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Artists Claude Monet
Claude Monet Photo

Claude Monet

French Painter

Movement: Impressionism

Born: November 14, 1840 - Paris, France

Died: December 5, 1926 - Giverny, France

Claude Monet Timeline


"Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love."
Claude Monet
"I am driven more and more frantic by the need to render what I experience. Working so slowly I become desperate, but the further I go the more I see that one must work very hard to succeed in rendering what I am looking for: 'Instantaneity', especially the envelope, the same light that diffuses everywhere and, more than ever, things come easily and at once disgust me."
Claude Monet
"The motif is insignificant for me; what I want to represent is what lies between the motif and me."
Claude Monet
"Once more I have undertaken things which are impossible to do; water with grasses waving in depths...It's wonderful to see but it drives you mad to want to do it. But I am always trying things like that."
Claude Monet
"When you go out to paint try to forget what object you have before you - a tree, a house, a field or whatever. Merely think, here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape, until it emerges as your own naive impression of the scene before you."
Claude Monet
"I tell myself that anyone who says he has finished a canvas is terribly arrogant. Finished means complete, perfect, and I toil away without making any progress, searching, fumbling around, without achieving anything much."
Claude Monet
"Everything that is painted directly and on the spot always has a force, a power, a vivacity of touch that cannot be re-created in the studio."
Claude Monet
"Since the appearance of Impressionism, the official salons, which used to be brown, have become blue, green, and red... But peppermint or chocolate, they are still confections."
Claude Monet
"Monet is just an eye - but God, what an eye!"
Paul Cézanne

"For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value."

Claude Monet Signature


Claude Monet was the leader of the French Impressionist movement, literally giving the movement its name. As an inspirational talent and personality, he was crucial in bringing its adherents together. Interested in painting in the open air and capturing natural light, Monet would later bring the technique to one of its most famous pinnacles with his series paintings, in which his observations of the same subject, viewed at various times of the day, were captured in numerous sequences of paintings. Masterful as a colorist and as a painter of light and atmosphere, his later work often achieved a remarkable degree of abstraction, and this has recommended him to subsequent generations of abstract painters.

Key Ideas

Monet's early work is indebted to the Realists' interests in depicting contemporary subject matter, without idealization, and in painting outdoors in order to capture the fleeting qualities of nature.
Inspired in part by Edouard Manet, Monet departed from the clear depiction of forms and linear perspective, which were prescribed by the established art of the time, and experimented with loose handling, bold color, and strikingly unconventional compositions. The emphasis in his pictures shifted from representing figures to depicting different qualities of light and atmosphere in each scene.
In his later years, Monet also became increasingly sensitive to the decorative qualities of color and form. He began to apply paint in smaller strokes, building it up in broad fields of color, and exploring the possibilities of a decorative paint surface of harmonies and contrasts of color. The effects that he achieved, particularly in the series paintings of the 1890s, represent a remarkable advance towards abstraction and towards a modern painting focused purely on surface effects.
An inspiration and a leader among the Impressionists, he was crucial in attracting Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Edouard Manet and Camille Pissarro to work alongside each other in and around Paris. He was also important in establishing the exhibition society that would showcase the group's work between 1874 and 1886.


Claude Monet Photo


Born in Paris, Oscar Claude Monet moved at the age of five to Le Havre, a seaside town in northern France. His father was a successful grocer that later turned to shipping. His mother died when he was 15. The ocean and rugged coastline of Northern France had a profound effect on him at an early age, and he would often run away from school to go for walks along the cliffs and beaches. As a youth, he received instruction at the College du Havre from a former pupil of the famous Neo-Classical artist Jacques-Louis David. Creative and enterprising from an early age, he drew caricatures in his spare time and sold them for 20 francs apiece. Capitalizing on his early aptitude for art, he managed to save a good bit of money from his art sales.

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Claude Monet Biography Continues

Important Art by Claude Monet

The below artworks are the most important by Claude Monet - that both overview the major creative periods, and highlight the greatest achievements by the artist.

Women in the Garden (1866-67)

Women in the Garden (1866-67)

Artwork description & Analysis: Women in the Garden was painted at Ville d'Avray using his future wife Camille as the only model. The goal of this large-scale work (100" by 81"), while meticulously composed, was to render the effects of true outdoor light, rather than regard conventions of modeling or drapery. From the flickers of sunlight that pierce the foliage of the trees to delicate shadows and the warm flesh tones that can be seen through her sleeve, Monet details the behavior of natural light in the scene. In January 1867, his friend and fellow Impressionist Frederic Bazille purchased the work for the sum of 2,500 francs in order to help Monet out of the extreme debt that Monet was suffering from at the time.

