Claude Monet


Claude Monet (France, November 14, 1840—December 5, 1926) is remembered as the founder of the Impressionist school of painting. In fact, the name of the movement was taken from one of his early paintings, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise).

Impression, soleil levant, by Claude Monet

He always wanted to be an artist. As a boy, he drew charcoal caricatures, which he sold for ten or twenty francs each. His mother, a singer, supported his artistic dreams. His father wanted him to take over the family business, selling groceries and shipping supplies.

Water lilies, by Claude Monet

An early influence was Eugéne Boudin, whom he met on the beaches of Normandy, and who mentored him in oils and plein air (outdoor painting) techniques. While other young painters copied works of the masters, Monet preferred to work directly from subjects. He was particularly interested in how changes of light affected how things appeared. He often painted the same scenes multiple times, in different seasons and at different times of day, to catalog how the differing light affected the colors.

Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge by Claude Monet

The traditional way that painting was taught in France in his day did not appeal to Monet. He preferred to dab the paint on, placing different colors next to each other, allowing the eye to blend them rather than blending them on the palette. He and his friends (among them the likes of Manet, Renoir, Degas, Pizarro, and Cézanne) broke with the Salon de Paris and put on their own exhibitions.

Weeping Willow, by Claude Monet

Monet married his first wife, Camille, in 1870. She was the subject of several of his paintings, and they had two sons together. She died in 1878. A friend’s estranged wife, Alice, helped him raise his children along with her six.

Camille Monet on a Garden Bench, by Claude Monet

In 1883 Monet rented a property on two acres in Giverny. He and his extended family improved the gardens, and Monet did some of his best painting there. His dealer was very successful selling his paintings, and Monet bought the property in 1890. When Alice’s husband passed away, Monet married her.

The Cliffs at Etretat by Claude Monet

Click here to see Claude Monet in action.

About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

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