Claude Monet and his paintings
There are other famous artists who worked together with Claude Monet to promote the Impressionism movement. They gathered in Parisian suburb in 1870s and among those were Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edouard Manet, Pissarro and Alfred Sisley. He became a leader and inspirational figure within the movement, drawing the disparate characters together with his charisma, enthusiasm and consummate skill.
Monet was inspired by the Realists in his early twenties. He loves to go to nature and paint in the fresh air. But rather than depicting the real world in a naturalistic way, Monet observed variations of color and light caused by the daily or seasonal changes. For each person, there is no unchanging landscape that exists independently of our perceptions. We can only perceive the important thing, which would change from moment to moment as the air and lights continually changing the surroundings and atmosphere. He thought it was these changing conditions which imbued the subjects of the art with their only true value.
Monet wanted to capture the landscape of French countryside in all their constant changes. This led him to paint the same scene over and over again, with the desire to capture the true essence of the landscape. He started his projects with series of paintings which depicts the same object. The first series of this kind was Haystacks. With that he experimented the use of bold brush stokes and bright, confident colors.
In 1874 the first exhibition of Impressionist art was held in Paris. Claude Monet exhibited several paintings and pastels, including the famous Impression, Sunrise. Monet, along with fellow artists including Paul Cezanne, Camille Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley and Edgar Degas, held the exhibition not so much as to draw public attention to the new style, but rather in order to escape the restrictions of the Parisian art establishment. Around 3500 people are estimated to have attended the event, and some art was sold. Unfortunately, Monet, along some of his with fellow exhibitors, had set his prices too high. Monet asked 1000 Francs for 'Impression, Sunrise', the same as Pissarro asked for 'The Orchard'; neither sold.
Monet's wife Camille Monet passed away at age of thirty-two in 1879 and Monet was shattered by her death. He painted a work of his dead wife, Camille Monet on her Deathbed 1879. He stated while working on this painting is both a joy and torture to him. He was quoted "I one day found myself looking at my beloved wife's dead face and just systematically noting the colours according to an automatic reflex!".
After Camile's death, Claude Monet went through a period of depression and grief. But he creates some of his best works during the next few years. His artistic skills has been refined during the difficult time and his situation has been improved after that. He lived with his two sons and Alice Hoschedé, who brought up Monet's children along with her own. They later got married and from 1880, they all lived in Monet's old house in Vétheuil, before a brief sojourn in Poissy, which Monet detested.
Monet and his family moved to Giverny, in Normandy in 1883. Monet planted a large garden and painted for much of the rest of his life at this place. In 1890 he bought the house, the surrounding buildings and the land for his gardens.
Throughout the 1880s and 90s, Monet became increasingly interested in experimenting with color and form in his painting. He began to apply paint in smaller strokes, gradually building up the colors and textures. He once said that he liked to paint like a bird sings.
As well as spending much time in his garden at Giverny, Monet also travelled to the Mediterranean during this time, where he painted prolifically, including one lot of paintings in Venice. He also travelled to London, where he painted four well-recognised series: The Houses of Parliament, Waterloo Bridge and The Thames Below Westminster.
Perhaps the best known of Monet's paintings are the Water Lilies series. They were the main locus of his artistic attention for the last thirty years of his life, until his death in 1926. Their beauty and nuance are all the more remarkable when one considers that many of them were painted by a man who was losing his sight to cataracts.
It is interesting to note that the paintings created whilst Monet was suffering from cataracts have a very red-dominated tone. This is apparently a defining characteristic of what is typically seen by cataract sufferers. After he had his cataracts removed, Monet went back and painted the lilies again, and the resulting paintings are much bluer. It may be that after the operation, Monet could see some ultraviolet wavelengths of lights not seen by the general population.
In 1926, and Monet suffered from lung cancer and passed away. He was buried in the Giverny Church Cemetery.
Monet's impact on the Impressionist movement, and on subsequent artistic endeavor, cannot be overstated. Without the experimentation of Monet on the depiction of light and mood, his endless playing with form and color, the major movements of early 20th Century art would not have been as they were. Monet can be said, without hyperbole, to be one of the most influential figures in European 20th Century art.
Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment. " - Claude Monet
Impressionism forged the way, heavily influencing the Fauvist, Expressionist, and Abstract Movements, along with many other art forms and artists. Painters and aesthetic philosophers ever since have been influenced by both the ideas, and practical methods and technique of Impressionism, and of Monet.