Claude Monet was born on 14 November 1840 on the 5th floor of 45 rue Laffitte, in the ninth arrondissement of Paris. He was the second son of Claude Adolphe Monet and Louise Justine Aubree Monet, both of them second-generation Parisians. On 20 May 1841, he was baptized in the local parish church, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, as Oscar-Claude, but his parents called him simply Oscar. In 1845, his family moved to Le Havre in Normandy. His father wanted him to go into the family grocery business, but Monet wanted to become an artist. His mother was a singer (wikipedia.org).
Until 1845 Monet lived in Paris with his parents and his older brother Leon. He was Parisian as his parents and grandparents had been. All four his grandparents settled in Paris around 1800.
His mother was musical and her singing had been part of the background of Monet's childhood.
His father was described as a shop keeper in his official documents. Around 1845 Monet's father was offered a job by Jacques Lecadre, husband of his half-sister, Marie-Jeanne Gaillard who had
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lived in Le Havre. Claude Adolphe and his family moved to Le Havre, the Normandy coastal
town, where Oscar-Claude had got primary education at private school (monetalia.com).
On 1 April 1851 Claude entered the Le Havre "college communal" which had provided a "classical" education: with Latin and Greek from the first form on and also had housed a school of commerce and municipal drawing school. The school was on Rue de la Maillereaye, near Claude's home, so he could sleep at home. They had two classes in school, a little over two hours each: one in the morning, one in the afternoon, but Claude Monet had spent most of his time outdoors. Fifty years later he was to say: "I was naturally undisciplined. The school always felt like a prison, I could never resign myself to living there, even four hours a day." Monet went to the Le Havre port and beach, which were scarcely five minutes' walk from his school, but, also, to the Sainte-Adresse cliffs, three kilometers away. He claimed to have left school at the age of 13 or 14 years old (1855-1856), but it is quite possible he may have stayed until 1856-1857. On 28 January 1857, Monet's mother died and his widowed, childless aunt had taken him into her home (monetalia.com).
On April 1859 Monet went to Paris to visit the Salon at the Palais de l' Industrie and to make contact with an artist. There he met Amand Gautier, Lhuillier, Troyon and Monginot. The same year, in the winter, Monet definitely moved to Paris and had entered the private academy, the Academie Suisse where he had met Pissarro and Courbet. At the Academie Sussie, Monet was constantly drawings different figures, but none of these drawings had survived (monetalia.com).
In June 1861 Monet was called up for National Service. He joined the First Regiment of African Light Cavalry in Algeria, where he had spent one year. The landscapes and colors of Algeria presented an entirely different perspective of the world, one which was to inspire him for many years to come. Actually, Monet should have remained in Algeria for seven years, but upon his contracting typhoid, his aunt Madam Lecadre had intervened to get him out of the army. Her only condition was that Monet would return to Paris and complete an art course at a university. But, Monet did not enroll in l'Ecole des Artistes because it had traditional art taught which Monet had been very contradictive of and disillusioned with (monetalia.com).
He joined the studio of the Swiss-born painter Charles Gleyre in Paris, in 1862, where he had been for approximately two years. There he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir Frederic Bazille and Alfred Sisley. All four of them had new approaches to art and they all painted the effects of light "en plain air" with broken color and rapid brushstrokes. That's exactly what became known as Impressionism. They made frequent trips to the nearby forest of Fontainbleau which was located South-East of Paris. It had been a popular venue for artists for a number of years. However, this new group broke the tradition of their predecessors' paintings by replacing subdued colors and dark shadows with open spaces and sunlight. When Monet was not fulfilling his need to be outdoors by going to Fontainbleau, he was visiting his old friend, Boudin, in Le Havre (monetalia.com).
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
Although Monet understood and loved nature and the outdoor world, he wanted to make a name for himself, so he had painted a number of pictures indoors, which had been in traditional style and very successful. But his larger piece drew some criticism. Despite that, Monet persisted in his efforts to appeal to the Academie and during the period from 1865 to 1866 he had painted a number of subjects with varying degrees of success. His last entry to the Salon in 1866 was the painting: Camille or The Woman in the Green Dress (La Femme a la Robe Verete), which had he been painted in four days and had brought him recognition and, also, introduction to his mistress, Camille Doncieux. Monet was determined to achieve complete success. He immersed himself in his next project and entry to the Salon for the following year: Women in the Garden. The Salon, however, rejected the painting when it was finally entered for the following season (monetalia.com).
Shortly after the Salon's decision, Camille becomes pregnant. They had little money and were largely dependent on Monet's friends. Monet's aunt took him in to her house, at Sainte-Adresse, but Camille was forced to remain in Paris where she had borne their first child, son Jean in 1867. In that time, Monet interrupted his outdoor work, because he had eyesight troubles (monetalia.com).
Due to financial problems, Monet attempted suicide by throwing himself into the Seine in 1868. After that, Monet received a pension from Mr. Gaudibert, which allowed him to continue his work and to paint in Fecamp and Etretat. During 1869, Monet had settled in the village of Saint-Michel near Bougival where he painted in company of Renoir (monetalia.com).
In 1870, Camille Doncieux and Claude Monet married. Courbet was Monets' best man. Soon after the wedding, the Franco-Prussian War started and they left France and took refuge in London, England. In London, Monet met English landscape painters: John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner. Their work inspired Monet to do some innovations in the study of color. Monet, also, met Pissarro and Daubigny, as well as Mr. Durand-Ruel who had bought several of his canvases and had exhibited his work numerous times. That same year, 1871, Monet's father died (monetalia.com).
