Claude Monet

Biography of Claude Monet
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Claude Monet Biography

Oscar Claude Monet was born in Paris, France, on November 14, 1840, and died in the town of Giverny, France, on December 5, 1926. He was a great French painter who encouraged the impressionist movement in the paintings. The name of this style in art is mainly due to one of his paintings: Impression, rising sun (1872), highlighting his importance in it.

Claude Monet was born as the second child of the couple formed by Claude Adolphe Monet, a merchant of spices from the French colonies located on the other side of the sea, and Louise Justine Aubrée, a common woman who had been widowed. When he was only 5 years old the family had to move near the port of the city of Le Havre, the reason for this was the progressive fall in the demand for spices in the father’s business. Upon arrival they would be welcomed by Adolphe’s sister: Marie Jeanne Lecadre, also her husband being a supplier of large loads of spices, offers work to his brother-in-law.

The first figure in the artistic training of Claude Monet was his drawing teacher Jacques François Ochard belonging to the Secondary School of Le Havre. However, during the classes Monet only made caricatures of his teachers and classmates, becoming initially popular for these creations. He preferred to be out of these environments and contemplate the seascape of the city. Because his drawings were often exposed by the only dealer of frames that were in the place, his capabilities became widely known, receiving from the age of 15 orders for which he charged the sum of 20 francs.

The introduction to the world of painting began approximately in the year 1855, from the day that the dealer of frames presented the young Claude Monet with another of the artists he exhibited: the painter Eugène Boudin. He recognized the talent of the young person in the drawing and recommended him to try to apply it in the field of painting. In 1857, his mother died, later his uncle would also do so, so the spice business oversaw by his father, while his aunt took care of him. At that time, she was making amateur paintings that interested Monet in this expression of art.

Impression Sunrise / Claude Monet

For that same year, he would try to make his first landscapes in painting. Due to the increasing interest that his father showed, he decided to request financial assistance from the Havre magistrates. However, the request was rejected. The hunger for knowledge was supplemented by a trip to Paris to attend art exhibitions in the halls of Paris. During these years he had the financial support of his father, but this ceased once he refused to enter the School of Fine Arts in 1859, preferring to enroll in the Swiss Academy of painting in Paris.

In 1861, his studies were postponed for a time to be recruited by military service to battle in Algiers. The period that was designated to him in the military cavalry was considered for seven years. Nevertheless, Monet got sick of typhoid and was sent back to Paris in 1862. In this year he met the Swiss painter Charles Gleyre, participating in his workshop where he coincided with other painters as, Alfred Sisley, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and Frédéric Bazille, of whom he became friends. He would also meet writers like Émile Zola, all the members of his friendship group had a vision that contrasted with the art of his time.

In 1864, he received multiple orders for painting that would improve his economic condition, which was very deplorable. Between 1864 and 1865, he created his own painting workshop with Bazille. While he used his time in a painting known as The Breakfast to exhibit it in a salon in 1866, he met Camille Doncieux, who would be his muse and future partner. Due to this, the painting did not end in time to exhibit it, taking the decision to portray Camille in a work called Camille with a green dress, of which he had 4 whole days to create it and was well received by the critics.

Due to new financial difficulties, he had to seek help from his relatives, of whom he knew that they would help him by separating from Camille; which he did. By 1867, both lovers lived separately until Monet received news of the birth of his son, whom he would call Jean. In order not to leave his wife and child helpless, he went through terrible moments of famine plunged into an economic crisis that he never experienced before. Thanks to the support of close friends he put up with the situation and by 1870 he married Camille.

His artistic style changed radically in the austere years, leaving aside the complacency of the masses, painting in the open air to influence the space that surrounded it, developing a more personal style in which the painting carries complex themes, quick brush strokes, marked distinctions of light and shadow, the dynamism of the figures and the integration of nature. After the Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870, he was forced to flee to London. In this place he met the pictorial artist Paul Durand Ruel, who is interested in the rejected works of Monet, buying them. This was fundamental, as the commercial work of Durand Ruel contributed to the great diffusion of Monet’s artistic style.

In 1871, the war ended, and his father died, so he returned to Paris to claim the inheritance and use it with Camille’s dowry to live with her and her son in a house located in Argenteuil. From 1873 onward, the artist made multiple exhibitions of his works, he traveled and studied new painting techniques. After a life full of eccentricities old age began to hover. The first warnings of wear began in 1908 worsening his vision. In 1911, the medical diagnosis revealed that both eyes suffered from cataracts. Affected by the deterioration of his sight, he granted the donation of some of his paintings, becoming part of the State’s patrimony.

In 1923, he underwent a surgery that returned him the ability to see. However, by that time he was very old and many of his paintings were left unfinished, so he destroyed them. Three years later, on December 5, 1926, he died in the town of Giverny.

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