Claude Monet

(French, 1840−1926)


Claude Monet

Born in Paris, Monet moved as a child with his family to the coastal town of Le Havre, where his artistic production began with caricature drawings. Upon meeting the landscapist Eugène Boudinat when Monet was eighteen, the latter turned his focus to plein-air painting. In 1862, he joined the studio of Charles Gleyre in Paris, where he befriended Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille, and Alfred Sisley. Throughout the 1860s, Monet (and his friends) painted scenes of daily life in Paris and of nature outside the city. His first successful submissions to the Paris Salon, in 1865, were two seascapes. He married his model and muse Camille Doncieux, with whom he had a son, in June 1870. After retreating to London during the Franco-Prussian war, the family settled in late 1871 at Argenteuil, a bustling town on the Seine, near Paris. Beginning with the First Impressionist Exhibition of 1874, Monet and other artists including Renoir, Gustave Caillebotte, and Edgar Degas established independent exhibitions for painters rejected by the official Salon, whose authorities criticized their bold use of color and lack of finish. Economic setbacks led Monet to relocate to rural Vétheuil for a few years in 1878. Notwithstanding a prodigious artistic output, Monet experienced severe depression during this period, which was exacerbated by the death of Camille in 1879. His finances improved in 1883, and he took painting excursions throughout France and the Mediterranean. In the 1890s, Monet produced single-motif series centered on the effects of changing light and atmosphere. In 1892, he married Alice Hoschedé, widow of a former patron. The last decades of his life were spent in relative comfort and fame at his home in Giverny, a village on the Seine; his garden at Giverny appears in more than 250 of his canvases.

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Monet’s Vétheuil in Winter.

Claude Monet, Vétheuil in Summer, 1879. Oil on canvas, 26 5/8 x 35 5/8 in. (67.7 x 90.5 cm). Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Purchase, 1929
Image credit: © Art Gallery of Ontario