“I am following Nature without being able to grasp her... I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”
- Claude Monet
“Most people think I paint fast. I paint very slowly.”
- Claude Monet
by Claude Monet
French Painter, 1840 - 1926
Claude Monet, one of the most enduringly popular artists of the modern period, was a leader of the Impressionist movement. Monet influenced art by attempting to paint his personal, spontaneous response to outdoor scenes and events. Earlier artists had also painted outdoor studies rapidly, but they used such paintings as a kind of short-hand sketch which they would later elaborate in the studio.
Born in Paris, Monet attended L'Académie Suisse from 1859-60 and subsequently enrolled in the studio of Glenyre, where he met what would become the nucleus of the impressionist group. Most well-known among the painters associated with the impressionist style are: Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, and Alfred Sisley.
Monet was the most important of the artists who first allowed the initial impressions of outdoor scenes to stand as complete works. He captured conditions of light and atmosphere with bright colors and lively broken brush strokes. In 1874, he exhibited a landscape called Impression: Sunrise in a show. This unusual patchy, textured work caused one critic to dismiss the entire show as "impressionist", which gave the Impressionist movement its name. Monet became the Impressionist movement's leader and unswerving advocate.
In 1833, Monet moved to Giverny, planting the extensive gardens and lily ponds that would provide the inspiration for his later works.
Monet's fascination with light led him to paint several series of pictures showing the effect of sunlight on a subject. In these pictures, he painted the same subject at different times of the day in different light. One such study is found in the very popular Haystacks series.
Monet continued to travel widely, visiting London and Venice several times, yet increasingly he focused his attention on his country home in Giverny. There, his beloved water gardens inspired the mural-sized Water Lilies series that dominated his work for the remainder of his life. The swirling colors of the lilies later influenced painters of abstract art.
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