressionist Pioneer
Monet - The Impressionist Pioneer
Monet - The Impressionist Pioneer
Monet - The Impressionist Pioneer
Monet - The Impressionist Pioneer
Monet - The Impressionist Pioneer