A snapshot biography of Claude Monet

“It is beautiful here [in Etretat, Normandy], my friend; every day I discover even more beautiful things. It is intoxicating me, and I want to paint it all – my head is bursting.. ..I want to fight, scratch it off, start again, because I start to see and understand. It seems to me as if I can see nature and I can catch it all.. ..it is by observation and reflection that I discover how. That is what we are working on, continuously.” – Claude Monet

Claude Monet, 1899
Claude Monet, 1899

Claude Monet was a French painter and one of the founders of the Impressionist movement. He is famous for his distinctive style of capturing the essence of a moment in his paintings, particularly those featuring nature and landscapes.

Claude was born on November 14, 1840, in Paris, France, and grew up in the coastal town of Le Havre, where his father worked as a grocer. As a child, Claude showed a great interest in drawing and painting, and began taking art lessons at 11.

In 1859, Claude moved to Paris to pursue his artistic career. He studied at the Académie Suisse, where he met fellow artists such as Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. In 1862, he joined the studio of Charles Gleyre, where he met Édouard Manet and other artists who would become part of the Impressionist movement.

Throughout the 1860s, Claude struggled financially and often lived in poverty. He continued to paint and exhibit his work, but it was in the 1870s that his style began to gain recognition. In 1874, he participated in the first Impressionist exhibition, which was met with mixed reviews.

Over the following years, Claude continued to refine his style, experimenting with light and color to create his signature Impressionist works. He often painted outdoors, to capture the changing light and colors of nature. Some of his most famous paintings include “Water Lilies,” “Haystacks,” and “Rouen Cathedral.”

In his later years, Claude became increasingly interested in the study of light and color. He spent much of his time creating a series of paintings featuring his water lily pond at his home in Giverny. He also traveled extensively, visiting places like Venice, London, and the French Riviera and painting scenes from these locations.

Claude died on December 5, 1926, at the age of 86. His paintings continue to be admired and celebrated for their unique style and impressionistic approach to capturing the beauty of the world around us.

“A snapshot biography of Claude Monet” sources: Portrait taken by Nadar in 1899 / Wikimedia Commons / Quote: from a letter he wrote his friend Frédéric Bazille in 1864; as cited in Monet’s landschappen Vivian Rusell; Icob, Alphen aan de Rijn, The Netherlands 2010, p. 12 – Wikiquote