Claude Monet

Claude Monet

French Painter

Born: November 14, 1840 - Paris, France
Died: December 5, 1926 - Giverny, France
"Color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment."
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Claude Monet Signature
"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."
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Claude Monet Signature
"Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love."
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Claude Monet Signature
"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."
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Claude Monet Signature
"The motif is insignificant for me; what I want to represent is what lies between the motif and me."
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Claude Monet Signature
"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."
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Claude Monet Signature
"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."
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Claude Monet Signature
"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."
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Claude Monet Signature
"Other painters paint a bridge, a house, a boat.. I want to paint the air in which the bridge, the house and the boat are to be found - the beauty of the air around them, and that is nothing less than the impossible."
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Claude Monet Signature
"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."
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Claude Monet Signature
"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."
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Claude Monet Signature
"Monet is just an eye - but God, what an eye!"
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Paul Cézanne Signature

Summary of Claude Monet

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. 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.

Accomplishments

  • Inspired in part by Édouard 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, Édouard 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.

Biography of Claude Monet

Detail of <i>Garden at Giverny</i> (1900) by Claude Monet

From the theoretical and critical battles with the emerging Impressionists in Paris, to the later love of spending his time outdoors studying light, Monet was driven all his life by his passions. As he said "I am good at only two things, and those are gardening and painting."

Important Art by Claude Monet

Women in the Garden (1866-67)

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 his model's 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 he was suffering from at the time.

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

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

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.

Boulevard des Capucines (1873)

Boulevard des Capucines (1873)

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.

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Claude Monet
Influenced by Artist
Open Influences
Close Influences

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

"Claude Monet 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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First published on 22 Nov 2011. Updated and modified regularly
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