Art on This Day
“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.” Claude Monet
The French Impressionist Claude Monet was born on this day, 14th November, in 1840.
He was a key figure in the Impressionist movement that transformed French painting in the second half of the nineteenth century. Throughout his long career, Monet consistently depicted the landscape and leisure activities of Paris and its environs as well as the Normandy coast. He led the way to twentieth-century modernism by developing a unique style that strove to capture on canvas the very act of perceiving nature.
Born in Paris, the son of a grocer, Monet grew up in Le Havre. Contact with Eugène Boudin in about 1856 introduced Monet to painting from nature. He was in Paris in 1859 and three years later he entered the studio of Charles Gleyre, where he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille. Edouard Manet was an influence on his figure compositions of the 1860s, while the informal style of his later landscapes originated in works such as 'Bathers at La Grenouillère', painted in 1869 when Monet worked with Renoir at Bougival.
He exhibited in most of the Impressionist exhibitions, beginning in 1874, where the title of one of his paintings led to the naming of the movement. A period of travel followed in the 1880s, and in 1883 he acquired a property at Giverny, north-west of Paris. In the 1910s and ’20s, Monet focused almost exclusively on the picturesque water-lily pond that he created on his property there. His final series depicts the pond in a set of mural-sized canvases where abstract renderings of plant and water emerge from broad strokes of color and intricately built-up textures. Shortly after Monet died (a wealthy and well-respected man at the age of eighty-six), the French government installed his last water-lily series in specially constructed galleries at the Orangerie in Paris, where they remain today.
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