Claude Monet Biography
Claude Oscar Monet was born in Paris, France on November 14, 1840. He was the second son of Claude-Adolphe and Louise-Justine Aubree Monet. He spent his childhood in Le Havre, where his father owned a grocery business and his mother was a singer. As a teen, Monet was famous for his charcoal caricatures and loved to draw. When he was 16, his mother died, causing him enormous pain. He decided to leave school to live with his aunt, who supported his aspirations of being an artist, whereas his father did not.
Claude Monet was introduced to plein-air or outdoor painting by French artist Eugene Boudin and studied at the Academie Suisse. He also learned painting techniques from Dutch landscapist Johan Jongkind and academic history painter Charles Gleyre when he was 22.
As a young artist, Monet struggled through poverty, selling very few works of art. In 1868, he had a child with his beloved model Camille Doncieux, but do to the rising financial stress, he attempted suicide. He threw himself into the Seine River, but survived the incident. Monet's luck would start to change for the better after he married Doncieux in 1870. He would meet his first art dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, and in 1874, he established an independent art exhibition with Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, and other painters. One of Monet's paintings included "Impression: Sunrise," which was criticized for looking unfinished with indistinct forms. The artists took the criticism positively and called themselves "Impressionists" after the paintings title, even though the name was first used by critics as a jeer.
Monet was finally beginning to find success selling his artwork, as he traveled all over France and parts of northern Europe to find more scenes of nature to capture. His landscapes show his travels around the north of France to London, where he escaped the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, back to France where he moved to Argenteuil (near Paris).
In 1878, his wife became ill while pregnant with their second child, and died in 1879 of tuberculosis. Her death inspired Monet to become more successful, and he painted some of his most famous pieces in the years after her death. In 1883, Monet moved to Giverny, France with his friend Alice Hoschede and her family. He later married her in 1892. At his estate, he built up a garden which became the scene for some of his most famous paintings. His water lily collections are the most recognizable pieces.
After the death of his second wife Alice in 1911, Monet suffered through constant outbursts of depression and bad tempers. He is said to have destroyed over 500 paintings from anguish. Monet also began to develop cataracts around 1914, which is seen in his red-toned paintings during the time. He had two operations to correct his vision in 1923. Monet painted up until his death, becoming obsessed with his water lily paintings. He died on December 5th, 1926 from lung cancer. He was 86 years old, and was buried at the Giverny church cemetery.
According to the Biography Channel, "Monet sought to capture the essence of the natural world using strong colors and bold, short brushstrokes. He and his contemporaries were turning away from the classical painting techniques and styles. Monet also included elements of industry in his landscapes, moving the form forward and making it more contemporary." He painted on large canvases outdoors, and retouched and completed them indoors. His paintings were vibrant and bright from using unmediated colors and by adding many different tones to his shadows. He created multiples of certain sceneries as the light changed at different times of days, and painted as long as the effect he wanted lasted. Claude Monet started the art movement of "Impressionism," leaving a huge impact on the art world. He is now one of the most recognizable painters to ever live.