Oil on canvas - Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Westminster Bridge (aka The Thames below Westminster) (1871)

Westminster Bridge (aka The Thames below Westminster) (1871)

Artwork description & Analysis: Painted on the Embankment in London, Monet's Westminster Bridge is one of the finest examples of his work during the time he and his family were in wartime refuge. This simple, asymmetrical composition is balanced by the horizontal bridge, the boats floating upon the waves with the vertical wharf and ladder in the foreground. The entire scene is dominated by a layer of mist containing violet, gold, pink, and green, creating a dense atmosphere that renders the architecture in distant, blurred shapes.

Oil on canvas - The National Gallery, London

Boulevard des Capucines (1873)

Boulevard des Capucines (1873)

Artwork description & Analysis: Boulevard des Capucines captures a scene of the hustle and bustle of Parisian life from the studio of Monet's friend, the photographer Felix Nadar. Applying very little detail, Monet uses short, quick brushstrokes to create the "impression" of people in the city alive with movement. Critic Leroy was not pleased with these abstracted crowds, describing them as "black tongue-lickings." Monet painted two views from this location, with this one looking towards the Place de l'Opera. The first Impressionist exhibition was held in Nadar's studio, and rather appropriately, Monet included this piece in the show.

Oil on canvas - Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City

More Claude Monet Artwork and Analysis:

Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son (1875) The Rue Montorgueil in Paris. Celebration of June 30th, 1878 (1878) Rouen Cathedral: The Facade at Sunset (1894) Water Lilies (1915-1926)

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Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Claude Monet
Interactive chart with Claude Monet's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart


Eugéne BoudinEugéne Boudin
Gustave CourbetGustave Courbet
Jean-François MilletJean-François Millet
Édouard ManetÉdouard Manet
J.M.W. TurnerJ.M.W. Turner

Personal Contacts

Pierre-Auguste RenoirPierre-Auguste Renoir
Frédéric BazilleFrédéric Bazille
Charles BaudelaireCharles Baudelaire
Alfred SisleyAlfred Sisley
Émile ZolaÉmile Zola



Influences on Artist
Claude Monet
Claude Monet
Years Worked: 1852 - 1926
Influenced by Artist


Vincent van GoghVincent van Gogh
Paul CézannePaul Cézanne
Edgar DegasEdgar Degas
Georges SeuratGeorges Seurat
Camille PissarroCamille Pissarro

Personal Contacts

Paul Durand-RuelPaul Durand-Ruel
Stéphane MallarméStéphane Mallarmé
James WhistlerJames Whistler
Georges ClemenceauGeorges Clemenceau



Useful Resources on Claude Monet


Special Features





Mini-Bio of Monet by Bio.com ► 4:14 Mini-Bio of Monet by Bio.com


Mad About Monet ► 49:18 Mad About Monet

Life of Monet, and all the fanfair around a major London exhibition by the artist

Impressionism Revenge of the Nice (2004) ► 1:40:44 Impressionism Revenge of the Nice (2004)

Monet in focus, within a look at the Origins and Overview of Impressionism by critic Matthew Collings

More Interesting Videos with Claude Monet

artist features

Defining Modern Art

Take a look at the big picture of modern art, and Monet's role in it.

The books and articles below constitute a bibliography of the sources used in the writing of this page. These also suggest some accessible resources for further research, especially ones that can be found and purchased via the internet.


Claude Monet: Water Lilies Recomended resource

By Ann Temkin, Nora Lawrence, Claude Monet

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies Recomended resource

By Ross King
Details Monet's process of painting the Water Lilies series.

Monet: His Life & Works in 500 Images Recomended resource

By Susie Hodge
Monet's life depicted by groupings of works he painted.

Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism

By Daniel Wildenstein

More Interesting Books about Claude Monet
Monet's Water Lillies at the Musée de l'Orangerie Recomended resource

Includes a virtual tour of the 2 rooms and background information

Monet at the Galeries Nationales, Grand Palais: Interactive Website Recomended resource

The Claude Monet Foundation

Official Website

Monet Website

Organized by Giverny government

More Interesting Websites about Claude Monet
Inside His Sketchbooks, Clues to Monet

By Benjamin Genocchio
The New York Times
August 10, 2007

Monet Arrives and Ripens Recomended resource

By Roberta Smith
The New York Times
May 4, 2007

15 Things You Might Not Know Aout Monet's Water Lillies

By Kristy Puchko

in pop culture

Monet: Shadow and Light (1999) Recomended resource

Feature Film

Monet mentioned in Clueless (1995) Recomended resource

Very popular movie mentions the Impressionist master (37th second of clip)

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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