Claude Monet

Claude Monet is said to be the founder of the impressionist era of painting in France. He was born Oscar-Claude Monet and was born in Paris in 1840. He died 86 years later in 1926 in Giverny, France. Monet began his artistic career as a young child selling charcoal caricatures to local residents of Normandy. Monet's father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and go into the grocery business, but Monet wanted to be an artist. He attended the Le Havre secondary school of arts, but he was not pleased with traditional art schooling.

The tragic death of his mother at the age of 17 prompted Money to go live with his aunt. Shortly thereafter, he traveled to Paris where he met many artists that had a strong influence on him. These included Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille and Alfred Sisley. Monet did not follow the popular trend of the time to recreate art found at the Louvre. Rather, Monet would take his supplies and look out the window and paint what he saw. His use of color and quick brushstrokes are what led to the impressionist style and period. One key aspect for Monet was to paint en plein air. This meant painting outdoors and "in the open air." It was utilized to capture the natural light as much as possible.

Monet was provided an opportunity to study color after he took refuge in London, England after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. He studied landscapes as part of his delving into the use of color. After leaving London, Monet went to the Netherlands. He stayed busy painting 25 paintings in all but he was also suspected of participating in revolutionary activities. However, nothing was ever proven from these allegations.

Camille Monet, wife of the artist, served as a model for her husband on multiple occasions. One popular well known piece is Camille Monet on a Garden Bench, 1873. They had two children together, but there marriage was only a short nine years because Mrs. Monet died an early death in 1875 from tuberculosis. Camille served as a model one last time on her deathbed for Monet. Throughout Monet's career, he remained true to mostly landscape type paintings. Various people served as models including himself but almost all paintings depict a scene outdoors of some sort. His work can be seen in museums throughout the world and his name is often known by those who are not even art historians.