Summary of Claude Monet
Claude Monet was the leader of the French Impressionist movement, literally giving the movement its name. As an inspirational talent and personality, he was crucial in bringing its adherents together. Interested in painting in the open air and capturing natural light, Monet would later bring the technique to one of its most famous pinnacles with his series paintings, in which his observations of the same subject, viewed at various times of the day, were captured in numerous sequences. Masterful as a colorist and as a painter of light and atmosphere, his later work often achieved a remarkable degree of abstraction, and this has recommended him to subsequent generations of abstract painters.
- Inspired in part by Édouard Manet, Monet departed from the clear depiction of forms and linear perspective, which were prescribed by the established art of the time, and experimented with loose handling, bold color, and strikingly unconventional compositions. The emphasis in his pictures shifted from representing figures to depicting different qualities of light and atmosphere in each scene.
- In his later years, Monet also became increasingly sensitive to the decorative qualities of color and form. He began to apply paint in smaller strokes, building it up in broad fields of color, and exploring the possibilities of a decorative paint surface of harmonies and contrasts of color. The effects that he achieved, particularly in the series paintings of the 1890s, represent a remarkable advance towards abstraction and towards a modern painting focused purely on surface effects.
- An inspiration and a leader among the Impressionists, he was crucial in attracting Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Édouard Manet and Camille Pissarro to work alongside each other in and around Paris. He was also important in establishing the exhibition society that would showcase the group's work between 1874 and 1886.
Biography of Claude Monet
From the theoretical and critical battles with the emerging Impressionists in Paris, to the later love of spending his time outdoors studying light, Monet was driven all his life by his passions. As he said "I am good at only two things, and those are gardening and painting."
Important Art by Claude Monet
Women in the Garden was painted at Ville d'Avray using his future wife Camille as the only model. The goal of this large-scale work (100" by 81"), while meticulously composed, was to render the effects of true outdoor light, rather than regard conventions of modeling or drapery. From the flickers of sunlight that pierce the foliage of the trees to delicate shadows and the warm flesh tones that can be seen through his model's sleeve, Monet details the behavior of natural light in the scene. In January 1867, his friend and fellow Impressionist Frederic Bazille purchased the work for the sum of 2,500 francs in order to help Monet out of the extreme debt that he was suffering from at the time.
Painted on the Embankment in London, Monet's Westminster Bridge is one of the finest examples of his work during the time he and his family were in wartime refuge. This simple, asymmetrical composition is balanced by the horizontal bridge, the boats floating upon the waves with the vertical wharf and ladder in the foreground. The entire scene is dominated by a layer of mist containing violet, gold, pink, and green, creating a dense atmosphere that renders the architecture in distant, blurred shapes.
Boulevard des Capucines captures a scene of the hustle and bustle of Parisian life from the studio of Monet's friend, the photographer Felix Nadar. Applying very little detail, Monet uses short, quick brushstrokes to create the "impression" of people in the city alive with movement. Critic Leroy was not pleased with these abstracted crowds, describing them as "black tongue-lickings." Monet painted two views from this location, with this one looking towards the Place de l'Opera. The first Impressionist exhibition was held in Nadar's studio, and rather appropriately, Monet included this piece in the show.
Influences and Connections
Useful Resources on Claude Monet
- 100k viewsMini-Bio of Monet by Bio.com
- 182k viewsMad About MonetLife of Monet, and all the fanfair around a major London exhibition by the artist
- 171k viewsImpressionism Revenge of the Nice (2004)Our PickMonet in focus, within a look at the Origins and Overview of Impressionism by critic Matthew Collings
- 457 viewsEasels in EdenOur PickMonet Overview, with emphasis on his gardening and painting at Giverny by Professor Eric Haskell
- 136 viewsModern Light, Monet, and the AmericansOur PickScientific advances in light and optics by scientists, and by the Impressionists. Lecture by Art Historian Dr. Nancy Mowll Mathews
- 9k viewsHow Artists See - Claude MonetProfessor Ian Aaronson discusses how Monet was likely endowed with hyper-sensitive eyes that enabled him to catch details most didn't
- 3k viewsThrough The Eyes of the Artist: Claude MonetOverview of Monet by art historian Felicia Zavarella Stadelman
- 10k views"Monet's Passion" Photography & Garden LectureOur PickAuthor, photographer, painter, and garden designer Elizabeth Murray speach at The Eastman House
- 141k viewsMonet's Garden at GivernyRoyal Academy curator Ann Dumas introduces Monet's garden
- 510 viewsMonet's Garden Visit (1 of 4 parts)Detailed visit the garden in Giverny with the landscape designer Margery Erickson
- Claude Monet: Water LiliesOur PickBy Ann Temkin, Nora Lawrence, Claude Monet
- Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water LiliesOur PickBy Ross King / Details Monet's process of painting the Water Lilies series.
- Monet: His Life & Works in 500 ImagesOur PickBy Susie Hodge / Monet's life depicted by groupings of works he painted.
- Monet or the Triumph of ImpressionismBy Daniel Wildenstein
- First Impressions: Claude MonetBy Ann Waldron
- Claude Monet - 1840-1926: A Feast for the EyesBy Karin Sagner
- MonetBy Robert Gordon, Andrew Forge
- Monet's ImpressionsBy the Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Monet: Water Lilies: The Complete SeriesOur PickBy Jean-Dominique Rey, Denis Rouart
- Claude Monet: The Color of TimeOur PickBy Virginia Spate
- The Unknown Monet: Pastels and DrawingsBy James A. Ganz, Richard Kendall
- Monet's Water Lillies at the Musée de l'OrangerieOur PickIncludes a virtual tour of the 2 rooms and background information
- Monet at the Galeries Nationales, Grand Palais: Interactive WebsiteOur Pick
- The Claude Monet FoundationOfficial Website
- Monet WebsiteOrganized by Giverny government
- Claude Monet GalleryOver 1700 paintings by Monet