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“For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the light and the air which vary continually.”
- CLAUDE MONET
Claude Monet
Impressionist Painter, 1840 - 1926

Oscar-Claude Monet was born November 14, 1840 in Paris, France, the second son of Claude-Adolphe and Louise-Justine Aubrée Monet. In 1845, the Monets moved to the port town of Saint-Adresse, near Le Havre. Young Claude obtained his “classical” education at La Havre’s secondary school.

Around 1856 or 1857, Monet began taking pastel and oil painting lessons from Eugene Boudin. Boudin, who worked primarily outdoors, encouraged Monet to do the same. Monet later said, “Suddenly the veil was torn away... My destiny as a painter opened out to me.” For the next 60+ years he explored the effects of light on outdoor scenes. He was the first artist to let his initial impressions stand as completed works, rather than as “notes” done in preparation for work in the studio. In 1859, Monet moved to Paris to pursue his art, where he met and befriended Camille Pissarro and Edouard Manet.

In 1870, Monet married his favorite model, Camille Doncieux. In 1871, the Monets settled in the village of Argenteuil on the Seine near Paris. He set up a boat with an easel and painted his way up and down the Seine, capturing his impressions of the interplay of light, water and atmosphere.

In 1874, Monet and a group of painters including Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir banded together to form a society of artists. They gave a public exhibition of their work at the studio of a Paris photographer. Monet exhibited a painting called “Impression: Sunrise.” His painting gave the group its name, coined in derision by critic Louis Leroy referring to the entire exhibition as “Impressionistic.” Despite the financial failure of this first exhibit, the Impressionist continued to exhibit together until 1886.

In 1883, Monet and his family settled in Giverny, France. He continued to explore his fascination with light in his “series” paintings where he depicted the same subjects, including the water lilies, pond, and Japanese bridge in his own gardens, in varying light and weather conditions. He also painted extensively along the Normandy coast.

Monet died of lung cancer on December 5, 1926 at the age of 86, and is buried in the Giverny church cemetery. He continued to paint until the very end.

If you are aware of books, movies, databases, web sites or other information sources about Claude Monet or related subjects, or if you would like to comment, please contact us.

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Books About Claude Monet

Claude Monet: Life and Art Claude Monet: Life and Art
by Paul Hayes Tucker

This biography is a complete overview of the life, art, and times of Claude Monet. Tucker presents a complicated man, competitive and ambitious, sensitive and inventive. Great illustrations.

Purchase this hardcover edition of Claude Monet: Life and Art

Monet in Normandy Monet in Normandy
by Richard Brettell

This catalogue examines some of Monet's most important paintings, including the famed Giverny canvases, the iconic haystacks, and the Rouen cathedral series.

Purchase this hardcover edition of Monet in Normandy

Monet's Years at Giverny Monet's Years at Giverny
by Daniel Wildenstein, James N. Wood (Introduction), Charles S. Moffett (Introduction)

This book covers the 40 years Monet spent at his country home in Giverny. 81 paintings from these years are accompanied by facinating narrative on Monet's life, following his evolution from Impressionist to innovative abstractionist.

Purchase this hardcover edition of Monet's Years at Giverny


DVDs About Claude Monet

The Impressionists The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution

This epic documentary recaptures the revolutionary impact the impressionists made while providing a historical and artistic context for this extraordinary group of painters, including Monet.

Purchase this DVD edition of The Impressionists


Claude Monet Online Videos

Claude Monet Documentary

Charlie Rose - A conversation about Claude Monet


Related Websites

Giverny, France's Biography of Monet

Oscar-Claude Monet Biography

Monet at WebMuseum

WebMuseum Profile of Impressionism


Google Art Project



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Other Artists in the Lucidcafé Library

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