Biography of Claude Monet (1840-1926)

French painter, born in Paris on November 14, 1840 and died on December 5, 1926, son of a grocery wholesaler and supplier of ships. It had to be moved to Le Havre by hardship of his parents, when he/she was only five years. There soon began to draw cartoons and became interested in painting until Eugene Boudin (1824-1898) introduced him, seriously, in landscaping. The clearest influence of Boudin is due to the extremely subtle features that presents in the representation of light, something that Monet would learn soon and it was especially gifted.

Poppies at Argenteuil, of Monet.

At the beginning, the Monet family did not object at all to paint. In fact, he/she paid her a trip to Paris in 1859 in order to learn and Boudin made him a letter of introduction to Troyon. But Monet soon began to worry their parents staying longer than expected in Paris and not studying at the school of fine arts, but at the Académie Suisse, so his parents ceased to pass the pension. It failed to exempt from military service and was sent to Algeria, where contracted anemia and, at the end of a permit by disease, her parents rescued him from the Army finally paying the fee and took him back to Le Havre. However, in November 1862, Monet again received money to return to Paris with the only condition that it accept the teachings of some renowned teacher, so had to put themselves under the direction of his political cousin, a tasteless painter but very successful, called Toulmouche, who had been a disciple of Gleyre and advised to Monet to study in the Studio of the latter. And there changed the life of the painter. He/She met to Renoir and Sisley, before Manet, and, with the baggage that had already been boudin, began to take an interest and interest them in very different things to which Gleyre advised. He/She soon began with them to painting landscapes outdoors in Fontainebleau, although it is also at this time when he/she painted his unique not landscape paintings (portrait of Camille and women in the garden of 1855), which show a clear influence of Corot and Courbet. His parents, greatly concerned, removed definitively pension when he/she joined Camille, unless it were to marry her until much later. They had several children. For Monet, then began a difficult life of economic hardship that would force him, too often, to seek help from their friends, and that was to last, if not exactly up to the painter's death, itself at least during all his artistic maturity stage.

At the outbreak of the war franco Prussian, Monet moved to London where, in the company of Pisarro, had the opportunity to study the work of the great English landscape, and where he/she met Durand Ruel. From that moment was his dealer and, practically, of the whole Impressionist group. In 1872 settled in Argentevil and, to better observe the effects of light on water (a problem that had obsessed him was time), came to build a barca-taller. His tenacity did toward the 1980s his paintings was accepted and became famous, but his life was long and therefore could also be witness of the attacks led by the new generation against impressionism.

Field of poppies. Monet.

Although with respect to the official painting, Monet position was not in an uncompromising principle (in fact commanded many times his paintings to the official Salon), his art was completely different from everything that could have seen up to that time. Input, it is very easy to discern an essential difference between Manet and Monet, a difference which places this last in the pure phase of more literal impressionism. More, his picture impression: Sunrise, exhibited in 1874 at the first Impressionist Exhibition in the Studio of the photographer Nadar, gave name to the group. And it is that the creativity of the form and the illusionistic effect of new method of vision has invested their respective relationship in both painters. Manet always dominated the creative element, still conjuring a mere accessory. But Monet the dominant factor from the outset is precisely the effort to incorporate into his work the character of light, magic, while the composition becomes a simple way of establishing consistency. Landscapes in his great works can said from the beginning that the decorative mosaic of spots of light of the Sun and deep shadows is too heavy and considered landscape as a whole already constitutes the most important element in his art. And although his artistic field appears, in this sense, immense, the truth is that it is nothing more than a perfectly consistent progress, locked up in the possibilities of a basic principle and constant and facilitates the determination of all the possibilities and all the principles of impressionism. From the beginning the theme of Monet is the real subject of the Impressionist painting: light as an element of life and the atmosphere as a means of it.

Printing. Output of the Sun, of Monet.

In fact, one of the most important features of his work consists of series of pictures on a single theme that carried out, in order to be able to study the vibration of light and the brightness of the waters, immobilizing the weather in different moments of the day that you were interested. The fifteen paintings of haystacks in 1891 and the six views of a row of poplars along the river Epte, in 1892, were the first works conceived and exhibited as a series. Of these, the most famous are: station Saint-Lazare (1876-77), the Rouen Cathedral (1892 - 94) and the Wisteria and water lilies reflected in his garden in Giverny (1905-08) Lake. He/She painted also the Channel ports, the Seine, the Thames, Holland and Venice. Although in these series Monet followed his method in a clinical way, indeed, who obtained much more subjective than scientific results, especially in the poetics of the color. The most obvious element of all series was, in fact, the treatment of the surface as a two-dimensional model and, although, in general, the criticism was good, the series also became the main target of those who believed that the collapse of an already consecrated Impressionism was due in large part to the fall of Monet in the "informidad".

However, Monet was the first Impressionist who achieved success abroad. The travelling exhibitions organised by Durand Ruel in United States in 1886 and 1887 did not profit, but amongst sold paintings, Monet's were the most numerous. And in Paris, in 1889, on the occasion of the joint exhibition Monet-Rodin at the Georges Petit Gallery, confirmed its category. Since then up to the first world war consolidated his fame, although it declined with the advent of fauvism and Cubism and fell almost completely at the time of his death in 1926. This phrase as used, the mind's eye, perhaps hides the secret of intentions and subsequent discredit of Monet. His painting had reached a dead end. A painting based on the intuition and the color was inevitably headed toward abstraction, but that was a step that Monet was not prepared to give.


Gallery multimedia

Links to the Internet 150 works by the artist.


Claude Monet. Catalogue for the exhibition. Madrid: MEAC, 1986.

GAUNT, w.: The Impressionists. Barcelona, 1980.

LEYMARIE, j.: The impressionism. The explosion of color. Barcelona, 1991.

REWALD, j.: History of impressionism. Barcelona, 1972.