Claude Monet was born in Paris, France, in the year 1940 as the second born son of Claude Adolphe and Louise Justine Monet, who both belonged to the second generation Parisians. He was baptized at Notre -Dame-de-Lorette, a local parish church as Oscar Claude. His family moved to Le Havre in Normandy when Claude was only one year old. In the new place, his father operated a grocery store and wanted Monet to work at it. (House, 1998) However, Monet wanted to be an artist and did not accept his father’s idea. At the age of eleven, Monet joined Le Havre secondary school of arts. He was very smart in his artistry work and was known locally for his work. He used to sell works of charcoal caricatures locally at around ten to twenty francs. Jacques Louis David was the one who taught him his first drawing lesson.
Monet met a fellow artist (Eugene Boudin) at the beaches of Normandy, who later became his mentor and accepted to teach him on how to use oil paints in painting works. He was also taught outdoor painting techniques (en Plein air). His mother died in 1857, and Claude Monet was forced to quit schooling at sixteen to live with his aunt, who was childless.
Monet Artistic Work and influences
Monet used to influence other people as well as copy them. When Monet was in Paris, he met many artists, and he could sit all day watching them do their paintings. He copied their work through the window. (House, 1998) Monet had a passionate love for art, and he is today recognized as the father of French Impressionist painting and also a consistent practitioner of the philosophy movement at which a person expresses his or her perception before nature. This was through his outdoor paintings, especially the Impression Sunrise, a painting he did in the year 1872, which features the harbor of Le Havre in France, which he did by the use of very loose brush, which was just a suggestion of the natural impression that he explained later. This painting was stolen in 1985 and later recovered in 1991.
Monet was regarded as a leader by his fellow artists because his work of art was radical, especially to nature. He was a person who showed high leadership and could influence others to use his style. Monet could paint other people’s work more differently to create an impression hence the name an impressionist.
Monet’s life of adventure allowed him to explore many tactics in painting; for example, in July 1870, when the Franco-Prussian War broke, he moved to England where he studied other works of England’s artists such as John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner. This became a great inspiration in Monet’s study of colors that he started using to improvise his paintings.
Monet’s strong character helped him to turn sorrows into opportunities; as a refugee in England, he continued to enhance his work through other people’s inspirations. He left London for Zaandam a moment after his paintings were denied inclusion in the Royal Academy Exhibition. In Zaandam, he made several paintings which caused the police to suspect him of revolutionary activist. Monet returned to France in December.
Monet also influenced other people with his painting. The impressionist, sunrise, for example, was a title that was given to this painting by an art critic, Louis Leroy, which he expected to be derogatory but later, the impressionists themselves appropriated the term. He married and got two sons, but his wife later died of Tuberculosis. He painted her picture in her death bed, this is a strong character that is not easy, but he exercised his knowledge and love for art in his life no matter how challenging the situation was. His wife’s death was another inspiration that he would never live in poverty. He started to make some of his great paintings of the early 19th century in which he considered the documentary in the French countryside. He was forced to share a house with another woman who offered to take care of his two sons in Paris. (Charles, 1986) The woman who was taking care of his children later moved along with all her six children to live in Poissy, which Monet did not like. He planned to move to Giverny and later to Vernon but later returned to Giverny in upper Normandy, in which he practiced some farming in a large garden where he did a lot of painting in most of his life.
Monet’s new life with a family comprising of eight children, his two sons, and the other six children (belonging to the woman he lived with) changed Monet’s life. He realized that he had greater responsibility than before, and this influenced his efforts in his work of art. In Giverny, the family worked together, and within a short time, he was able to build a greenhouse and expanded the garden.
Apart from farming, he expanded his studio for painting, and his fortunes changed after his sales man Paul Durand Ruel sold a lot of his works, enabling him to buy the garden he used to hire. (Charles, 1986) Monet was fond of painting nature’s appearance which he painted his garden that comprised of Lillies.
The death of Monet’s second wife changed his life, his favorite elder son who had married Alice’s daughter died, and his wife took care of him. During the second world war, Monet did other paintings based on the war; he painted the fallen soldiers of France in the war. By then, Monet had developed cataract signs, and he underwent two surgeries in 1923 under the care of his son’s wife. The paintings he did after infecting cataracts were characterized by red paints, a common characteristic of cataracts of the vision of victims. After the two operations, he recovered and was able to see some ultraviolet colors that influenced him to repaint his red works again using bluer colors than before. Monet’s greatest influence is seen in his change in Degas’s work during the 1870s when his coloring techniques began to approach those of the other artists. His work showed the way by diverging from others styles of work in pastel that gave his work a more granular, broken and glittering effect.
Monet’s life was a determinant of other people’s lives, and his paintings really influenced his life and the philosophical world. He was very humane and had a helping heart, as we learn from his action of marrying Alice with her six children who depended on him. His works of art were largely influenced by his challenges in life. All in all, he did not succumb to circumstances in the interest of his career. He always had the heart to learn and improve on what he learnt from others by use of his unique style i.e., impressionism.
Charles, S. Monet, a Retrospective, Paris: Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, 1986.
House, J. et al Monet in the 20th Century, Yale: Yale University Press, 1998.