Claude Monet and the Impressionism movement

Monet: Water Lilies, 1906, Art Institute of Chicago
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Water Lilies, 1906, Art Institute of Chicago

Claude Monet was one of the leading painters of the late 19th century art movement known as Impressionism.

As a student of art Monet wasn’t happy with the classical methods taught.

He later met a group of artists including Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Together they began to develop a new style of art. This new style focused on how light reflected off objects.  This style soon became known as Impressionism.

After painting Impression,Sunrise in 1872 (see the painting below) a critic coined the term “Impressionism”  most likely as an insult.  But Monet and his fellow artists embraced the term.

Monet: Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), 1872, Musée Marmottan , Paris
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Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), 1872; the painting that gave its name to the style. Musée Marmottan , Paris

He was famous for painting an object at several different times of day because as the light of day changed so would the colors.

An example is that he was very fond of painting haystacks at different times of the day. The first painting below is at sunset and the second one is in the morning.

Monet: Grainstacks, end of day, Autumn, 1890–1891, Art Institute of Chicago
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Grainstacks, end of day, Autumn, 1890–1891, Art Institute of Chicago

Monet: grainstacks, 1890–91: Grainstacks in the Sunlight, Morning Effect,
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grainstacks, 1890–91: Grainstacks in the Sunlight, Morning Effect,

Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love. – Monet, 

In his later years he spent a lot of his time at his home and gardens at Giverny in France.  While there he painted his many beautiful water-lily paintings.

 

Monet: Water Lilies and the Japanese bridge, 1897–99, Princeton University Art Museum
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Water Lilies and the Japanese bridge, 1897–99, Princeton University Art Museum

 

Interesting Monet facts:

  • Monet and his family fled France during the Franco-Prussian War and lived in England for a while.
  • He was inspired by the English romantic artists John Constable and J.M.W. Turner.
  • At the first Impressionism exhibition in 1874 he failed to sell his Impression, Sunrise painting for 1000 francs.
  • In 2008 one of Monet’s water-lily paintings sold for over 71 million. This makes his artwork some of the highest priced ever.
  • He once painted 26 different views of Rouen Cathedral. His goal was to show the effects of light at different times of day and seasons.
  • During World War I he painted a series of weeping willow trees to honor the fallen soldiers.
  • He painted approximately 250 water-lily paintings.
Monet Meme: based on: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Portrait of Claude Monet, 1875, Musée d'Orsay
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Meme, based on: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Portrait of Claude Monet, 1875, Musée d’Orsay

For further reading, check out these books:

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Pictures came from Wikipedia

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