Artist: Monet, Claude
Claude Monet – (November 14, 1840 – December 5, 1926). Born in Paris, France and well known, as the Father of Impressionism and he also became the center of the French Art Movement. Monet was born under the reign of King Louis – Phillipe who did not put as much attention on the arts as previous rulers. In 1845, Monet’s parents moved out of Paris to Le Havre where his father started his own grocery business. Always on the go as a child, Monet was considered undisciplined by his father. His parents rarely enforced rules on him and he was free to do what he chose to do for most of his early life.
In 1851, Monet entered Le Havre secondary school for the arts and became well known around the area for his charcoal caricatures. His first drawing lesson was a few years later from Jacques Francois Orchard. During his lessons he met a fellow artist named Eugéne Boudin that encouraged Monet to paint the outdoors and taught him to use oil paints. Monet mother passed away in 1857. After her death, he went to live is an aunt in Paris.
In Paris, Monet would go to the Louvre to paint. While other artists were copying techniques of the old masters, Monet would sit by the window and paint what he saw. He met some friends and fellow artists that would later become part of the Impressionist movement.
In June 1861, Monet put down his brush for a gun and joined the First Regiment of African Light Calvary in Algeria for a seven-year tour. After only two years he contracted typhoid; his aunt arranged to have his term reduced and return to Paris. Upon his return, he started to studied art under some of the finest painters of the day such as Charles Gleyre, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley. All four gentlemen shared a love for painting the effects of the light that reflected a broken color. This was only achieved after applying rapid brushstrokes to the canvas. This simple way of painting is what is known as impressionism.
During his stay in Paris, Monet started to get some recognition for his painting style. His first well-known piece was The Woman in the Green Dress in 1866. This lovely painting included his future wife as many more of his paintings would. Shortly after this painting, Camille gave birth to their first child, Jean. In 1868, the family started to have financial problems. Claude tried to commit suicide by throwing himself in the Seine River.
During the Franco – Prussian War, Monet fled to England to study. He studied the works of John Constable and Joseph Mallord and William Turner. He was impressed by their landscapes depictions that inspired him to study the use of colors. While visiting Amsterdam, Monet was suspected as a revolutionary. In 1871, he returned to France to live by the Seine River and continue to paint.
In 1873, he finished the Impression, Sunrise. The painting hung in the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris 1874. An art critic by the name of Louis Leroy, called the painting “Impressionism” as a way to be insulating but the name stuck and gave the name to the new movement in art.
Claude and Camille did not marry until 1870. After a few years, they moved into a house on the Seine River in the village of Argenteuil where Monet could paint full time. In 1878, Camille gave birth to there second son. Michel. Sadly, she died the following year from tuberculosis. After her death, the family moved into the home of Ernest Hoschedé, a wealthy storeowner and patron of the Arts. Alice Hoschedé, the wife of Ernest stayed in the home after her husband went bankrupt and helped Monet care for his child in the home as well as her six children. In April of 1883, the family moved to Vernon and then to a house in Upper Normandy. Claude Monet married Alice after her husband’s death in 1892.
During this time, Monet started to paint series of paintings that showed the same scene with different light and weather patterns. The first of this series was Haystacks or Wheatstacks. Monet traveled the Mediterranean doing series of paintings of monuments throughout Venice and Italy. He also completed a series on Parliament in London before returning to France. In 1911, his second wife Alice died. In addition to losing his second wife, his first-born son, Jean died that year too. Jean’s wife, Blanche that was Alice’s daughter stayed with Monet to care for him. Around 1914, Monet started to develop the first signs of cataracts.
His second son, Michel served in the French Army during World War I with a friend and great admirer of Monet’s, Clemenceau. During the war, Monet painted a series of Weeping Willows as a tribute to the fallen soldiers of France. Monet’s eyes steadily got worse and he under went two cataract surgeries to correct his eyes. The paintings he did before his surgery have a redder tint to them than others. After his surgery, he redid some of the paintings.
Claude Monet died of lung cancer in 1926. The funeral was small, by his request as he was laid to rest in Giverny Cemetery. His home was later bought by the French Academy of Fine Arts and made into a museum in 1980.
[Written by Brandy Johnson; bmjohns3 [@] uncc.edu]