Claude Monet

Claude Monet was the second son of Claude Adolphe Monet and Louise Justine Aubrée Monet. His parents were second-generation Parisians.

Monet’s Father Adolph
Monet was drawing by the age of 5. His first drawings tended to be caricatures of the teachers that he had in school. He was known to fill entire school books with drawings instead of the assignments that were due. Over time, after his family moved to the community of Le Havre, Monet became famous in his own right for the drawings he would create of the town’s residents. His father hated all of the drawing and creativity. His goal was to have his son join in on the grocery business. His mother, however, completed supported every artistic endeavor Monet attempted. Monet’s mother Louise-Justine was an elegant woman and trained soprano who loved to paint and write poetry. "Mme Monet was a consummate hostess who filled their ornately decorated home with music and cultured guests.

On April 1, 1851, Monet entered Le Havre secondary school of the arts. Monet was a very bad student at school. He was drawing a lot of caricatures for his friends and teachers. His talent was highly appreciated and the drawings were sold well. Despite his interest in caricatures Monet couldn’t see himself as an artist until he met his mentor, Eugene Boudin who suggested that Claude should draw outdoors. The school of arts didn’t encourage Monet a lot as he didn’t share the educational views of teachers there and left the school soon.

At the age of 17, Monet’s mother passed away and so he went to live with his aunt so that he could pursue an art education in Paris. Despite the opportunity to study art, Money decided to join the military in 1859. It was a 7 year assignment that he had agreed to serve, but in his second year of service, he contracted a bad case of typhoid fever. At the pleadings of his aunt, Monet was released from the military on one condition – he had to complete an art course at an accredited school.

After his mother died, Monet left school and went to live with Marie-Jeanne Lecadre, his widowed childless aunt.

In June 1861, Monet joined the First Regiment of African Light Cavalry in Algeria for a seven-year commitment. However, after two years later, he had contracted typhoid fever. The army agreed to release him from his service commitment at the pleas from his aunt, but only if he agreed to complete an art course at an art school.

In 1862, Monet met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille and Alfred Sisley while he was a student of Charles Gleyre in Paris. They discussed the effects of light with broken color and rapid brushstrokes which is the mark of Impressionism.

Jacques-François Ochard gave Claude Monet his first drawing lessons.

Eugène Boudin, an artist and Monet’s mentor, taught him to use oil paints and techniques.

Monet painted Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant) in 1872.

It depicts a Le Havre port landscape. In 1874 it hung in the first Impressionist exhibition. When art critic Louis Leroy read the painting’s titled, he coined the term “Impressionism”. Leroy meant his assessment to be negative, but the Impressionists at the time approved of description and it stuck.

The Woman in the Green Dress (La femme à la robe verte) was painted in 1866. This painting brought him recognition and was one of many works featuring his first wife, Camille Doncieux.

Camille Donieux was still in her teens when Monet met her around 1865. Although she was of humble origins and worked as a model, she was an attractive, intelligent girl with dark hair and wonderful eyes. Camille was seven years younger than Monet who was just a poor painter at that time. Camille became his girlfriend, mistress and model. Unfortunately, the couple lived in depressing poverty. Right up to her death she sat for him regularly, appearing frequently as a female figure in a rural landscape. Some of these canvases are among Monet's finest masterpieces.

Shortly before leaving Paris for Trouville, Camille and Claude were married in a civil ceremony performed at the town hall of the eighth arrondissement. The rebellious French painter Gustave Courbet was one of the witnesses. Camille's parents were present, and the affair was conducted with proper formality. All that marred the occasion was the absence of Monet's farther and aunt, who regarded the union as a disastrous misalliance.

Riding on his success (and his earnings) from Woman in a Green Dress, Monet quickly launched into his next major work: Women in the Garden. He planned to execute this project on a canvas that measured over eight feet in height, attempting to capture the effect of light falling through trees on a group of women enjoying a leafy, sun-filled garden. Camille again served as his model, posing for all four figures that appear in the painting, and as a result they all bear a strong resemblance to each other.  Despite Monet’s effort, the Salon’s jury rejected Women in the Garden which he submitted in 1867. This was not a total surprise for Monet, though, as the Salon looked with disfavor on art that was outside of the academic standards of the time, which Monet’s clearly was.

After the failure of Women in the Garden, again on the brink of economic ruin, and with Camille pregnant, Monet had to return home to Le Havre to make peace with his family, who were threatening to cut off his allowance, and while he was away Camille gave birth to their first son, Jean. He also wrote desperate letters to his friends, among them Bazille, begging them to loan him money.

Monet tried to commit suicide by drowning in the Seine river after their first son’s birth having faced the financial difficulties that seemed overpowering that time. Claude’s father rejected him for the reason of Camilla’s unlawful pregnancy. Thanks to Edouard Manet, the fact of selling several paintings and Camilla’s support Claude Monet surpassed the troubles and obtained a new start in life.

Water lilies, 1897-1899, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna

Claude Monet painted the Weeping Willow series of works as a contribution to the fallen soldiers of France during the war.

Monet and his wife had two sons together, but when their second son was born in 1878, her health was not good. She was already suffering from tuberculosis and then she was diagnosed a little later on with uterine cancer. She passed away just a year later and Money painted his wife while she was on her deathbed. It may have been well over a century ago, but it is still one of the most intense paintings that anyone will ever see.

Monet's later years were marked ith visual deterioration. He had to undergo surgery for cataract removal that had hindered his sight for about 10 years. During his work on Water Lilies, the most ambitious and famous one his eyes were more and more immersing into darkness. Water Lilies were painted from nature in his own hand made garden in Giverny.

In 1890, Monet purchased the house and land outright. After becoming the owner, he created the gardens which he would spend the rest of his life painting.

Monet wrote designs and layouts for plantings for his gardener. Even though Monet eventually hired seven gardeners, he still remained the architect.

Alice Hoschedé Monet.
In 1876, Ernest Hoschedé commissioned Monet to paint decorative panels for the Château de Rottembourg and several landscape paintings. According to the Nineteenth-century European Art: A Topical Dictionary, it may have been during this visit that Monet began a relationship with Alice Hoschedé and her youngest son, Jean-Pierre, may have been fathered by Monet.

After Camille Monet's death in 1879, Monet and Alice (along with the children from the two respective families) continued living together at Poissy and later at Giverny. Still married to Ernest Hoschedé and living with Claude Monet, the Le Gaulois newspaper in Paris declared that she was Monet's "charming wife" in 1880.

Ernest Hoschedé died in 1891 and Alice agreed to marry Monet in 1892 .

Alice Hoschedé helped Monet to raise his two sons, Jean and Michel, by taking them to Paris to live alongside her own six children.

In 1911, Monet’s second wife, Alice, died.

In 1914, Monet’s oldest son Jean, died in 1914.

After his wife died, Alice’s daughter, Blanche, cared for Monet even as he developed the first signs of cataracts

On December 5, 1926, Monet died at the age of 86 and is buried in the Giverny church cemetery.

Monet had insisted that the occasion be simple; thus only about fifty people attended the ceremony

Monet, right, in his garden at Giverny, 1922.

His home, garden and waterlily pond were bequeathed by his son Michel, his only heir, to the French Academy of Fine Arts (part of the Institut de France) in 1966.

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