- NAME: Claude Monet
- OCCUPATION: Painter
- BIRTH DATE: November 14, 1840
- DEATH DATE: December 05, 1926
- Did You Know?: Monet attempted suicide in 1868—one year after his first child was born—by trying to drown himself in the Seine River.
- Did You Know?: In 1918, Claude Monet donated 12 of his waterlily paintings to the nation of France to celebrate the Armistice.
- Did You Know?: Though they became friends later in life, Claude Monet claimed in an interview that Eduoard Manet at first hated him because people confused their names.
- EDUCATION: Academie Suisse
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Paris, France
- PLACE OF DEATH: Giverny, France
- Full Name: Oscar Claude Monet
- AKA: Claude Monet
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Claude Monet was a famous French painter whose work gave a name to the art movement Impressionism, which was concerned with capturing light and natural forms.
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Doncieux came from a humble background and was substantially younger than Monet. She served as a muse for him, sitting for numerous paintings during her lifetime. The couple experienced great hardship around the birth of their first son, Jean, in 1867. Monet was in dire financial straits, and his father was unwilling to help them. Monet became so despondent over the situation that, in 1868, he attempted suicide by trying to drown himself in the Seine River.
Monet and Camille soon caught a break: Louis-Joachim Guadibert became a patron of Monet's work, which enabled the artist to continue his work and care for his family. Monet and Camille married in June 1870, and following the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, the couple fled with their son to London, England. There, Monet met Paul Durand-Ruel, who became his first art dealer.
Returning to France after the war, in 1872, Monet eventually settled in Argenteuil, an industrial town west of Paris, and began to develop his own technique. During his time in Argenteuil, Monet visited with many of his artist friends, including Renoir, Pissarro and Edouard Manet—who, according to Monet in a later interview, at first hated him because people confused their names. Banding together with several other artists, Monet helped form the Societe Anonyme des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs (the Society of Anonymous Painters, Sculptors, and Printers).
Monet sometimes got frustrated with his work. According to some reports, he destroyed a number of paintings—estimates range as high as 500 works. Monet would simply burn, cut or kick the offending piece. In addition to these outbursts, he was known to suffer from bouts of depression and self-doubt.
The society's April 1874 exhibition proved to be revolutionary. One of Monet's most noted works in the show, "Impression, Sunrise" (1873), depicted Le Havre's harbor in a morning fog. Critics used the title to name the distinct group of artists "Impressionists," saying that their work seemed more like sketches than finished paintings.
While it was meant to be derogatory, the term seemed fitting. Monet sought to capture the essence of the natural world using strong colors and bold, short brushstrokes; he and his contemporaries were turning away from the blended colors and evenness of classical art. Monet also brought elements of industry into his landscapes, moving the form forward and making it more contemporary. Monet began to exhibit with the Impressionists after their first show in 1874, and continued into the 1880s.
Monet's personal life was marked by hardship around this time. His wife became ill during her second pregnancy (their second son, Michel, was born in 1878), and she continued to deteriorate. Monet painted a portrait of her on her death bed. Before her passing, the Monets went to live with Ernest and Alice Hoschede and their six children.
After Camille's death, Monet painted a grim set of paintings known as the Ice Drift series. He grew closer to Alice, and the two eventually became romantically involved.
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Derived from Claude Monet's piece entitled Impression, the term "impressionism" was created to describe the work of a select group of Parisian painters in the late 19th century. With their thin brush strokes and explosion of color and lighting on mundane subjects, impressionists painters like Monet, Mary Cassatt, and Alfred Sisley confounded critics, defied conventions, and sparked scandal. A century and a half later, they are among the most revered and influentional artists of all time.
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