Monet traveled to the Netherlands, Antwerp, and Belgium, and after these journeys he returned to France and settled with his family in Argenteuil, a village on the Seine near Paris. They had lived there from 1871 to 1878. During his stay in Argenteuil, his friends often joined him and painted with him: Renior, Manet, Caillebotte and Sisley (monetalia.com).
This period was very important; it was the culmination point of the movement Impressionism and some of Monet's best works had been painted in Argenteuil. One of the most famous Monet's painting is Impression, Sunrise (Impression: soleil levant) painted in 1872, from whose title the entire movement had got named. It was art critic Louis Leroy, who coined the term Impressionism, and it had been derogatory, but, Impressionists liked it and found it very appropriate for them. The painting Impression, Sunrise was exhibited 1874 at the first Impressionist exhibition in the studio of Nadar. Today it is displayed in the Musee Marmottan-Monet in Paris (monetalia.com).
Impression Sunrise was painted using oil on canvas, and the size was 19 Â½" X 25 Â½" (Frank p 366). Oil paint is where the pigment is held together with a binder of oil, usually linseed oil (clevelandartandhistory.org). Artist canvas is material of cotton, linen, or synthetic fiber that is stretched onto wooden frames and used as the support for painting (wisegeek.com),
The first Impressionist exhibition was organized by Manet, Degas, Cezanne, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley and Monet and it had been a complete disaster. Financial problems appeared again and caused insecurity for Monet's family. Thanks to his friend Manet, Monet was able to stayed in Argenteuil for four more years (monetalia.com).
Camille Monet became ill with tuberculosis in 1876. Pregnant with their second child she gave birth to Michel Monet in March 1878. In 1878 the Monets temporarily moved into the home of Ernest Hoschede, (1837-1891), a wealthy department store owner and patron of the arts. Both families then shared a house in Vetheuil during the summer. After her husband (Ernest Hoschede) became bankrupt, he left in 1878 for Belgium. In September 1879, Camille died of tuberculosis at the age of thirty two; Monet painted her on her death bed. Monet continued to live in the house in Vetheuil; Alice Hoschede helped Monet to raise his two sons, Jean and Michel, by taking them to Paris to live alongside her own six children. They were Blanche Hoschede Monet, (She eventually married Jean Monet), Germaine, Suzanne Hoschede, Marthe, Jean-Pierre, and Jacques. In the spring of 1880, Alice Hoschede and all the children left Paris and rejoined Monet still living in the house in Vetheuil. In 1881, all of them moved to Poissy, which Monet hated. In April 1883, looking out the window of the little train between Vernon and Gasny, he discovered Giverny. Then they moved to Vernon, then to a house in Giverny, Eure in Upper Normandy, where he planted a large garden where he painted for much of the rest of his life. Following the death of her estrange husband, Alice Hoschede married Claude Monet in 1892 (wikipedia.org).
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In April 1883 they rented a house in Giverny, in Haute-Normandie, from Louis-Joseph Singeot. Monet lived there the next 43 years, until his death. The property spread over almost two and a half acres and sloped down towards the bottom of the village. At the lower end is the "chemin du Roy", along which ran a small local railway connecting Vernon and Gasny, and at the upper limit was the "rue de Amsicourt", now called the "rue Claude Monet". Monet devoted himself to gardening and planted a large garden which he painted for the rest of his life and which had provided a motif for his last important work: The Water Lily Pool. He worked on that series of paintings almost exclusively from 1900 until his death. In that period he also painted his other celebrated groups of paintings which representing the same object: haystacks, poplars, the river Seine, seen in varying light, at different times of the day or seasons of the year (monetalia.com).
During World War I, in which his younger son Michel served and his friend and admirer Clemenceau led the French nation, Monet painted a series of weeping willow trees as homage to the French fallen soldiers (wikipedia.org). In 1907, Monet had problems with his eyesight and the first symptoms of cataract. But, it didn't stop his travel to Venice, Italy, and made an important series of painting. In 1911, his wife Alice died at Giverny. In 1914, Monet firstborn son Jean died and Monet's daughter-in-law, Blanche Hoschede-Monet, moved to live near him and looked after him for the rest of his life (monetalia.com). In 1923, he underwent two operations to remove his cataracts: the paintings done while the cataracts affected his vision have a general reddish tone, which is characteristic of the vision of cataract victims. It may also be that after surgery he was able to see certain ultraviolet wavelengths of light that are normally excluded by the lens of the eye, this may have had an effect on the colors he perceived. After his operations, he even repainted some of these painting, with bluer water lilies than before the operation (wikipedia.org).
Monet died of lung cancer on 5 December 1926 at the age of 86 and is buried in the Givery church cemetery. Monet had insisted that the occasion be simple; thus only about fifty people attended the ceremony (wikipedia.org).
His famous home, garden and waterlily pond were bequeathed by his son Michel, his only heir, to the French Academy of fine arts in 1966. Through the Foundation Claude Monet, the house and gardens were opened for visit in 1980, following restoration. In addition to souvenirs of Monet and other objects of his life, the house contains his collection of Japanese woodcut prints. The house is one of the two main attractions of Giverny, which host tourists from all over the world (wikipedia.org).
In 2004, London, the Parliament, Effects of Sun in the fog sold for 20.1 million dollars. In 2006, the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society published a paper providing evidence that these were painted in situ at St Thomas Hospital over the river Thames. An 1873 painting of a Railway Bridge spanning the seine near Paris, was bought by an anonymous telephone bidder for a record 41.4 million dollars at Christie's auction in New York on 6 May 2008. The previous record for his painting stood at 36.5 million dollars. Lebassin aux nympheas (from the water lilies series) sold at Christie's 24 June 2008, lot 19, with fees, setting a new auction record for the artist, for 71,846,600 million dollars. This was one of the highest prices paid for Monet's work (wikipedia.org).