Claude Monet - Biography

Claude Monet On bench in Giverny
Claude Monet
On bench in Giverny

Claude-Oscar Monet was born in Paris, but spent his childhood in Le Havre where his father was a merchant. There he met a local artist, Eugène Boudin, who encourage him to become a landscape painter.
In 1859, Monet went to Paris to study at the Académie Suisse, where he became close friends with a fellow student, Camille Pissarro. Between 1860 and 1862 Monet served in Algeria as a conscript. He returned to Paris where he met most of the major artists of the era including Renoir, Cézanne, Whistler and Manet.
In 1870, Monet married Camille Doncieux, who had already borne his son. To escape the Franco-Prussian war, the family moved to London. After their return to France they settled at Argenteuil, a boating centre on the Seine which drew many other Impressionist painters. Working from nature was a particular hallmark of the Impressionist movement, and one that Monet embraced, reflecting in his paintings the ever-changing impact of light and weather conditions.
In 1872, he visited Le Havre where he painted 'An Impression, Sunrise'. When exhibited in 1874 part of its title was used derisively by a critic to label the whole movement 'Impressionism'. This exhibition is now known as the First Impressionist Exhibition.
Monet's wife died in 1879, and he set up home with Alice Hoschedé, the wife of one of his most important patrons, and their respective children. During the 1880s, Monet travelled through France painting a variety of landscapes. He gradually became better known and for the last 30 years of his life he was regarded as the greatest of the Impressionists.
From about 1890 he began to paint series of pictures of one subject, including 'Haystacks', 'Rouen Cathedral' and 'Waterlilies'. The latter were painted in the elaborate garden Monet created at his house at Giverny, a property north-west of Paris where he lived from 1883. He painted them over and over again, most significantly in a series commissioned for the Orangerie des Tuileries, a museum in Paris.
Monet died at Giverny on 5 December 1926.