Claude Monet is undoubtedly one of the most acclaimed artists of all time; the French painter led a life packed full of intrigue, adventure and drama, as so often is the case with famous figures in the art world.
There’s much to report on Monet from his eventful years on this earth, from trailblazing art techniques to personal tragedy, but who is Claude Monet? Our Canvas Art Rocks team have found out more on the prolific painter with our 5 favourite Claude Monet facts.
1. When Was Claude Monet Born?
A native of Paris, Claude Monet was born on November 14th, 1840. Claude Monet’s parents Adolphe and Louise-Justine Monet where a greengrocer and a singer respectively.
Monet decided against following in his father’s footsteps, snubbing the family business to focus on becoming an artist instead. His full name is actually Oscar-Claude Monet, a moniker that he was given to distinguish him from his father.
2. Where Did Claude Monet Live?
Though born on Rue Lafitte in Paris, Monet’s family relocated to a seaside town in Normandy, close to Le Havre, when he was just 5 years old. This move would prove pivotal to his artistic career, as in 1851 Claude Monet joined the Le Harve School of Arts, often creating charcoal caricatures in his early years to bring in extra money for the family.
The Monet family sought refuge during the Franco-Prussian war, fleeing France for London in 1870 where he became familiar with the works of John Constable and J.M.W Turner, two painters who would influence his artistic style.
In 1871, the family arrived in the Dutch town of Zaandam from London before returning to France later that year. It was upon his return that Monet would settle in the riverside town of Argenteuil, Northwest of Paris. It would be here that Monet’s works of art would prosper and grow.
Monet and his family would eventually move to the now-famous house in Giverny in 1883, complete with a painting studio, orchards and Monet’s garden. It would be that many of Monet’s most famous paintings would gather their inspiration.
3. Claude Monet’s Wife
Monet and Camille Doncieux began their relationship in the mid-1860s, later marrying in 1870. Camille would be Monet’s first wife, however, she was arguably his greatest love. In fact, Monet’s second wife, Alice Hoschedé, was reported to be incredibly jealous of Camille after her death in 1879 at the age of just 32. Indeed, she was so jealous that she destroyed all of her personal letters and photographs.
Monet first met Camille when she was 19-years old while modelling for his acclaimed ‘The Woman in the Green Dress’ painting. As well as becoming his wife, she would go on to feature in over 30 of his paintings, the last of which was the powerful ‘Camille Monet on her Deathbed’ just before her passing.
4. Claude Monet’s Art
During his early work with caricatures, Monet was spotted by the artist Eugene Boudin. Boudin would ultimately become Monet’s mentor, teaching him the techniques of oil painting as well as how to paint outdoors. This ‘en Plein air’ style would become the signature style seen in Claude Monet’s prints and canvases.
Though he learnt traditional techniques of oil painting, Monet’s style was anything but conventional, in fact, the majority of his artworks were not accepted by the community. Establishments such as the School of Fine Arts didn’t share his views, often openly condemning his work.
This would lead to Monet and like-minded artists such as Pierre- Auguste Renoir forming the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors & Engravers, a movement that would later be known as ‘The Impressionists’, a moniker taken from the title of Monet’s ‘Impression, Sunrise’ painting of the port of Le Havre.
5. When Did Claude Monet Die?
Claude Monet battled throughout his life against depression, as well as financial stress and poverty in his formative years as an artist. In 1868, while struggling to support his family and frustrated by the lack of exposure and success of his art, Monet attempted suicide. He jumped from a bridge into the Seine River, though thankfully his attempts were thwarted.
Despite these struggles, Monet went on to live a long life, he eventually passed away on the 5th of December 1926, aged 86-years old. He is buried in the Giverny cemetery not far from his famous home and the glorious gardens in which he spent so many hours during his later years.
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