Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. The term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise.
Like most artists of his generation, Monet evinced no interest in tackling acute social problems. By the time Monet's generation began appearing on the artistic scene, the hopes inspired by the 1848 revolution had been shattered. Monet and his friends lived in the apparently unshakeable Second Empire headed by Napoleon III and supported by a bourgeoisie thirsting for wealth and luxury. Progressively minded artists longed merely to dissociate themselves, at least spiritually and morally, from the Empire.
He was a founder of the Impressionism movement which had been called after his painting Impression, Sunrise. Although his parents called him Oscar, he had become famous and known as Claude Monet. On 20 May 1841 Claude Monet was baptized at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. His godfather was Claude-Pascal Monet, a merchant from Nancy.
In 1920 he began work on twelve large canvases (each fourteen feet wide) of water lilies, which he planned to give to the state. To complete them, he fought against his own failing eyesight and the fact that he had no experience in creating large-scale mural art. In effect, the task required him to learn a new kind of painting at the age of eighty. The paintings are characterized by a broad, sweeping style and depend almost entirely on color. Monet worked on the water lily paintings until his death on December 5, 1926.
In 1890 Monet began to paint systematically the same subjects under different light conditions. The first subject were the haystacks behind his house. As the light changed during the day faster than he could paint, he worked simultaneously on several canvases. At the end he had painted 25 different versions of the hay stacks. More of the series paintings followed - the Rouen Cathedral, views of Venice or the Thames in London with the Houses of Parliament and other landmarks in London - often in the fog. When he painted in London in 1899 he said: "Without the fog, London would not be a beautiful city."
Claude Monet signed his early artwork with the name "Oscar." This was the name his parents called him. However, he began using the name "Claude" to sign his artwork after 1862.
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 returned to Paris and completed 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 contradict and disillusioned with.
In 1845 the family moved to Le Havre, France, where Monet's father and uncle ran a business selling supplies for ships. By the time he was fifteen Monet had become popular as a caricaturist (one who makes exaggerated portraits of people). Through an exhibition of his drawings at a local frame shop in 1858, Monet met Eugène Boudin, a landscape painter who became a great influence on the young artist. Boudin introduced Monet to outdoor painting, an activity that soon became his life's work.
Claude Monet was born in Paris, but grew up in Le Havre. His first artistic output were caricatures when he was a little boy. Close to his home was a little shop owned by a marine painter, Mr. Eugene Boudin. He recognized the talent of the boy and gave him his first painting lessons.
Claude's family was not very happy about his vocation for painting. In 1860 he was drafted and had to go to Northern Africa for two years. After his return from Africa he went to Paris and took painting lessons at Gleyre's studio in Paris. At the studio he got to know Auguste Renoir, Sisley, Bazille and others. The nucleus of the future Impressionist movement was born.
At the age of 5, Monet moved with his family to Le Havre, a port town in the Normandy region. He grew up there with his older brother Leon. While he was reportedly a decent student, Monet did not like being confined to a classroom. He was more interested in being outside. At an early age, Monet developed a love of drawing. He filled his schoolbooks with sketches of people, including caricatures of his teachers. While his mother supported his artistic efforts, Monet's father wanted him to go into business. Monet suffered greatly after the death of his mother in 1857.
Claude Monet was born on November 14, 1840, in Paris, France. He enrolled in the Academie Suisse. After an art exhibition in 1874, a critic insultingly dubbed Monet's painting style "Impression," since it was more concerned with form and light than realism, and the term stuck. Monet struggled with depression, poverty and illness throughout his life. He died in 1926.