was born in Paris, but grew up in Le Havre. His first artistic output were caricatures when he was a little boy. Close to his home was a little shop owned by a marine painter, Mr. Eugene Boudin. He recognized the talent of the boy and gave him his first painting lessons. Claude's family was not very happy about his vocation for painting. In 1860 he was drafted and had to go to Northern Africa for two years. After his return from Africa he went to Paris and took painting lessons at Gleyre's studio in Paris. At the studio he got to know Auguste Renoir, Sisley, Bazille and others. The nucleus of the future Impressionist movement was born. Soon Monet turned away from the traditional style of painting inside a studio. With his new friends he went outside in the Fontainebleau forest to paint in the open air. But the public and art critics ridiculed these new paintings that looked so different from any conventional art style.
In a caricature published in a newspaper, they were mocked with the proposal of chasing away the Prussian enemy by showing them Impressionist paintings - not very nice! When the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71 broke out, Monet chose to go to London with his friend Pissarro. There he saw the paintings of William Turner in the museums of London. After 1880 the public slowly begun to recognize the value of impressionism. Monet Claude and his friends could finally get some solid income from the sales of their paintings. In 1883 Monet rented a house in Giverny about 50 kilometers outside of Paris. Later, in 1890, he bought the house where he should stay until his death in 1926.
In 1890 Monet began to paint systematically the same subjects under different light conditions. The first subject were the haystacks behind his house. As the light changed during the day faster than he could paint, he worked simultaneously on several canvases. At the end he had painted 25 different versions of the hay stacks. More of the series paintings followed - the Rouen Cathedral, views of Venice or the Thames in London with the Houses of Parliament and other landmarks in London - often in the fog.
In his late years Claude Monet suffered from physical problems. After 1907 a bad eyesight and rheumatism made it more and more impossible for him to paint. But he continued until the year of his death. In February 1926, at the age of 83, he could finish the last great challenge of his life - a commission by the French government for 22 mural paintings of water lilies. On December 5, 1926 Claude Monet died from lung cancer.
Chronology of Claude Monet's Life Events
1840 Birth of Claude Oscar MONET on November 14th in Paris.
1845 The family moves to Le Havre.
1857 Death of his mother Louise Monet.
1858 Claude Monet meets Eugène Boudin who encourages him to paint out of doors.
1859 Monet comes to Paris and enters the Swiss Academy.
1860 Monet meets Pissaro and Courbet.
1863 Monet discovers Manet's painting and paints "en plein air" in the Fontainebleau forest.
1864 Monet stays in Honfleur with Boudin, Bazille, Jondkind. He meets his first art lover : Gaudibert.
1865 Monet's paintings are submitted for the first time to the official Salon. Camille Doncieux his lady friend and Bazille pose for Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe (the Picnic).
1867 Birth of his first son Jean Monet while Claude Monet is in Sainte-Adresse.
1868 Monet tries to commit suicide. He receives a pension from Mr Gaudibert. He paints in Fecamp and Etretat.
1869 Monet settles in the village of Saint-Michel near Bougival where he paints in company of Renoir.
1870 Monet marries Camille, Courbet is his witness. They take refuge in London when the war begins.
1871 Monet meets Durand-Ruel in London with Pissaro and Daubigny. Death of his father. Monet settles at Argenteuil after visiting the Netherlands.
1873 Monet meets Caillebotte.
1874 Monet exhibits "Impression : sunrise" at the first Impressionist exhibition in the studio of Nadar.
1876 Monet meets Ernest and Alice Hoschedé.
1877 Bankruptcy of Ernest Hoschedé. Monet paints the Saint-Lazare train station.
1878 Birth of Michel Monet, his second son. Monet and his family settle at Vétheuil in compagny of the family Hoschedé.
1879 Death of Camille.
1881 The family moves to Poissy.
1883 Monet rents a house at Giverny. He will stay there for 43 years.
1887 Monet exhibits in New-York thanks to Durand-Ruel.
1889 Monet exhibits with Rodin.
1890 Monet purchases the house in Giverny and begins the digging for the nympheas basin.
1891 Death of Ernest Hoschedé. Monet paints the series of Meules (Haystacks) and of Peupliers (Poplars)
1892 Monet paints the Rouen Cathedrals series. He marries Alice in July.
1894 Visit of Mary Cassatt and of Cézanne at Giverny. Rodin, Clémenceau and Geffroy are present.
1900 Monet paints several views of the Japanese bridge. He takes several trips to London and paints views of the Thames.
1904 Monet travels to Madrid and admires the paintings of Velasquez.
1907 First problems with his eyesight. Monet discovers Venice.
1911 Death of Alice.
1914 Death of Jean, Monet's eldest son. Blanche moves to live near Claude Monet.
1916 The artist decides to build a large studio of 23 m x 12m at Giverny.
1916 - 1926 Claude Monet works on twelve large canvas, The Water Lilies. Following the signing of the Armistice, Monet offers to donate them to France. Theses paintings will be installed in an architectural space designed specifically for them at the museum of the Orangerie in Paris.
1923 Monet is nearly blind. He has an operation from the cataract in one eye. His sight improves.
1926 In February Monet is still painting. But he suffers from lung cancer. He dies on December 5th. He is buried in a simple ceremony at Giverny. His friend Georges Clémenceau attends the ceremony.
Claude Monet Citations
"I want the unobtainable. Other artists paint a bridge, a house, a boat, and that's the end. They are finished. I want to paint the air which surrounds the bridge, the house, the boat, the beauty of the air in which these objects are located, and that is nothing short of impossible." - Claude Monet
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