Stefany L. Schwartz
Visual Culture Paper/ Presentation
Professor Bruce Wall
Individual Studio/ Professional Practices
February 9, 2009
“It's on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.”
- Claude Oscar Monet
Claude Monet was a famous impressionistic painter, who was born on November 14, 1840, in Paris, France and died on December 5, 1929 in Giverny, France. “Monet is generally considered to be the most outstanding figure among Impressionists. The term Impressionism derives from his picture Impression: Sunrise. A title was needed in a hurry for the catalogue of the later exhibition in 1874. Monet suggested simply Impression, and the catalogue editor, Renoir's brother Edouard, added an explanatory Sunrise. The Monet was not to know that because of criticism which seized upon the first word he had given the entire movement its name.”
In 1845, he and his family moved to Le Havre in Normandy, where his father wanted him to run the family grocery store business, however, Monet had other ideas. To his father's dismay, Monet openly declared his love of art and his hopes of living life as an artist. At age eleven he began schooling at the Le Havre school of The Arts and started to locally sell his charcoal paintings. “After studying under the watchful eye of Jacques-Francois Ochard for a few years, Monet met and befriended Eugene Boudin who helped Monet master oil paints and "plein air" techniques.” A “Plein air” technique is a French phrase which literally means to pant in the outdoors, or open air. It was meant for Impressionistic painters to be outside in the sunlight and see what affect the different climates had on the painting.
In 1857, Monet's mother passed away and he left the school to live with his widowed, childless, aunt, Marie-Jeanne Lecadre. After moving in with his aunt, he left to once again to visit the Louvre in Paris. There Monet observed many other painters imitation works of famous artists. While painting in Paris he befriended another famous artist, Edouard Manet. Almost five years later in 1861, he joined the First Regiment of African Light Cavalry in Algeria. He was originally supposed to stay for seven years in Algeria but to his aunt’s dismay petitioned a return only two years into the trip after he caught typhoid. After Monet left Algeria and returned home he began his studies at an art university where he started his “rapid painting techniques.” There he met Charles Gleyre in 1826, and began studying his works. Later that year, he met Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frederic Brazille. During his time with Charles Gleyre he met his wife Camille Doncieux who later in 1867 had a son with named Jean Monet. In 1868, with financial hardship hanging over Monet’s head he tried to commit suicide. After realizing life is worth living he married Camille in 1870. Only one year later the Franco-Prussian War began. He and his family fled to Argenteuil near Paris. There in Paris, Monet focused specifically on Impressionism. “Painting the famous Impression: Sunrise in 1872 which later served to name the impressionist movement.”
On September 5, 1879 his wife died and Monet took a turn for the worse. After several months of grieving he began working on a series of paintings which became his main focus. In 1892, Monet married Alice, who he has been having an affair with Monet after he moved to Poissy. Monet observed the gardens at his home and his series of paintings unfolded. He is best known for art pieces dictating outdoor landscapes like the water lilies, Japanese bridges, and water- garden inspirations.
After Alice’s death in 1911, and his son’s death in 1914, his paintings began to slow down. However, he had built a special studio in the grounds to continue working. In his final years, he developed cataracts, which affected his ability to see the world clearly. In 1926, with cataracts blinding his sight, Monet painted Haystacks which is one of the last famous paintings done by him. The series depicts theses paintings were done once again using the “plein air” techniques. At the age of 86, and in 1926, Claude Monet died from lung cancer. His work is displayed all over the country. Claude Monet rests in the cemetery of the Giverny Church in Paris. Later in 1966, his heirs bestowed the house and famous gardens to the “French Academy of Fine Arts”. Through the Fondation Claude Monet, in 1980, his home and gardens was opened to visit.
Claude Monet is an Impressionistic artist who I would like to further study. I believe his works of art are mesmerizing. He will forever be famous in my eyes and is a great mentor for artists to use as a reference. His paintings have been sold all over the world for millions of dollars which is an aspiring artists dream. In my opinion, the impressionistic way Monet painted is incredible. His use of color choice and lighting depicts the perfect images. Monet’s outdoor landscapes are a focus I would like to take for further paintings of my own. I believe each individual bold color on his paintings makes a larger sense of relaxation, and serenity, especially depicted in the Water lilies and Japanese bridge pieces. He is a great impressionistic leader and forever will be famous around the world.
Works Cited and References