Claude Monet: The French Impressionist

Claude Monet was a founding member of the French Impressionist movement and was one the most respected artist of the movement. Infact the word Impression was derived from his painting titled “Impression, soleil levant”.

Claude Monet was born on 14 November 1840 in Paris, France. His father wanted him to run their family grocery business but he always wanted to become an artist. He was 11 years old when he entered Le Havre secondary school of the arts. He was well known for his charcoal paintings which he even sold for ten to twenty francs. He even served in the army for a very short period of time but had to come out after he contracted typhoid fever.

Monet was better known as the driving force behind the Impressionism movement. He dedicated his life to finding new and better methods of painting. Monet was greatly influenced by the work on Eugene Boudin who introduced him to the possibility of plein-air (outdoor) painting. He thought in terms of colors and shapes rather than scenes and objects. He used bright colours in dabs and dashes and squiggles of paint. He even travelled to different locations to seek inspirations in their landmarks, landscapes, and seascapes.

In the beginning of May, 1883 Monet’s fortunes started to change for better as he started to make a good amount of money from his paintings. The success can be attributed to his dealer Paul Durand-Ruel who started to achieve increasing success in selling his paintings. By 1890 he was prosperous enough to buy a house of his own.

Monet died of lung cancer on 5 December 1926 at the age of 86. He one of the most decorated artists of all time and his paintings sell for millions of dollars even today. Monet’s Le Pont du chemin de fer à Argenteuil, an 1873 painting of a railway bridge spanning the Seine near Paris, was sold for a record $41.4 million at Christie’s auction in New York on 6 May 2008.

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