Claude Monet

Claude Monet (right) in his garden in Giverny

Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.

Claude Monet

Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. The term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant).

When Monet was only 11, he studied at the Le Havre school of the arts and would sell charcoal caricatures for 10 to 20 French Francs. An artist named Eugene Boudin became a mentor to him and taught him about painting with oils and how to capture outdoor scenes on canvas. Throughout his life, Monet was fascinated with nature and took every advantage to highlight trees, plants, grass, flowers and water in many of his paintings.

While other artists would copy the works of other great painters, Monet preferred to paint what he viewed from the windows. Even at this early age, he was beginning to discover the style that would redefine how painting was performed.

Monet studied with Charles Gleyre during his early adult life.  He also would meet and work with other students and artists who were destined for greatness. Among these notables were Alfred Sisley, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Frederic Bazille and Eduard Manet.

These were the artists who developed new and breathtakingly stunning methods of painting. They created and then perfected how to create the effects of light and shadows with quick brush strokes and broken colours. This new style is known now as Impressionism.

Monet adored his own gardens in Giverny, with its water lilies, pond, and bridge. He wrote daily instructions to his gardener, precise designs and layouts for plantings, and invoices for his floral purchases and his collection of botany books. As Monet’s wealth grew, his garden evolved. He remained its architect, even after he hired seven gardeners.

Between 1883 and 1908, Monet traveled to the Mediterranean, where he painted landmarks, landscapes, and seascapes, such as Bordighera. He painted an important series of paintings in Venice, Italy, and in London he painted two important series—views of Parliament and views of Charing Cross Bridge.

Monet died of lung cancer in 1926 at the age of 86 and is buried in the Giverny church cemetery.

His house and famous gardens were opened for visit in 1980, following restoration. The house is one of the main attractions of Giverny, which hosts tourists from all over the world.