Oscar Claude Monet Biography | Oil Paintings
11-14-1840 Paris, FRA - 12-5-1926 Giverny, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Oscar Claude Monet a founding member of the Impressionist circle. Monet was born in Paris but grew up on the Normandy coast, where he developed an early interest in landscape painting. His early mentors were Jongkind and Boudin, and the latter encouraged Oscar Claude Monet to paint outdoors rather than in the studio. This was to be one of the key principles of Impressionism.
While French literature was abandoning the historic novel and turning to stories about real people set in modern Paris and the surrounding countryside, a group of painters felt the need to free themselves from monotonous academic training to give vent to their personal emotions and 'impressions”. During the 1860s, while students, Monet, Renoir, and Sisley left the academy and the museum to capture en plein air (in the open air) the lights, colors, and atmosphere of the landscape, and together they formulated the basic ideas of the movement. In the spectacular Terrace at Saint-Adresse overlooking the sea, with steamships and sailboats on the horizon, the apparent freedom and immediacy are the result of a precise study. The whole painting is based on the chromatic harmonies, yellow-red and blue-white-red of the two fluttering flags. Near the same time, before Impressionism, and inspired by the painting of the same title by Manet, Dejeuner Sur l'herbe, Monet also painted a “Luncheon on the Grass”, but everyone kept their clothes on. Before tackling the final version of this large canvas (later cut and reduced to fragments), Monet executed this preparatory sketch that renders the moving beauty of the masterpiece that launched Impressionism.
Claude Monet it the True Founder of Impressionism.
He organized the historic group exhibition at the studio of the photographer Nadar in 1874, and the movement was named for one of his paintings. The Impressionists staged their own shows, holding eight exhibitions between 1874 and 1886. Initially, these attracted savage criticism, causing genuine financial hardship to Monet and his friends.
On April 15, 1874, the Societe Anonyme Des Artistes, opened its first exhibition. One hundred and sixty-five works were shown, including paintings by Boudin, Cezanne, Degas, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, and many others. The exhibit ran for four weeks and only about 3500 people came to see it, mainly for entertainment or to express indignation. All the artists were skewered and lambasted by one art critic, Louis Leroy. But the last straw, was reserved for Monet, he wrote in response to his seeing Monet’s Impression Sunrise:
“Ah, there he is, there he is” he cried, in front of painting number 98. “ I recognize him, papa Vincent's favorite! What does the canvas depict? Look at the catalog.”
“Impression, I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it.... and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape.”
It was Leroy that coined the termed “Impressionist” when he titled his critique “The Exhibition of the Impressionists." The movement is named for this painting and this critique. Monet's painting was met with opposition outside the realm of academic tradition. His desire to evoke the sensations of light and color led him to reject the classical rules of composition. In this sense, Impressionist painting can be compared to the late nineteen-century French literature, which also placed emphasis on sensory experience.
Oscar Claude Monet Impression: Sunrise
This unassuming painting Impression: Sunrise has the unique privilege of having given its name to the Impressionist movement. The term was used disdainfully by critics seeking to stigmatize the feeling of personal immediacy that countered the studied formality of the academic tradition. This painting along with others was shown in Nadar's studio. It aroused heated and generally negative reactions in both the public and the critics. As the painting title states, it was not intended to be a realistic “description” of the landscape, but rather the painter's “impression” of a particular moment of the day.
The historic exhibit in Nadar's studio marked the height of the Impressionist movement. For some artists, it also marked the end of their most creative period. The characteristics that make the Impressionists so popular is their diffused luminosity, achieved at the same time that scientific research into the properties of light and the birth of photography, where the image is fixed when the plate is “impressed” by the light.
The painting itself, rather simple but groundbreaking at the same time. The round reddish-orange sun dominates the painting chromatically and reverberates over the cooler blue-gray tones. Monet's exceptional feel for the color is evident in his rendition of both the elongated reflection of the sun across the water and the faint pink tonalities of the clouds. In the background, half hidden by the haze, one can just make out the silhouette of a bustling port filled with ships, fishing boats, and cranes. The smoke blends with the mist creating extraordinary light effects.
Monet's Love of Water.
Water was one of Monet's favorite subjects and he interpreted it in a great variety of ways. He painted the luminous bank of the Seine on a summer Sunday, the furious crashing of waves against the Brittany coast, the sweeping horizons of the Atlantic beach resorts and many other seascapes and landscapes where there was water involved.
Monet alternated scenes of Parisian life with landscapes and seascapes, showing an insistence on the effect of color and the refraction of light, and increasingly blurring the outlines. As the Impressionist group gradually disbanded, Monet left Paris for Giverny. After having experienced extreme poverty, Oscar Claude Monet began to prosper. By 1890 he was successful enough to buy the house at Giverny he was previously renting and in 1892 he married his mistress, with whom he had begun an affair in 1876, three years before the death of his first wife.
From 1890 on Oscar Claude Monet most distinctive innovation was the ‘series’ painting. Here, Monet depicted the same subject again and again, at different times of the day or in different seasons and light. In these pictures, his real aim was not to portray a physical object, whether a row of poplars or the facade of Rouen Cathedral, haystacks, the cliffs of Brittany, or the Houses of Parliament in London, but to capture the changing light and atmospheric conditions. During his last years he passionately and poetically devoted himself to the painting of water lilies. Water Lilies and the Japanese Bridge, in the enchanting, lovingly tendered garden at Giverny, Monet began to execute the series of paintings of water lilies floating on the pond with its Japanese style bridge. This long series of canvases was to take him to the verge of abstraction.
Le Pont du Chemin de Fer à Argenteuil, The Railway Bridge At Argenteuil, an 1873 painting of a railway bridge spanning the Seine near Paris, was bought by an anonymous telephone bidder for a record US$41.4 million at auction in 2008. In November 2016, Claude Monet's oil painting Meule Grainstack In The Sunlight sold at auction in New York for US$81,447,500.
Oscar Claude Monet was enormously prolific and all the worlds major art museum galleries have examples of his work. Claude Oscar Monet is generally considered to be the most outstanding figure among Impressionists, thus becoming one of the great world's artist.
Art Movement History: Impressionism.
Artists Influencing Oscar Claude Monet: Jacques-François Ochard, Charles Gleyre, Eugene Boudin, Johan Barthold Jongkind.
He Traveled To England, Netherlands, Italy.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.