Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting. The term Impressionism is derived from the title of the painting Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet. Monet is best remembered for certain topics of study, such as water lilies, haystacks and his wife, Camille.
Certain locations also figure commonly such as various parts of his native France and other European cities where he travelled to develop his skills and take in new influences. Monet is seen as the figurehead of the impressionists which contains some of the most important artists from the mid to late 19th century, who were mostly French.
Monet now lies as one of the most famous artists in the world alongside the likes of Picasso, Van Gogh and Warhol. The information here serves as a great summary of his life from exciting travel in the earlier years to his later works from his garden and devotion to wife Camille. A key part of his success is his use of light to a level not seen before, and the consistency of his work over hundreds of paintings in a long career of achievement.
Artist Claude originally made ends meet with simple street caricatures before becoming interested in landscape painting thanks to a chance meeting with Eugene Boudin. This local painter was more than happy to teach Monet the art of painting outside, or plein air, and this marked a key moment in his career.
Monet is probably best known for the paintings that he created from his specially-designed garden in Giverny, which included his Water Lilies series, Nympheas and his Japanese Bridge. He also found this environment flexible enough to experiment with different lighting and atmospheric conditions, which is a hallmark of Impressionist paintings.
The stunning house and garden can be visited, with many of his paintings also on display indoors. The garden itself remains in tact and unsurprisingly this attraction achieves countless visitors from all over the world.
Amongst the house’s collection are many of Monet’s Japanese woodblocks. These came at a time when Japanese art was starting to be popular across Europe, and Monet was one of the first to be involved with this. The artworks which he came across from Japan helped to inspire not only his work, but also made him very curios about the country itself. He was never able to visit the country in person, but his interest continued regardless.
The Haystacks series served as an insightful display of the impact of light on an object, at various times of the day. Monet captured the changing light conditions on the same haystack and brought to life something that others would have considered mundane.
This series has occasionally been displayed together in order to illustrate the differences across this range of paintings. The artist continued this approach with water lilies in his garden, with the added benefit that they were easily accessible, day or night.
After haystacks, Rouen Cathedral was also used for a whole series of experimental paintings and this series has also achieved academic approval. Rather than capturing the beauty of the entire building, as would normally be the choice of an artist, Monet selected an area of it from which to impress his experiments of light changes over time.
A series around Poplars provided further study for the artist, with the shape of these trees proving useful for his work. He also captured the stunning architecture of Venice during a working trip, following in the footsteps of JMW Turner who had done the same centuries earlier.
For much of his career Monet loved to travel around Europe and use local scenes as his subjects for his impressionist landscape paintings. As time grew on Monet spent most of his time in his beloved garden that he constructed in France as a perfect venue for his paintings.
London was one city fortunate enough to have Monet visit for an extended period. He produced a stunning portrait of the Houses of Parliament whilst there, plus other scenes in and around the river Thames.
Monet was a close friend of Whistler, and the two were strongly influenced by the earlier work of British landscape painter, JMW Turner. They ultimately took ideas and techniques from his career and developed them further.
Monet’s work was also aided when mixing with other modern-thinking artists during his time in the early days of the impressionist movement. It was then that he mixed with many notable French landscape artists, as well as a few others who were from further afield.
Claude experienced health problems with his eyes late in life, leading to unintended changes to his work. For a time there was a reddish tint to much of his work as he struggled with cataracts, but successful operations meant he could continue with improved eyesight. The passion and desire for perfection of this artist meant that he re-painted many of the paintings from when he was earlier ill.
Impressionist art often requires painting during a small window of opportunity during the day, where lighting and weather are exactly as required. By setting up this beautiful garden in Giverny, Monet was more flexible with his opportunities to paint, and also had perfect control over his subjects, be it his Japanese-style bridge or the water lilies and other flowers that adorned his garden.
Below is a list of famous Claude Monet paintings:
- Houses of Parliament, London
- Water Lilies 1907
- Palace From Mula, Venice
- Water Lilies, 1914-1917
- Water Lilies, 1916
- Water-Lily Pond and Weeping Willow
- Weeping Willow
- On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt
- Impression, Sunrise
- The Woman in the Green Dress
- Le dejeuner sur l’herbe
- Flowering Garden at Sainte-Adresse
- Woman in a Garden
- Jardin à Sainte-Adresse
- Seine Basin with Argenteuil
- Jean Monet on his Hobby Horse
- The Artist’s House at Argenteuil
- Poppies Blooming
- Madame Monet in a Japanese Costume
- Woman with a Parasol
- Camille Monet at Work
- Saint Lazare Train Station, Paris
- Rue Montorgueil
- Camille Monet, on her deathbed
- Vétheuil in the Fog
- Street near Vétheuil in Winter
- Lavacourt: Sunshine and Snow
- Hut of the Douaniers with Varengeville
- The Cliffs at Etretat
- Still-Life with Anemones
- The Port Coton Pyramids
- Branch of the Seine near Giverny
- Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies
- Pappeln on the Epte
- Garden Path